• Kimmy Pang

Goodbye for Now

It never gets easier when you're dealing with the loss of a loved one

I've lost someone dear to me recently. Every memory that comes to mind hurts a little, yet I don't want to forget. This post serves as a reminder that it's okay to let go of someone you love..

It took me some time to process the news of grandpa passing. It was so sudden and I thought I should have already been prepared for it, but I wasn't. How can you ever be ready to say goodbye to someone who's watched you grow up?

Day 1. Bawled my eyes out. I couldn't leave my room and barely had any appetite. Spent the day calling home and the tears just kept coming. I had no control over the waterworks and in between calls, I just felt numb. So it was either being an emotional wreck or just not feeling anything at all.

Took a day off work, 'compassionate leave' they call it, and went back to work the following day. Upon my return, I found out that I was only allowed one day of compassionate leave for non-immediate family members, and if more time away was needed it would be taken off my annual leave. So much for employee benefits. I wasn't going to be staying home more than I needed to, but it really sucked that I'm working for an organisation which barely offered any support to grieving employees. But hey, I chose this NHS life so that's just how it is.

Day 2. I thought everything was peachy. No more tears.. or so I thought. Powered through the earlier part of the morning, keeping myself busy and it worked. Not many people at work knew and I kept it that way. But it also didn't help that everyone thought I was ill the day before and kept asking if I've fully recovered. I didn't have the energy to explain myself so all I could do was put on a fake smile.

Pushing aside my emotions backfired because the moment I saw a familiar face full of concern, I broke down. Quite terribly (and somewhat embarrassing) I might add.. I don't know what came over me. I felt so much guilt, heartbreak, emptiness all at the same time.

Looking back, maybe I should have told the people around me. Maybe their words of comfort/kindness would have brought me some sort of emotional relief. Instead, I decided to bottle it up pretending it's all okay and randomly breaking down in front of strangers and colleagues

I was supposed to be happy - to celebrate his life, his legacy because he's finally at peace. Tears of sadness meant that I wanted him to stay in this life of suffering. As selfish as it sounds, I wanted to see him one last time..

Day 3. I wasn't able to attend the burial in person but was grateful to have witnessed it over a video call. I whispered a silent prayer and said my goodbyes one last time. It was the closure I needed. I think at that point, I've finally accepted that he's gone.

Day 4 and beyond. Day by day, it got easier to think about him. I had so many questions on what I should/shouldn't be doing. Should I still be enjoying my time with friends on Christmas, New Years etc? Was it better to be alone? I didn't want to seem disrespectful towards him by showing the world I was having fun when I've lost someone so dear. But when is the right time to move on?

For those of you who's lost someone, only you can answer that yourself. No one can tell you how long you should be grieving despite what the people around you say/think. When you're ready to move on, then take that step forward. If you're not, then take as much time as you need, but remember that life does go on. Even for me, some days when I think I'm good, I'm not really. I takes so much to fight off the tears but just know that it's okay to cry when you need to.

I hold onto the good memories and let myself feel because I don't want to forget him.

He was a kind man who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. He filled his time making origami, watching art shows on TV, reading Chinese newspapers. In his younger days, he even travelled and climbed the Great Wall of China before his legs gave out on him. He's had a good life and his memory will live on in the hearts of all his 7 children, 17 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard but always near; still loved, still missed and very dear