Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Preparing for The Big Adventure

"To die will be an awfully big adventure." (J.M. Barrie - Peter Pan)

The past week has made me thought a lot about Death. Well, actually, I had thought about it every once in a while, especially after I read this on Coelho's blog.

My maternal grandfather passed away recently last Wednesday. The effects of diabetes had finally caught up with him. He had been rather immobile for the past 2 years because his feet and legs were swollen, so he couldn't really walk around too much. He spent most of his days in bed, or on a chair. In addition to that, he had symptoms of Parkinson and Alzheimer.

Around a month ago, he was admitted to the hospital. We all thought it was because of stroke. But the diagnosis said that it has nothing to do with any disease. It was simply because he was old. We had little hope of him getting back to normal, but miraculously he did. After around a week, he was healthy enough to throw a tantrum at everyone to let him went home. So we did. He came home on Tuesday, and was admitted back to the hospital on Monday. This time in ICU.

The doctor said his lungs failed to function. Because he didn't move around much, his lungs didn't get the exercise it needs. So it couldn't contract to draw air inside, thus he couldn't breathe. They had to put a machine called ventilator to help his lungs contract and breathe. And for the last 2 weeks of his life, he lived it through with the help of the ventilator, on a bed, inside a cold room surrounded with more machines that bleeped and blinked every second, with cables and tubes sticking on and inside his body -- a painful sight.

When he finally left us last Wednesday, forgive me God for saying this, I was actually relieved. He was finally free from the pain and sufferings. I don't think anyone would want to live that way. And I'm pretty sure that if only my grandfather could voice his opinion, he wouldn't want to be attached to those machines.

He was cremated the following Saturday morning. And when his coffin was entering the furnace, I finally let down my tears. I was never really close to him, he was a rather stiff old fashioned man who didn't really speak much. But nevertheless, he was a fine man, a good husband, and a good father. Going through the prayers and the rituals, I finally realized things would be different from now on. His ashes were thrown into the sea afterwards. He was finally one again with the universe.

I never had an experience of losing someone this close before (as in my close family). My paternal grandparents died when I was still very little so I practically didn't recall anything at all. But this time it felt so real, and I could remember every detail of the wake and the burial rituals. It's a new experience that I hope I wouldn't have to go through again too often too soon. Though I know that it is unavoidable.

We all know that we live side by side with Death. While I hope Death won't pick me up too soon, I do hope he would spare me from dying. I don't want to live out of machines. If such a thing should happen (knock on wood 3 times), I wish my family would just unplug the machines and safe everyone from prolonged sufferings.

I'd like to be cremated, and I'd want my ashes to be thrown into the sea, from the top of a mountain, and on my home's backyard -- that is, if I've lived to see the world as I always have wanted to. But sadly, if not, it would be wonderful if my ashes could be divided and then sent out to be scattered at the places I wanted to see, which would include Tibet, Nepal, India, Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Iceland, France, Japan, and many more. And I don't want people to mourn. I wish people would remember me in a good and happy way.

Death is lurking jut around the corner. We couldn't know for sure when we'd bump into him. So before that happens, I'm going to live my life fully. I'm a coward so I don't really take risks, but I'm trying. I'm gonna make the most out of this journey, I hope that should be a good enough preparation to go on to the next (and final) destination in life.

After all, we're only tourists in this holiday called life.

*) Written in memory of my grandfather

Sweet Like Chocolate

This post is actually inspired by a friend's post, whose lucky enough to have had many sweet experiences. Sometimes I think her stories seem like they are taken right out of a movie. Heheheh.. (I sometimes envy you, oh dear neighbor).

Anyway, back then I couldn't really think of anything so sweetly memorable happening to me. Maybe because I never really have any real romance in my life (ah yes, me and my bland life) or maybe it's just because I had that problem of being 'clueless' when I'm suddenly asked some certain questions which forced me to go down memory lane. Because these things always pop out unexpectedly, when you were least thinking about it.

But it finally came up to me after a while, and I remember that there were actually a few. So I just thought I should write it down so that I won't forget them.

One of the sweetest thing that a guy has ever done to me happens to be, again, linked with a song. It may sound corny but yes, I like corny sometimes. Heheheh.. (we girls like corny things sometimes -- trust me).

It was some time ago when Coldplay came to Singapore for their X&Y album's tour. As I love Coldplay so much, of course I wanted to go over there to see Chris sang live in front of me. But since I had no money at all, it was just a wishful thinking. The guy I was very close with back then went there to see the show. He actually offered me to come join him as he had the show's ticket to spare because his brother, who was supposed to go too, had to cancel his leaving due to work. But I couldn't afford my daily living costs back then, let alone afford airplane tickets and the wretched fiskal.

On the night of the concert, I received a call from him. When I answered, I couldn't really hear what he was saying. All I heard was just loud noises of crowd cheering and some music. So after a minute of, "Hello? Hellooo?", I cut the connection and sent him a message saying I couldn't hear him. After I sent that message, I noticed that I've received a message.. from him. And it goes like this:

"I'm gonna call but I can't speak. So please, just listen."

It was sent before the call. After that, he replied my previous message by saying that he called just to let me hear the band playing my favorite song, 'Fix Me' (the song has special meanings for me). My gawd, I was really touched -- it was so sweet. Too bad I didn't read the message earlier, it would be really nice hearing it even though it won't be too clear. It still makes me smile to this day everytime I remember it. Though our story ended in a sad and painful way, some sweet memories stayed alive inside me.

Now I'm still waiting for the first guy to ever bring me flowers. That should be memorable. Hahahah!

Have a nice Monday, people!

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

(Fix You - Coldplay)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hope is Just A (-insert action here-) Away

Me and my sister did a marathon DVD nights last weekend. Genre: romance/comedy. And all movies happen to be based on chicklits.

On Friday we watched 27 Dresses after the so-called bachelorette party. On Saturday we watched P.S. I Love You. And on Sunday we watched The Nanny Diaries (it's my second time seeing it, but the first time I didn't really pay attention).

Romance films, especially romantic comedies, have always been one of my guilty pleasures. They're light, entertaining, don't require lots of thinking, are usually a feast for the eyes (because of the good looking casts), and most of all, they kept us dreaming -- of that so-called perfect love and that so-called prince charming. They are the modern versions of fairytales which tell the story of love and (mostly) happy endings.

By watching these kind of movies, we're swept away from reality for a few hours. Forget that you've been going solo for years. Forget that the guys you met (and sometimes dated) are mostly jerks. Forget that you've a knack for being involved in unhealthy complicated relationships all the time. Forget that you're single, broke, with credit card bills to pay. Forget every shit that's happening in the real world. Because in that few hours, the world seemed ever so sweet and perfect, and that all things bad will turn out good in the end.

These movies gave us hope. That there's a teensy weensy bit of chance that life would turn out as sweet as fairytale stories (or chicklits). Such is their charms and spells.

But then again, after the spell had lost its power, we'll be forced to face reality once more. And we came to re-realize many things:
1. That someone as perfect as Gerry (from P.S. I Love You) only existed in movies.
2. That a love as perfect as Gerry's only existed in movies.
3. That someone like Kevin (from 27 Dresses), also only existed in movies. He's a dream guy: bitter and sarcastic but at the same time sweet and thoughtful (sigh...).
4. That a cinderella tale like The Nanny Diaries only existed in movies.
5. That Gerard Butler is just oh-so-perfect -- the face, the body, the voice... hmmm.. yummy..! Uhm, okay, I'm steering off topic here (let's save my fantasies of Gerry only to myself).

Oh yes, reality sucks. Bohoo. But it's quite comforting to know that there are many ways to escape the dreadness of it.

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonades, or lemon meringue pie, or lemon sorbet, or tequila shots, or vodka sour (oh well, you get my point). When life gives you shit and nightmares, you can always turn to books and films, or others. It's only just a flip or a click away.

P.S. I (Not) Love You:
Contrary to popular beliefs, ahem, I mean contrary to my own expectations, I did not cry like a baby when I watched P.S. I Love You. Maybe because I watched it on DVD and I got so many distractions from people around me that the mood wasn't built well enough (try concentrating on a movie with someone nagging you and ranting on to you every second). On the other hand, I cried when I watched The Nanny Diaries. The part when Grayer was chasing the taxi that took Anny away with force is just heartbreaking. Out of all 3 movies, I found 27 Dresses as most entertaining, The Nanny Diaries as most eye-spoiling (great art direction, the transition from statues to humans and vice versa in the museum is superb), and P.S. I Love You as sweetest and most romantic (of course). Now I feel like reading the books (I've never read a chicklit before).

P.P.S. : I love love loveee Gerard Butler!