When it was the Chinese New Year and the first without our loved one who had passed on, the recollection of memories was exceedingly painful. We missed our brother Sim Lie especially on those few days when the entire Cheng clan gathered. He was the live wire, the doting uncle and the reliable photographer. He was the planner of our CNY traditional midnight movie, the enthusiastic connoisseur of Bak Kwa and Coca Cola, the storyteller to add to the 气氛. Even though life went on without him, the celebration was very different without him.
How do hurting memories heal? How do we carry on living without the presence of somebody who means so much to us? What do we do with our fear that if we live normally we might forget our brother and even his face?
Life, it seems, is like a canvas on which we paint with our experiences. The painting is created by different strokes from different folks who are part of our journey. Sim Lie had added his brush strokes to our canvas. In fact, his artistry and his love had indelibly shaped our canvas such that even after he was gone, whatever happened subsequently could only enhance the beauty of his mark. We continue to add to his strokes. His legacy remains.
Hindsight is 20/20, they say. We often say we wish we knew then what we know now. Having now the advantage of the hindsight of grieving our brother's departure, I learn that I can live forward by intentionally forging great memories every day of my remaining life. I realize afresh that I forge best memories when I take nothing for granted. I am convinced that I add to the canvas meaningfully when I live each day as if it were the last. I am mindful that everything else I leave behind will expire but fond memories left behind will last for a long, long time.
Grieving takes time and time heals the memories of our loved one who is gone. By being patient and gentle with ourselves, our memories will evolve to its final form. We will eventually recall only the best memories: that is, those times that best define our relationship.