On death and dying

8th April, 2013 – Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, passed away. 

This is not a tribute to Thatcher. I am unqualified to write about her life but I think The Economist did a pretty good job here though. I really liked what Obama had to say about Thatcher on Twitter too: “She stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered.

7th April, 2013 – It could have been Issy’s 20th birthday. 

Neither is this a tribute to Issy. I am unqualified to write about her life too because we were no longer close after secondary school. I knew Issy since I was in primary school and I knew her through our annual sports meet. I used to take part in the 100m or 200m sprinting events during the SCGS Sports Day at Toa Payoh Stadium. And Issy was my competitor.  She was always the better runner. Every year, without fail, she would come in first and I would come in either second, maybe even third. But the thing I remember most about Issy is that she always challenged me to be a better version of myself.

Although we weren’t close, when I heard of Issy’s passing, I still felt a sense of loss. She was only 19, she was beautiful, talented, all-rounded and she had her whole life ahead of her. I remember sitting with all the SC girls who went for Issy’s wake and I remember it being a little awkward, maybe because at 19, we still didn’t know about death. Even now, I still haven’t fully grasped the concept of death.

The news of Thatcher’s death and Issy’s birthday early this week just reminded me once again of how fortunate I am every morning that I struggle to get out of bed. I remember the prayer and praise that I attended on 1 Aug, 2010. I remember how we were asked to think about our fears. I attended that prayer and praise session with T and I remember sitting at the back of the chapel with him while he teased about my fear of death. I always had an irrational fear of death; especially death by flying. (On an aeroplane, I mean.) Now that I think about it though, it might not be death that I fear so much, but the regrets – all the unsaid words, the unfulfilled promises and unaccomplished dreams that death would leave behind.

Last year, Pastor Matt organised a trip for the youths to Choa Chu Kang Cemetery (in the day thankfully haha). At the end of the trip he asked us “How would you live your one God given life?” Now, I’m really starting to see how important a question that is.

I am guilty of using #YOLO or #YOLOSWAG on twitter and instagram and my friends give me flak about it. But maybe if YOLO stops becoming an excuse for doing stupid things, it would really actually ring true, that you only live once – and you have to make the most out of it, for the better.

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