Pa, you have been away for a year in exact. Last year this date, you gave all of us a scare and just left without saying bye. You must have suffered a lot while waiting for the entire family to be there before you breathed your last. Can I let go? I can’t say I am able to even one year later today. Will I let go? Maybe yes, looking at how bad you were.
After hours you went to the Lord, I was busy settling the funeral arrangements until much later when I went home and went to your bedroom, I broke down and cried for a long time kneeling by your empty bed. The bed felt so cold and yet warm with your clothes still hanging by the side. For a moment, a wave of sadness overwhelmed me and I don’t know how to handle it. I have been the head of the house for the past 10 years but that moment, I long for you to come and lead me just one more time.
Being a believer, I know you are in a better place and will be looking over us, praying for us. But deep inside, I wish you were still around. Mummy threw away most of your things, probably her way of handling the pain. Renovated your room and changed it for the girls. Outwardly, room is different now, but when I close my eyes, I can still vividly see the old arrangement of your bed, cupboard, table and bags.
Pa, we have not forgotten you.
Going through some of the items we kept, I came across the first watch I gave you. Though old and not working anymore, you still kept it. Thank you Pa for treasuring it and gave me the chance to now hold it for you.
We kept most of your specs and also a small collection of your stamps. Remember how you once taught me how to keep stamps and remove them from the envelope?
The first 6 months was tough. Every time I see an older man wearing a cap, I will inevitably think about you. Walking past the pavilion beside our void deck, I will remember how you rested there on some nights. Everyday when I come home, I will picture how you would sit at the door, arranging your fishing equipment. For a period, I even missed the faint smoking scent in the house.
I tried to go to the coffeeshop where you spent most of your evenings with friends, where you would buy BBQ chicken wings and satay for us. I went to the stall, tried to order the same stuff but ended just crying in front of the stall. The girls missed your hugs and to touch your unshaven chin.
Pa, please forgive me. How can I not notice that you were unwell all these time? How can I be so insensitive towards your needs? I failed terribly as your son. I know there is nothing I can do now but to feel a sense of remorse and regret. But I will promise you that I will not make the same mistake again. Mummy is doing well, still helping to take care of the girls and occasionally we will bring her out with us for a trip or just to eat something nice. I know there are some issues in the family you would like me to help out, but I am really doing my best now. Things may not turn out to be what you wish but at least I will give you my word, I will not give up.
Recently, I went to the same coffeeshop again. This time I managed to ordered the same BBQ chicken wings and satay. I think I finally can understand how you feel when I cannot finish what you bought in the past. The girls just ate a bit and I have to clear all the 10 chicken wings and 20 satays all by myself. I am taking over the role of buying the family’s favourite food. I will keep it going.