Facing Death

Thursday, November 05, 2015

I wanted to write this post for the longest time. I didn't know how to start because I knew I'd cry. Like right now, this moment, and I haven't even start.

Where do I begin? My mum passed away. Then?

Let's start all over again. She was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. No, this is not how I want this post to be. Let's do it again.

A friend's father just passed away recently. I heard it was heart attack. I couldn't even bring myself to ask her or drop a 'Salam takziah' text. When I was dealing with it, I read all the thoughtful messages but I took freaking weeks to read. No, it wasn't the number of messages. It was just my way of coping with things. Taking a step at a time. Anyway, after I received the news about my friend's dad, I thought I was lucky. It's very insensitive to say this right now but some people lost their loved ones without a sign or warning. The next thing they knew, they just...died. That's it. I was given the chance to face death. How was it like? Let's just say that it made me feel that I can now get through any other problems. So, your boyfriend just left you? I am not saying that it's not a huge deal but my mother died. Damn it! Some people have bigger problems like getting their child to a special school, some people just received news that their parents are getting divorced. I guess I grew up. I think differently now. I put my family first. I am now an instant mother, sister and a daughter. You know how tough that is?

I was once the girl who cared about how I'd look in front of the camera, if my pictures on Instagram was worthy enough, what shoes I wear for the day, what my boyfriend think of me, if I can have a boyfriend who surprises me at my door then I realized that my mother had every reason to worry about me. She actually told her sister that she was worried about me. That I always come home late and that I don't take enough responsibility in the family. I was offended. I thought a 20-something year old should be all hip and cool. Didn't those '100 things every 20-something needs to realize in 2015' or 'How to travel through your twenties' articles tell you that at this time, you'll have to launch your career, go travelling and be relevant? I thought those things prep us for the future? It's phoney to base my life on that but don't we love those articles? It's almost pretentious. Those articles didn't mention anything about taking some family responsibilities. Bad, bad articles. Then, why was my mum so worried about me? I am getting married. I have the greatest career. I am not a kid anymore.

I spent my poly days up till recently, building my career. I went filming after school or during school to be in front of the television. I went to film school to prep myself in the media industry, I worked very hard, day and night to get promoted from Assistant Producer to a Producer. After all, shouldn't that make my mum proud? Well, she was proud of me especially when she saw my name on the roller credit but I wasn't around. I didn't have time for my family. I spent my hari raya doing schedules in the car, I spent my family days calling artists and making arrangements, I was basically working all the time. Even when my mum was sick, I couldn't even remember the conversation I had with her at the kopitiam at Changi General Hospital because I was on my phone. I was texting people on set. You know how I regretted not having a conversation with her knowing that it was the last one before she could barely speak? I am not blaming my work. Don't get me wrong. In this demanding country, we are all not allowed to grieve properly. We just have to deal with it.

My mum was worried and I didn't even get to ask her why because she couldn't speak after that. The hospice gave me a brochure. The title of it was 'The Last Journey'. Weeks later, she died. Then it hit me. I became helpless without her. She was worried because I don't know how to take care of myself. How am I supposed to take care of my father and brother? How am I even going to get married? She was worried because I was the irresponsible child. I thought launching a career, having friends and having some money in the bank made me great. It was all in my head. I need to make myself better.

I should stop typing right now because this is just too intense for me. I'll be back. I just need a nap.


Amalia on falia.and.amz

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