Today’s the 103rd day since you’ve left us all, since the fateful day that I got that call, since I actually bawled my eyes out. But really, it only feels like it just happened yesterday. And today is also your birthday. Happy birthday, Dad. I never thought that you’d leave us so soon.
You see, I’ve always had this image in my head. The image of the hair on the heads of yours and Mum’s turning grey, and me and Jo growing up. And then, at that point in time, we’ll be fretting about the things that you’ve been fretting about for my grandparents. This, wasn’t in that image. I’ve never thought that your cause of death would be cancer. I honestly thought that I’d see you live till a ripe old age – white hair, wrinkles and all. Receiving the call was one thing, arriving back in Singapore and facing your coffin, was a whole other thing altogether. It was the worst confrontation of my life. The call felt so unreal, so surreal. And then I saw the coffin. And then there was no way to dispute the fact that you were really gone. It was like having something big and heavy thrown right in your face, and there was no way of dodging it. It felt like a really bad dream, a nightmare, just without the waking-up-at-the-end part.
I’m pretty sure heaven is just as pretty as how the Bible had described it to be. And that you’re probably doing your happy dance up there right now, because it’s just that awesome. But, sometimes I still wish that you were still here with us. You know how people always talk about which parent they would go to for certain things? It’s true, Dad. It’s so true. There are the ‘certain things’ that I would approach you for, and ‘the certain’ things that I’d approach Mum for. Just ‘cos I know the certain little things that we both enjoy. Like how we used to convince Mum to use that little bit of sugar in her cooking, to make that barley drink a little bit sweeter because that was the way we both liked it. And we made the majority. Who am I suppose to go to for support now? Who am I suppose to go to when she decides that we shouldn’t have that extra serving of dessert?
I was looking forward to the day that you and Mum would come down for my graduation. See for yourself the education you’ve worked so hard to provide for me, all the sacrifices both you and Mum made for me. And also to see this place that you’ve managed to send me to. You talked about how one day you might come visit, unfortunately, you never got to come.
Sometimes I run into things that I know you have the answers for, the things I am so used to going ‘Just ask Daddy’. I slip into that once in a while, and then I remember that you’re no longer around to answer my questions. You know, the numbers I saved under ‘Daddy’ have still been kept under the same name? So when I call Mum on the mobile phone or when she calls or texts me, it comes up as ‘Daddy’? And Mum still uses your Skype account. While she was talking to me, it felt a little creepy to see your name replying to me, accompanied by your picture. But it’s always fun to see ‘Daddy’ pop up on my mobile, it almost feels like you’re still here.
By the way Dad, you’ve managed to make me bawl my eyes out in front of the many, many people who came to attend your funeral wake. In case you didn’t know, Dad. I hate crying in front of people. It’s not a side of me that I’d usually allow people to see. Oh, and I never knew that you were so popular. The amount of people who came, and introduced themselves as your friend from XXX, was… pretty impressive. Like seriously, Dad, I never knew you had that many friends. And also, you got fireworks during one of your wakes because it was Singapore’s National Day, just in case you didn’t notice it from up there.
I’m so glad I made that decision to spend my 21st birthday in Shanghai where you and Mum were early this year. I was given the option to either stay in Singapore to celebrate with my friends, like have a mini party or something, or to spend it in Shanghai. I’m so glad I went over. Who ever knew that it was going to be the last birthday that I got to spend with you? It was probably the best decision I could have ever made. It may not have been one of those big 21st birthday parties that most people have, but it was definitely the most meaningful.
I miss you, Dad. Once in a while, I get one of my bleah days. When all I want to do is just sit around and do nothing. Or not have to think about anything and just do something that doesn’t require me to think too much (ie. not studying). And then I went to Melbourne over the break. I don’t know, Dad. Everything’s been a whirlwind, I’m not too sure how I should be feeling about things. When people ask, I don’t have the answer. This is too confusing for my little brain to take. Like, is this person half expecting me to burst out crying? Usually I don’t have an answer, my answer is usually ‘I’m okay’ or just a simple ‘Good’, because honestly… I’ve been feeling somewhere along those lines, which I suppose is a good thing. I am happy to tell you, Dad, that I’m coping fine so far despite the occasional bleah days.
I probably should get back to being a hardworking student now, Dad. Or at least try to be one. I’m currently in the middle of my exam period.
Despite the fact that I probably got my (not very tall) height and my not-very-Chinese features from you, Dad, and I may whine about it from time to time. You’re still my dad who always loved to steal a little bit of my food whenever we were out eating. Just because mine looks that tad little bit yummier 🙂
Love you too,