Tuesday, May 17, 2016

5 Years

I can't believe it has been 5 years since you left us.
How time flies, my friend. In those 5 years, the world continues to revolve but yet, our precious moments and memories of you become frozen forever.
Down here, much has changed. I've become more cynical, jaded, tired and aged. We now have two girls- you met the older one in your last weeks, remember? She's now in kindergarten, while the other is in preschool.
I miss our conversations; truth is with work and life as a parent, it's hard to form bonds like those we had, when we were relatively young and carefree, and it's hard to find a confidante to fill your shoes. I miss those sessions we would have over a meal, or Halo, complaining about work or life (usually it's me, with your patiently listening). Now, I like to imagine that when all is not well, somewhere up there you're still listening...
I sometimes think about the unfairness of life; of why someone like you would be taken away so soon, so young. Truth be told, I've asked myself many times in the past- why a man like you? Why not someone like me? After all, you'd leave a bigger mark in this world than I ever would. Or maybe that was the point- to teach the rest of us who have much to learn, how to life live and make the most of things.
I remember the time when you told us that you decided to not carry on with chemotherapy. Being the oncologist you were, you knew the odds  even before treatment began. And you knew when you had had enough, and you wanted to just make the most of your time. We both knew the implications of your decision, which was why we made that last minute trip back to Malaysia.
And I'm sure you knew, as I did, when we had dinner at that food court that evening in Penang, that that would be the last time we would ever see each other, at least in this world. Yet, in your usual quite demeanor, you seemed a bit embarrassed when Kris and I gave you our goodbye hugs. You were at peace and perhaps more ready to move on- but we certainly weren't.
You carried yourself with more strength and grace than I ever will know. You never once asked, "Why Me?". And did I ever share with you how I actually met the wife of one of your patients here; someone who was bitter and angry and had trouble accepting his diagnosis, until he found out that his oncologist had stage 4 esophageal cancer, and yet carried on in peace? His wife told me that you gave him newfound peace, that when he finally lost his battle, he was no longer angry.

Buddy- my best friend and confidante, my partner in crime during those 6 years at WFMC, my room-mate, my Best Man, my brother, my Halo teammate.

5 years ago, the world lost a wonderful man, brother, son, husband, oncologist. And yet, you remain near to those whose lives you've touched, never to be forgotten.

I miss you, buddy. Till we meet again someday... here's a toast to you. I'm sure you and our pal Gene are living it up there.