Farewell, Dad… Till we meet again

Mom & Dad on the day of their wedding dinner

My siblings and I were fortunate enough not to have experienced going through the death of a truly loved one before. Sure, there had been a few deaths in the family – our grandmother, grandfather, an uncle and an auntie. We were not particularly close to them so we did not really know what it was like to mourn for a loved one.

So when our dad passed away last Sunday morning on 16 February, that was the first time that I experienced the feeling of sadness and loss. It still feels so unreal, even now, almost a week later. I still can’t believe that dad is no longer around with us here. When I went to my parents’ house this morning, there was no one there and I looked around at dad’s belongings and photos. It is indeed hard to accept the fact that he is not going to be around anymore to nag me.

I hate to admit it but I had not been particularly close to my father. I really wish that I had known him better.
One of my earliest memory was of my dad. It was nothing really spectacular or anything like that. I was around 5 or 6 years old and I was on the balcony of our old house in Serdang with my dad and sister one evening. He was joking around with us and asked me what was my name. I still remember saying, “You know my name. You are just making fun of me.” Then dad smiled and replied, “No, I don’t know.Tell me.” So I told him my name. That was it and I do not know why that memory stuck with me till now.
I also remember fondly of the time when I was in primary school years. Dad used to pick me and my siblings up to go to Taman Jaya while waiting for my mother to finish work. I remember running around happily with my sister and brothers. I also remember fishing at the lake. We had such a good time and I always looked forward to it.
Growing up in my teenage years and in my twenties, I was much too busy with my social life. I hanged out so often with my friends that I neglected my parents. Even during my early thirties, I was too busy with my own life. It was only when I had my own kids that I started going to my parents’ house more often. I have to admit though that I went there so that my parents could help me out with my kids.
Dad was great with my kids. He kicked the ball around the house with my son. He let my son play with his stuff and taught him new things. He taught my son how to catch fishes in the stream. He sang and danced with my daughter and called her his darling. My kids are still to young to understand the feeling of losing a loved one though they know that their grandfather has passed away and is now in heaven with God.
Dad was a man with a strong will and determination to live. He was stricken with stroke twice in recent years but that did not get him down. He lost a lot of weight but was still walking around. He even walked an amazing 8 km around Lake Subang! He was really determine to stay fit and healthy.
I still remember the day when I received a call from my brother to inform me that dad has been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It was on 27 December 2013. It was a Friday and the babysitter had taken leave on that day so I was at home with the kids. I was supposed to send the kids over to my mom in the afternoon so that she could take care of them while I attend a company function for a few hours. When I heard the news, I cried. I couldn’t believe that dad has cancer. How can my dad have cancer?
When I went to the hospital that day, my brothers and I met up the doctor and he told us he does not know how long dad has as his cancer has already spread to his lungs and liver. It was all up to dad and God.
A few days later, I looked up the internet and read that some Stage 4 pancreatic patients lived up to 2 years. I told myself that my dad could do that too.

So I thought I still had time. I just refused to accept the fact that he may go anytime soon.In fact, even though he was sick, he could still nag at everyone. I usually go to my parents’ house in the morning after dropping my kids off at school. As my work starts at 10am, I would just laze around till it was time to go. Perhaps dad did not know what time my work starts, so he called me over and started giving me advice on being on time to work and how my boss would be watching me. I tried to tell him that it is ok and I am not going to be late but he kept on giving his advice without giving me a chance to explain. So I got so upset and stormed out of the house. I was also thinking why he needed to nag me about work when I had been working for almost 20 years already. I didn’t go over the next day as I was still upset. Then I felt bad about it and went over the following day. I apologized to him as he told me that his feelings were hurt when I stormed out of the house. Then I just sat down and listened to him as he continued giving me advice on work. That was the last advice that he would ever had the chance to give me.

Dad was admitted to the hospital on Sunday night, 9 Feb 2014, as his stomach and feet were swollen. There were a lot of projects at work and proposals to rush. I forgot to visit dad on Monday and Tuesday. Then I told myself that I have to visit him on Wednesday morning before going to work. Again, I didn’t as I had something to rush. On Thursday, I had to go down to KL in the morning so I thought I could visit him first since I have to pass by the hospital. But I was rushing late and ended up going straight to KL. I told myself again that I must go the next day, which was a Friday.Then something came up on that day and I didn’t manage to go as well. On Saturday, my kids and I were going to Port Dickson with my sister and her daughter. I wanted to visit dad before going to Port Dickson in the morning but as we wanted the kids to make full use of the day, we went off earlier and again, I did not manage to see dad. So I thought, it is ok, I will visit him the next day when we come back from our trip.But in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I received a call from my brother at around 1.30am, telling me that dad has passed away in his sleep. I just couldn’t believe it. I did not make the time to visit my sick father and now he was gone forever. It was too late. I didn’t see him for one week while he was laying sick on his bed. I was too busy with work and everything else. This is my biggest regret in life.

I learned that time does not wait for us.We may have our own plans but God may have other plans. In fact, God has planned it nicely for my sister and her daughter to come back from Switzerland 2 weeks earlier. They got to spend time with dad and helped took care of him. And just one week before my sister was supposed to fly back to Switzerland, God called dad home so that our family will have time to mourn our loss together.

Dad’s wake and funeral was on Monday and Tuesday. Standing there, I still couldn’t believe that I was attending my own father’s funeral. It seemed so unreal.

On Wednesday, we collected his remains from the crematorium. Life on earth in our physical bodies suddenly seemed so fragile as I looked at my father’s bones and ashes. He was with us a week ago and now all that was left of him were bones and ashes.

We took a boat out from the Port Klang jetty. We scattered his ashes into the sea. He may be gone now but he will always remain in my heart. I had never knew the feeling of losing a loved one till now.

Rest in peace, Dad. Till we meet again in the kingdom of heaven….


Dad’s Wake on 17 Feb
Scattering of dad’s ash into the sea
Amazing Grace
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see.
T’was grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
Dad playfully posing with a Lego man during our trip to Legoland last year
During one of my parents’ trips to Europe


Picking some fruits together


Having a mouth of strawberry from mom


6 thoughts on “Farewell, Dad… Till we meet again

  1. May your Dad rest in peace, "Bringing Up Mummy". In modern days like we live today, I must agree with you that most of us are so tied up with work and personal life so much so that we have lost spending the golden moments with our loved ones like mum, dad and even grandparents.Your story has moved me to tears, reminded me of my experience of loosing my late granny of whom took care of me till my teenage years. I never had the opportunity of seeing her through her golden years after coming to K.L to work… =`( Despite her passing away 3 years ago, the memories of her are still very surreal until today.


    1. Thanks for reading, Loke. I really hope that we will all take the time to treasure our loved ones before it is too late. We will never know when their time here on earth is up.


  2. Dear Wai Lang. Sorry to hear about your dad passing away. My condolences to you and your family. Reading this makes me feel and wished I kept in touch with you more to be there as a friend. And your story truly is a story inspired for us to cherish our parents while we have them. Thank you


    1. Hi Chiat, this is Wai Lang's sister. I will definitely convey your message to him. Thanks for reading and may we all cherish our parents while they are still around.


  3. Read through your blog n makes me realise to make more effort to visit my parents. They gave us everything in their life n ask nothing in return even when they are suffering. Mary your father rest in peace n take care Jane.


    1. Thanks for reading! We definitely must show our love to our parents before it is too late. I love my children with all my heart and soul and I know that that was also how much my parents love me and my siblings. Take care.


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