Saturday, May 18, 2013

2 years

Hey buddy.
It's been two years since you left our world for the next. I imagine you've probably been watching over us and you know, much has changed.
We have another child now. She turns 9 months today; and yes, you're probably laughing over how I'm outnumbered by the females. Even the other male in this household- the damn dog has been castrated. And so I'm the only one producing significant amounts of testosterone (yes, you know females make this stuff too, but in minute amounts). And so, it's ironic that your roomate of 5 years who was always complaining of the lack of women in his life during those pathetic years, is now surrounded by them.
The world seems to be a different place now too. Or perhaps it's just me- I've learnt to see things with jaded, saddened eyes. The recent elections in Malaysia. Even the ongoings here and the senseless gun violence, with people on both sides of the gun-control fence yelling at each other. You've probably met the little angels from Sandy Hook. And you probably shed some tears too by the recent Boston Marathon bombing. Why? Why waste these lives, when others who tried to fight their illness so hard, had to lose? Why does Man commit evil towards his Brother?
I can't believe how the last two years just flew by. It doesn't seem like that long ago when Kris and I got married, and you gave your Best Man's speech. Or when you got married; Nat King Cole's L-O-V-E still reminds me of your first dance- for a 'kayu' person you performed pretty well! I remember well that last night we met, when we had dinner at that food court in Penang. You were pretty nonchalant about it and pretended you didn't see the tears streaming down Kristin's and my cheeks. We knew that would be the last time we'd meet in this world- being the oncologist I'm sure you did, too. But I sure appreciated how you gave us that last chance to fly back and see you- I heard your condition worsened shortly after we (and Chairman) left. I'm not sure if the science backs this up, but perhaps you know if it's true- the dying sometimes have control over when they are ready to go. And perhaps it's presumptive of me, but it's heartwarming to think that you held out for us to see you one last time and to bid you goodbye. And Alli was under a year old, I tell her about you occasionally, and I'll make sure she remembers you.
And oh, did I tell you I met the family of one of your peers? He had metastatic esophageal cancer too, except he was much older, and was bitter of his diagnosis and couldn't accept things. Until he met you and was so inspired by your attitude and your peace. He passed away after you did, but I met his wife and daughter here in a strange twist. And we shared some tears talking about you and him.
We're settled in here pretty well. Perhaps too well; years ago I wouldn't have imagined myself in the midwest. Midsized city, in private practice. I always thought I'd be back in Malaysia. Or at least in some major academic institution like our Mothership. But sometimes fate leads you to unexpected places. Work is OK, I tell myself. There are things I wish was different- I miss the mental stimulation of being at the Mothership, of being involved in scholarly activities. I would have liked to have more involvement in the teaching of residents and fellows. But it's OK; I'm not complaining- I am a partner in my group, and I have some good colleagues. Though I wish I was less involved in the business aspects of things. I'm a doctor, a healer. I'm not an accountant, or a businessman, or a disciplinarian.
I miss our chats. As nonchalant or casual as we sometimes make it to be, I miss them. There aren't many I get to share my thoughts and fears and frustrations to. As a father and head of household, sometimes you have to keep a lot in. I miss our last-minute buffet meals at which we bitch and complain about the world. As minor and unimportant as those may be, it was therapeutic.
And needless to say, I miss my Halo wingman. You might have been proud of me when I finally completed Halo 4. Damn game took me a long time, and I was stuck many times on many levels. I still have your player profile on my Xbox, and I was saddened to see your name there when I logged in to play alone. And heaven knows my wife isn't a help; she'd probably end up killing us accidentally by dropping a grenade on us! And so, I played alone. Woke up at 6AM on weekends before the kids got up to play. And after 2 months, I completed it! Maybe someday I'll teach Alli how to play and be my new wingman.
Anyway, I know how you hate sentimental words. Didn't mean to embarrass you. Just that I wanted you to know that though you passed away 2 years ago, we haven't thought of you less. And know I look forward to seeing you again, I know it will be awhile. But do look over us in the meantime.
By the way, I found this old picture. This was our first ACP meeting. We looked so young back then, didn't we? Gawd.

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