Its the small things

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Some of you might be concerned with how I am coping back in this city which holds so many precious memories of my little princess Char. 

Truth is I thought I would break down completely but I didn't. There were moments, split seconds when it felt like I was so close to breaking down but that complete meltdown just didn't happen. 

Many scenes replayed in my head. It's almost 2 years and yet it felt like just yesterday that I walked down the same path... The same hospital, the same playroom... Said hello to the same people... I can even visualize myself pushing that stroller with Char in it... Her many faces at many corners of RMDH...

The nurses remember too. They remember Charmaine Lim Fan Xi. They remember me - Charmaine's mom. Most couldn't recognize Jase immediately bc he has grown. Some nurses remember more things that I do. The cheerleading costume that Charmaine wore for 2010 Halloween...

Everyone ran to give us big warm hugs. Silent tears were shed. No words need to be said.

Love is all around.

I remember many things.

But most importantly, it's the small things that I remember most.

I remember how I was so stressed and walked around FAO Schwarz leaving Char and Jase with the volunteers playing. I knew that Char didn't like me out of sight but I just needed my breather. I walked back to a sobbing Char whom was crying her lungs out.

Indeed, all the big things, biggest decisions I made for us during our journey don't seem to count as much as the small things I did when I walk down memory lane now and reflect back...

I learn again...

It's truly the smaller, seemingly more insignificant actions that will actually leave the bigger imprints and probably make up the regrets when we look back...

Its the small things that matter. Don't overlook the insignificant everyday actions. They might just end up the very regrets you wished you had done it better...

Thank you for life's precious lessons, my love.

Always missing you.

Cyn mommy

I BACK JACK - From Singapore

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I had refrained from posting about the loss of every precious child every time we lose one because my FB consists of many people not living in that world and I don't want friends to worry about me. 

There's 2 groups in my FB consisting of blogs or caring bridge pages that I follow daily. 

The Warrior Group and The Angels Group. 

I started with none on my Angels Group and over the years, I found myself moving one too many, and too often to the Angels Page. 

Today, the number of blogs on my Angels Group has far superseded the blogs in my Warrior Group.

Today, through tears, I have to move another blog over. 

The blogs seem like just nothing more than online journals that I read. But I grow with them and I learn from them. 

Each blog is the precious and yet painful reminder of these little heroes who never stopped fighting. And each has a name and a life that will be remembered for a long long time.

The journals represent the many kids whose precious lives were cut short by a disease that will have a cure in years to come. My biggest regret is we couldn't find that cure earlier. 

This is not a post to amplify life's sufferings and losses even though the pain of losing a child can never be disregarded. I am still in pain daily. 

But a dear friend gave me some wise words last.

"Pain is good. Being able to feel pain simply means you are alive. You don't want to lose the ability to feel pain. Depression is feeling nothingness. People suffering from depression inflict cuts or injuries on themselves not to end their lives but to feel something, even if its pain." 

For some time now, I had started to fear for my own sanity. I feel down, my heart yearns for my little girl. I started weeping silently again. Some sights with little girls Charmaine's age will make me tear instinctively. 

There are also some friends who started to worry for me. It got me anxious with myself. I even checked with my counsellor a couple of times and got her to promise me that she will let me know that I needed to seek more help if she felt I wasn't normal.

Hearing the words from my friend made me feel so relieved. I am normal. And while the hurt of losing my child is so darn painful that words can't even describe it... All these negative emotions are normal and expected from someone who has gone through traumatic experiences... 

Nevertheless, I digressed. 

I have been consciously trying to cope with my loss in the least negative way... It isn't always easy because the pain and yearning keep sneaking back. I know I won't ever stop feeling this hurt of losing my child and I don't think I will ever want to. Because I hurt for I have loved. For as long as I am alive, I will always love my baby girl and I will always ache for her. This life altering experience is here to stay whether I choose it or not... And my only option now is to learn to cope with it.

And one of which is to attract that positivity back into my life. 

And this brings me back to today's writing...

This is rather hard for me because everytime we lose another child, my first initial reaction is to feel nothing but absolute depression... I refused to look at it as a relief. The idea that a transition from a physical life to spiritual existence is pretty much a big joke to me. I simply refused to let any of those ideas enter my head. There's absolute no other perspective that I needed to learn from the loss of my own child or a child of another family... Nothing except pain. Nothing except that it's wrong. Nothing except that it's absurd and inhumane. It defies my entire life directions and principles. 

I understand that there is the other side of a coin but I refused to acknowledge it. It feels so wrong to me. 

Today is the first time ever I am attempting to look at the other side. 

Just because today this is how Jack Bartosz would have wanted it. 

I will always remember you for being all things positive, Jack. You taught me more than my teachers ever could. Please say hello to Charmaine for me. 


Cyn mommy

Missing you, like every other day!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Char char, please make the rain go away! We have a planned trip to East Coast Park. Jase will be disappointed. Blow the rain clouds away pls! Do your magic! 

I think I dreamed of you last night! Can't rem anything but it's good to feel you so close to me again! Missing you more each day. I still wish all these is nothing but a horrible nightmare... 

What hurts most is losing your love physically... 

No more "I love you"s and no more hugs from you... 
No more smiles from you to cheer up my days... 

But, we will continue what you fought so hard to do - LIVE! 

And LIVE HAPPILY we will! 

10 steps backwards again

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hi everyone...

1 step forward, 10 steps backwards...
This is exactly what I am feeling right now...

I have not logged onto blogger to type properly in a long long time. Most of my previous entries in the last couple of months were copied and pasted from my facebook status...

In some ways, it is not necessarily a bad thing. If you recall, I usually write when I am depressed and upset. Hence, my absence might mean that I am coping...

However, I had been consciously avoiding the blog too. It scares me sometimes because I know that the moment I start writing, my tears will start overflowing and frankly, I don't exactly want to cry as much as you don't really want to see my cry.

And today, I decided that I am ready to blog again.

Which in turn only means one thing - I am so upset and depressed that I don't really care if I am going to cry non stop... Anyway, I cry even when I am not doing anything. Hence, why not right?

So much going on in my head now... where do I begin?

The last time I was this emotional, I took almost 2 months to regain my composure. And the last time wasn't even a result of my own child. It was a friend who lost her son. But the visits to ICU and just putting myself in that same situation somehow got the better of me and I was overwhelmed with that sense of loss. When the news of his passing came that morning, I quite simply just lost it there and then. I was all changed, ready to head out like I do on a normal weekday. But suddenly, I was just collapsed and burst out crying. Cries so loud I scared myself silly.

For the first time since Charmaine's passing, I grabbed the phone and called my counsellor voluntarily, asking for her to meet me that day. I was scared. It felt like an out of body experience. My body somehow didn't seem to belong to me because it wouldn't listen to my brain. I cried and cried, and as hard as I tried to stop myself from crying, I couldn't. My heart ached and I didn't understand why. Why was I crying? Why did I feel like it was much worse than the day when I lost my own child...

That was in February. And I found out later that I was re-living my own nightmare and that was what killed me then. I've learned my lesson and has followed doctor's and counsellor's orders that I am not to put myself in that situation again because I am not ready for it.

That was also the first time I learned that my journey of grieving was not going to be a linear straight line with me progressing and improving steadily. Instead, there will be troughs and peaks. Like a trade cycle, I will improve and regress... Get better and maybe be hit with another wave of heartache... Then I will have to start climbing again... A lifelong journey of ups and downs... all I can hope for is for the recovery to maybe become shorter as time passes by...

I feared the coming of July for awhile now. They say mindset is everything... Maybe my own fears made my reality more painful. My own doing, so to speak.

Things seem to be alright until last Monday when once again, my emotions got the better of me. As prepared as I was for July to be tough, it is still unbelievably painful. And when the sadness comes, it comes on board with full brutal force, no warning at all. One moment I was reading a book, next moment, I found myself in a heap, crying and screaming on top of my lungs... I was truly glad that no one was home to see my outburst... Because that was the second time I behave like a psychotic woman, I wasn't as afraid and scared... I knew I would stop at some stage. I don't know if that was considered normal... but I guess I am starting to accept the fact that whether I like it or not, I cant exactly control or stop it.

It was beyond painful. My whole mind was filled with darkest dark thoughts. All I wanted to do was to escape. But where. I have nowhere to run to and I have another child dependant on me. I felt so useless... incredibly helpless and desperate... I wanted to lash out at someone, something... But what, who? The pain, the sense of loss, even the anger and frustration... My whole mind was a mangle mess of negative emotions probably enough to act as a nuke and I wouldn't be surprised if I had self imploded.

I tried to read... but I had already finished 5 books in less than 5 days and I couldn't concentrate against the depressed mind...

All that was going in my head was "She should be 7. My little girl would be 7. Primary 1." I pictured her in her school uniform... going to school with her brother. I tried to imagine her height... And even that image was marred by the ugly cancer... because even in my imagined world, she had a limp... a knee eaten by cancer...

My Charmaine... My princess... my sweet loving child... Where are you???

I know... I know I am going insane... I know I am behaving like an irrational human being... I know that nothing I do can bring her back... I know and I don't need anyone reminding me that!

I know... but it just hurts so bad...

I cant help it that my brain is wired in such a way. I cant numb my pain and I cant avoid the heartache too... I cant escape it and there's absolutely nothing I can do to remove it...

Or maybe there is... I don't know... Counselling, supplements, alternative healing...

I keep trying... And I would even say that I am doing a good job on good days...

On good days, its easier to pretend that my life is fine... Work, school, play and fun...

However, the bad days always manage to wriggle back into my life...
I will admit that I am defenseless against that giant.

My only coping mechanism against my bad days is to just let the bad days take charge... And I will just roll and tumble along until I hit a dead end...

It has been difficult... I know that I have no right to complain... compared to the kids going through chemotherapy, surgeries... my pain is insignificant...

I wish I could be the strong woman you assume me to be...
As strong as I am, my heart is not immune to my pain and my loss...

Only today do I realize that the first day I stepped into the world of cancer with my baby girl more than 3 years ago... it is a journey that will only end when I breath my last breathe. It didn't end with your battle, char... it merely became a different battle for mommy.

Someone out there is definitely fighting a much more tougher battle than me, with many others still on the journey that I once was on...

Life is all about perspectives... Always compare yourself to the man with a bigger load of crap in life and one should feel better... Today, I cant. Just today, let me wallow in self pity. Today, please let my perspective rule. Today, I don't want to fight the fight. I feel weak. I need to cry. I really need a break to literally tumble and crumble to pieces...

I don't like the ups and downs... but I honestly have no idea how to turn my life into a neutral linear line...

My dearest child, I don't feel you around me anymore... A part of me know that you have completed your journey, even in that other worldly heaven... but if there's any chance that you hear mommy... I need you now more than ever... please give me a kick in the butt or something... help me... I am at my wits end... running out of ideas baby...

I love you. I always do and I always will.

Cyn mommy

One more step

Monday, July 16, 2012

Finally settled the hospital bills in full...  A part of me didn't want to because I like receiving reminder letters addressed to Charmaine Lim Fan Xi. I even like receiving numerous calls from the credit company hounding me for payment.  No more keying in your Birth Certificate Numbers. No more KKH.  I have no sense of relief or happiness that it's settled.  Just another step towards the closure which I honestly hate to deal with... Somehow I did it this morning.  I miss you my darling girl. I miss hearing you recite your 'T0520021G' to the nurses to verify the correct chemo is given to you.  I love you. And I wish I could love you more than this lifetime. 

You are supposed to be 7 today.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My dearest child, my sweet loving girl, How are you? You are supposed to be 7 today... Happy Birthday Princess. Mommy loves you and mommy misses you a great deal. We bought your favourite cake and sang you your Birthday song... Kor Kor and I blew the candles for you and he cut the cake for you... I wish you were here... Why aren't you here? Why are you taken away from me? I'm crying like mad again... Here waiting for Kor Kor to his play therapy session... Dont want him to see me cry...

I ordered your birthday cake for your 7th birthday

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I cried myself to sleep on Monday... I cried myself to sleep again Tuesday... I was too exhausted yesterday... And I just slept... I finally ordered your favourite cake for Saturday... And I still can't make up my mind if I am sane or nuts? This has been another of those tough, difficult, painful and just plain horrible week for mommy... I love you and this hurts so much... So much that I can't even make sense out of my own life...

A very painful July

Thursday, June 28, 2012

July is gonna be so difficult. So hard to believe that last year I was standing at your birthday party wishing aloud that you would be around to celebrate your 7th birthday with us all.  And now, all I have are just memories... Memories that I can't touch, smell, hold or feel...  I can shed a million tears but  nothing will change the fact that I no longer can see your smiles or receive hugs from you.  It's as though you have never existed...  Life is a mystery.  Love is... Unexplainable. I love you.  And I love you.  Let life cycles be true ad come back to me.  For without you, love is nothing. 

Happy 8th Birthday Jase

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dear All,

 Today is 20th May 2012.

8 years ago on this day, I gave birth to my first child Jase. And barely 14months later, I gave birth to second child, Charmaine. Both my children came into this world under extremely different circumstances. Jase came into this world with much joy, anticipation and lots of loving. Charmaine, on the other hand, came into this world with me in tears, anxiety and fears.

Lately, I've been thinking. Especially during days when I miss my little princess so much. I can't help but wonder if I have brought her ill-fated destiny, wrought with so much suffering and pain, upon her, right even before she was in my embrace.

For 2 months in my womb while she was still depending on me to provide her with the best nutrients and happy emotions... I was not eating and I was crying almost every single day... I even contemplated the thought of ending my life. But I couldn't because Jase is innocent and my unborn child didnt deserve to have her life taken away before she had even seen and lived it.

Even back then, Charmaine was my strongest support. Jase kept me distracted but Char kept me moving forward. Yes, I suspect I am in that guilty, self-blaming phase. However, no matter how much I looked back, there was simply no possible sane way that I could have remained happy, cheerful, healthy or even sane during that last trimester. No matter how strong I was, I couldn't not be lost, depressed and dejected when my only support - my then husband decided to walk out of Jase, my unborn child and my life totally. Then I started to really hate my ex husband. Throughout the years, I have never really bothered to hate my ex husband because I refused to spend any energy or emotions on a person who doesn't give a damn about us. But yet, this past week, I really hated him. For what it's worth, I was totally oblivious to his adulterous lifestyle with my good pal anyway. Why couldn't he just treated me as the complete idiot I was and initiate the divorce or chase his noble goal of seeking his personal happiness after the birth of my innocent baby? It was only 2 more months...

 In my desperate attempts to seek a deeper understanding and a connection with that spiritual world that is totally lost on me, I started to wonder if Charmaine's entire life was like a train on a derailed track doomed to end up in a terrible wreck right from the very beginning, way before she was even born. Just like butterfly effects. And I was a large part of the reason. Then I hated even myself.

 In the past month, I have occasionally typed a few blog entries but I never got to finish them ever and somehow, I never found the heart to complete them either... They usually got so depressing that even I myself didn't feel like publishing them. The world doesn't need more any depressing news. More importantly, I felt that I would be doing my princess a great disservice by remembering her for all the wrong reasons. Char Char was hardly anything to do with tears, depression or sadness. She was larger than life. The epitome of courage, strength, hope, determination and infinite amount of love. And that is how she deserves to be imprinted onto the lives of ours. Nevertheless, try as I might, this grief will always be a part of my life.

I asked a friend of mine how the heck he even put up with my erratic mood swings. He said that my bubbly and positive nature always shine through even when I never noticed them. I laughed because I thought a depressed woman with a bubbly and cheerful nature is as close as one can get to having a lunatic for a friend, isn't it? Life is not all gloom and doom for me even though the grey skies always feel much closer than they should.

On some days, I feel better. On rare occasions, I even feel good. Sometimes, seeing a smiley face picture of Char opens my floodgates and I pine for her achingly. Other times, I look at her cheeky face and it puts a smile onto my face. I could almost feel her standing right in front of me, feel her warmth and happiness radiating around me. It almost feels like I have never lost her at all. On days like that, I can't help but smile at those so called 'words of comfort' I termed as bullshit, to be true. "I am not gone but I am just next door". Because of moments like that when I could almost feel a connection to Char my big girl, I try even harder to learn about that other world.

I keep trying.

2 social workers, 1 alternative therapist and daily consumption of my concoction of supplements (which I affectionately named as "happy pills" - Tryptophan, St John's Worts and Vitamin B. All natural supplements known to regulate a hormone that affects our emotions.). These are definitely not the solutions to seeking peace or reducing my pain. Losing someone we love dearly is an experience that we will all grow to cope with and live with. My coping mechanism, since Char's diagnosis has always been one of taking practical actions to deal with my challenge. As such, I kind of need to feel like I am taking an active role to cope instead of mulling around. Hence, I am always trying to cope in a better and more healthy way.

 The good news is I have had some success with coping better. But those better days never seem to last beyond a couple of weeks and then I would find myself struggling to stay ahead of my grief once again. It takes a toil on my focus and determination because it is such a pain in the ass. Pardon my French. To feel like you are doing better for a few days and to be thrown back into the abyss of yearning for my loss and feel like I have made no progress right from the beginning sucks big time. I am at the point of not knowing if I should wish for an eternal sentence to remain in that abyss instead! Maybe, it is better to not feel such extreme emotions of progress and despair? Wrong I know... But nothing truly feels right without my little princess anyway...

Today is Jase's 8th Birthday. He will be having a little surprise birthday party at Explorer Kids. Speaking of Jase always makes me feel guilty. Guilty that I've neglected him for 3 years. Guilty that he has had to sacrifice for his little sister. Guilty that he can never have the happy and normal mother that most children will have. Guilty that I will always have a broken heart. Guilty that he has to learn loss and pain at such a young age when he should really be having the time of his life. Guilty that he will have to grow up alone without his sister whom he loves so much. When it comes to Jase, I will always feel guilty. He truly deserves better.

A lot of people tell me that I still have Jase and now I need to love him more because he is everything that I have now. Certainly, thats the factual reality. However, most people have no idea how much those words hurt me more than anything. I know everyone mean well... but sometimes, even the best intention do have have that best effect.

 For the longest time, I have been beating myself up because I keep feeling guilty towards Jase and I keep feeling lousy that I could not be the mother that I was. I just couldn't do better because my heart is broken and it cannot be mended. I even felt like I am this horrible biased mother. Because Jase deserves the best and I am not even 'normal' so to speak, what best is there to speak of? All he gets is a mother who weeps every now and then when she misses her lost child. A mother who laughs with a tinge of tears. A mother who is going through the motions as best as she could.

Just last week, I met up with the second Neuroblastoma mother who spoke to me after Charmaine was diagnosed. She has a son who was battling relapsed neuroblastoma then. Her son is now in second remission and living each day going to school like any other child his age but suffering in pain daily...

We hardly have much time to catch up with each other but everytime we do, she is like this wise angel sent to make feel better. I confided in her about how lousy and terrible I feel towards Jase. The sense of guilt, the feeling that I don't it good enough... She just told me that she understood how I felt because she is facing the very same challenge as I with her older daughter. Even her older daughter felt that mommy is biased. Being the brave woman she is, she even had a heart to heart talk with her daughter, admitting and explaining how she loves her just as much but it will never be the same as her love for her ill son.

Hearing her words, I cried even harder. Because at that moment, even though we are 2 very different women, we could literally feel the pain, the guilt, and the sense of remorse as 2 different persons connected through cancer. For the first time, I felt understood even without me having to explain myself. She will always understand me because we have walked the same journey. Its a blessing and a curse. I found so much solace in her words, in her hugs and in her eyes. Hearing her words didnt provide a solution to my guilt but at least, I now know that I feel this way not because I am a bad, lousy and inadequate person but because of what I have gone through. And I just have to continue to try and figure out a way to feel better.

I often hear mothers telling me that they understand me because they are mothers. The truth is, you wont ever understand me unless you have walked my journey. And I will never wish upon any human being what I have gone through.

Another good wise old friend of mine is always sharing his neutral perspectives with me. I appreciated his words of wisdom and acknowledged the fact that sometimes I needed to know that my pain and my loss is nothing more than 'part and parcel of life'. Nonetheless, I think each life experience seems to produce a certain set of side effects, or rather challenges, unique to that experience while they all fall under the macro category of 'providing us with wisdom and maturity'.

The hardest part of this cancer journey with our child is more than just the lack of a cure or the eternal grieving over the loss of our child. Instead, it is how this entire experience plays with your mind. And that is the scariest thing to me. Especially someone such as me, who feels better having a practical problem to deal with. If a screw is loose, I could tighten it. But if it involves my mind, I couldnt simply just take my mind out and tighten the loose bolts! My mind goes through this constant battle of going from happy to sad, contentment to guilt, okay to not, cheerful to depressing, loving to yearning, present to past, anger to peace, future to memories, etc...

It is a minute to minute fight to stay sane.

Okay, maybe thats a little overboard. But believe me, it does feel that way sometimes!

On those really gloomy and doom days, I actually feel like my heart doesnt belong to me and my brain is not under my control. There are days where you keep telling yourself to wake up and feel happy but then your tears start flowing... and then you feel like you are some lunatic with serious issues up in the head! Then you try to self talk to your heart, brain and mind to feel better, negotiate with it... coax it with the phrase 'everything is part and parcel of life'...

Most of the times, after trying everything to no avail... then I just give up. I just allow the tears to flow, do what they have to do. Eat when its time for meals, sleep when its time to go to bed... Argh - it just keeps going on and on like this! Dammit - will I ever be able to live normally again? I dont know... Time will tell, right?

2 weeks ago, it was my first Mother's Day without Charmaine. Jase and I spent a couple of hours with Charmaine at the temple... I was a wreck, but a controlled wreck. Definition - I look OKAY on the outside. I have been polishing my 'act' pretty well lately. Unless I want to open up to you, you cant even guess that my heart is crying inside while I am smiling at you. Well, I guess a slightly more sensitive person will be able to read my face. But so what? I dont know how else to fit into the world while all I truly want to do during my gloomy days is to MULL! The thing is people expect you to move on, to carry on with life as the earth continues to spin daily. I guess thats not a bad idea because its either pretending to look okay and continue to 'live' or crying while 'living'. The thing is crying saps out too much energy.

Okay, time to sign off. I apologize if I have once again sounded like I am wallowing in self pity and ruining your day. Forgive me because its not my intention to do so. I cant help myself but pour out my emotions whenever I write...

The productive thing is after writing and crying, I honestly do feel better. Thank you for being my phantom listener, my little girl's loving supportor.

Dearest Char Char,

THANK YOU! It was drizzling while we were on our way to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve this morning. I started to worry if the rain was going ruin the hiking trip and spoil the fun for Kor Kor. Then I decided to ask you for a favour to blow all the rain clouds away!

Amazingly, the drizzle stopped and it was such an awesome day for the hike. We had so much fun! Because the drizzle stopped, even though I couldnt feel you, I know you were with us every step of the climb. I LOVE YOU. I still do and I always will. Kor Kor loves you too. He still speaks of you fondly, never changing.

To both Jase and me, you are always with us even though we cant see you. Watch over us and make sure you cast your fairy spell of happiness onto us. Promise me that we will meet again someday, because that is the only hope that keeps me going.

Cyn mommy

A beautiful dream of you smiling at me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I dream of Char!!! I barely just dozed off for 20mins. And it was a dream in a dream. In my dream, my folks came in to wake up me up barely after I fallen asleep and I grumbled. Then I went back to sleep. And soon after, don't know why, I was roused up again and I said I was going to another house to sleep. Apparently my parents and I have 2 different house. I walked out at 3am and this family of 4 with 2 kids came chatting loudly. Kids were running across the road towards my parents house which I was in now. I realized that I had left my heels outside the main door so went to get and decided to look towards the direction of the family. Just behind the family, there SHE is!!! My baby girl Char! I know it's her because she smiled at me so happily. Doing a pose across the road with a right hand on her hip and left hand pointing upwards, with a smirk and mischievous face. I miss you my dearest child. She is wearing her green shirt we bought in NYC with a skirt and leggings. She has a laugh bird perched on her left shoulder. I kept calling and screaming to her that I miss her and I love her so much, clearly knowing in my dream that she is no longer here with me but I was happy. I just wanted to let her know as much as possible that I love her. She smile her  biggest grin at me and before I know it, she floated upwards and she kept waving her left hand at me happily... she never stopped smiling and monkeying around and she looks so happy...

And it's 3:39am now... I woke up crying... Don't know if I was dreaming or I was simply too tired...

Not sure if it is merely me thinking of her subconsciously... Whatever it is, I got to see those smiles I miss so dearly... 

It's been 6 months... Without my precious child.

I love you Charmaine.. How I wish we were meant to be together as a family for decades... How I long to hear your voice again... How I wish to be able to hold and hug you tightly... To hear you shout your "love you"s...

But it seems that you are meant to be somewhere else... You must be happy OKAY? Happier and so much more blissful than when you are with me...

Video Memories of Charmaine

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dear readers,

Happy Monday!

We would like to share some videos taken last year with all of you who are still reading.

Please view it on a new youtube window as I do not know how to resize the width to fit into this blog post.

Godma Jolene


These videos were taken in June 2011. Uncle Christopher has kindly sponsored a few days stay at Festive Hotel as a reward for Charmaine for having undergone a major surgery in May 2011. It was also an advanced birthday gift for Charmaine.

~*"Interview" on the couch*~

Some of Little Charmaine's cute antics were captured in this video when she was supposedly watching tv. She did not know that she was being filmed.

Note: I do not know how to edit videos so I'm uploading the raw files as they are.

For some noteworthy moments, you may scroll to:
- 0:28
Some cute actions of Char

- 3:00
Godma Jolene and Uncle Charles disturbed Charmaine with some questions to add more sounds and actions into the video. Charmaine didn't actually know she was being filmed.

- 4:07
Uncle Charles revealed to Charmaine that he was afraid Charmaine wouldn't like him based on his looks and hear what she had to say. So cute!

~*Do you know who is the richest man in the world?*~

Some of Little Charmaine's cute antics were captured in this video when Uncle Charles was behind the camera "interviewing" her. He was asking her philosophical questions which she didn't quite understand even upon explaining. Both of us tried explaining to her in very simple terms and she still seemed lost. Nonetheless I find it very meaningful and worth sharing.

PS: Pardon Charle's command of English. He is Chinese/Hokkien educated. =P

~*Thank you Uncle Christopher*~

Those few days were one of her happiest moments. As you know, Charmaine simply loves Sentosa, Universal Studios and their roller coasters as well as the simulated beach pool at Hard Rock Hotel. Everything combined during that few days stay indeed made her one very happy girl despite all the pain she was suffering from. — at Hotel Michael Resort World Sentosa Island


These videos were taken on the night of 14 July 2011 which was Charmaine's actual birthday.

Godpa kh and Godma Jolene brought Cyn mommy and the kids to a very deserted place in Singapore to release their wishes into the sky. It was the first time the kids would be doing this and they did not quite know what to expect.

Charmaine was growing weaker by the week and I wanted her to experience a whole new way of making wishes which I was quite certain would bring her joy and hope.

~*Releasing Wish Lanterns on Charmaine's Birthday*~

Video description:
After a long time trying to get the "fuel" to light, we finally succeeded in releasing the green wish lantern into the sky.
"Make the wish come true please" uttered by Charmaine at 0:28 brought a little wrench in my heart whenever I watch this after she is gone.

~*What Charmaine Likes about the Wish Lanterns*~

Video description:
In this video, Cyn mommy was asking Charmaine what exactly she enjoyed about the whole wish lantern experience. She answered that it was mainly the drawing.

Charmaine was undoubtedly very tired even as she lay on her stroller and watch the lantern slowly disappear among the stars. Nonetheless we could all tell that she was really happy for that whole moment of seeing her lantern taking along her wishes with it.

~*Talkative Char Char*~

Video description:
In this video, we released Charmaine's pink lantern. The video is about 5 minutes long with majority of it capturing the gradual floating of lantern up into the sky.
Scroll and listen to what Charmaine had to say from 0:15 -- 0:45, 3:46 -- end
PS: To clarify what Char said, I did not "cancel" my work. lol... Those days were either my off days or else then I took time off or leave.

I found a connection to Char - reading!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I love reading! Reading makes me cry, feel anger, frustration, sadness. But above all, reading never fail to make me smile and feel happy. Reading is a habit I picked up while in NYC caring for Char and Jase. I would never imagine myself ever saying such words when I was younger but I am now - I truly love books! My love for reading is a precious gift that Char has left for me. Every book I read since the first book always has something that reminds me of Char. The connection I feel with Char is so close through the books. Every so often, a phrase or a paragraph would jump out at me making me relish Char's love as though she has never been apart from me even for a moment. The reason we start things is rarely the reason we continue them. I started reading because it was one of the few things I could do while fighting the beast daily. And it has now become my connection to my little girl. Through the words, I am constantly reminded of her love for me. Thank you my little princess. I love you. I miss you and YES, I am gonna freaking try to be happy like you do! 

Cyn mommy

Out of the woods again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hey everyone,

My sincere apologies. I know I've been out of action for more than a month. It's been a tough month with many ups and downs.

I sank into another bout of depression unexpectedly and it took me awhile to realise what had happened. The time off from everything has helped a little and I think I am ready to have another go at moving forward again.

March is also that time of the year where I am supposed to be one year older.

Just before my birthday and when I was grappling with my own emotions, I came across a paragraph in a fictional book I was reading which I like to share. It's nothing related to loss, just a simple romance novel and yet those words were jumping at me:-

"Forgive me for not being able to survive... and forgive yourself for surviving.
This is the life you were meant to have. Not a single day should be squandered."

These words brought me to tears and awakened me up. It is moment like this when you find it incredibly hard not to believe in the supernatural world, the heaven that people sing of, the existence of life beyond sciences.

Char char, it sounded like what you would say to mommy exactly... To say that it hit me at my core is an understatement.

You don't need forgiveness, my child. But how can mommy ever forgive myself for not saving you...

I love you so much. Nothing is the same without you. It still hurts. It still kills me to realise that you aren't here with me anymore... But there is nothing I can do about it. Absolutely nothing but a forced resignation to this unfair life that you have been given.

I yearn to dream of you daily but the few times I dreamed of you, you were stricken with disease... Why couldn't we even share a beautiful dream with no cancer, no pain and just happiness?

Still trying, still learning... I will get there, to our new normalcy and hopefully, it consists of many beautiful dreams of you.

I miss you more than I can ever imagine and wish that if there truly is heaven, you are happily doing everything you couldnt do on earth with me...

Cyn mommy

A day where joy meets tears and love meets pain

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's been a day of many life experiences. 

1. Joy of growing up. Golf lessons with Jase. Seeing his pride and happiness. 

2. Vulnerability of life in sickness. Been 2 years since I last stepped into NUH. Yet, I rem almost every corner and all the memories started flooding back. Char, you are everywhere. I don't know how I did it but I know you are watching over me. In ICU, even his panting is as painful to watch as though I was watching yours... I didn't know what to say but I know I need to be there... 

3. Perfect union in love. Wedding of Uncle Charles n Ai Li Jie Jie. Such a beautiful moment. Char, it's ridiculous but I had a fleeting thought wondering how it would have felt if I am the mother marrying you off... Love is so magical. 

4. Deterioration of the human body in old age. Saw Mr Chiam ST at wedding. So frail, so helpless and yet such passion for life.

Today is a day filled with varied and extreme emotions. What remains unchanged is my love for you, my princess. And how much I miss you. I survive another day! I laugh, love and live. 

Cyn mommy

Someone smiling, someone crying...

Having a heavy heart. Another warrior is fighting for his life in the ICU. Another helpless mom and dad. Feels like asking for prayers for the family but at the end of day... What the HELL can prayers do. Absolutely nothing.

I am sitting here at the driving range, looking at all the happy kids swinging their golf clubs and happy parents chatting around, blessed and oblivious to the pain and misery happening a few miles away. When Jase finishes his lessons, I will hear him talk happily of how good he is and I will smile and tell him "You are awesome!" But deep down inside, my heart is wrenching with sadness and just questions... 

How is it that we are capable of moving forward despite how impossible it may seem and how unwilling and reluctant we are... Is this a natural gift that we are all born with. Or is it more of a curse?

I am walking on a fine thread, between 2 completely different worlds and I struggle to balance daily. In some ways, I don't know where I belong to. Jumping from one to another, in and out... It's confusing and it's physically and mentally draining. A close friend said it's the universe preparing me for something bigger. But what and why.

Tonight, another of Charmaine's good friends - Uncle Charles and Ai Li Jie Jie are getting married. Jase and I are all excited about the wedding dinner. I am sure we will have fun and I will even marvel at the beauty of love and life.

I will applaud and smile heartily on this special day for them. But tonight, I will also be thinking of a teenage boy fighting for his life...

Happiness and sadness surround us in this world. Someone is dying and someone is welcoming a new life somewhere.

What are we all living for? Both the pain and the love. Both the happiness and the sadness. Both the laughters and the tears...

I can't protect myself from the misery. Neither can I protect my kids from this world's sufferings...

I can only hope that I have given them enough joy, happiness and love to weather through all the miseries, sufferings and pain.

For some, today will mark one of their happiest days in their lives... For others, today will be one of their toughest days in their lives...

For my dear friend who is struggling with one of the toughest decision to make for her child, I say "Trust yourself. A mother knows best. We are made that way. To take on all the sh*t even when you refuse to. To survive even when you just want to give up. To smile even when the tears are flowing. To love even when it doesn't make sense."

Dearest Char, I love you more everyday. And I miss you so much it's crazy. You are everywhere with me. I didn't really believe it but it seems true. I can feel you smiling sweetly besides me when I am happy. I can hear you cheering me on when I needed a boost. You are amazing. People seems to be right even when they seemed so wrong to me initially. Is it really possible that we are all growing almost the same way despite different experiences? Sorry baby girl, mommy is rambling again. :-)

Did I tell you lately that I love you? :-)


A hundred days without you

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dear Char Char,

Today is 28th January of 2012. Today marks the first 100 days of our lives without you. Another milestone, one that I had very nearly forgotten until auntie Joan reminded mommy in your blog.

Sweetheart, I've survived the last 100 days without ever counting how many days has it been since that fateful day when I lost you forever. Frankly, mommy is surprised. Surprised that I wasn't counting. Or maybe, I know myself well enough to know that counting and marking every single day without you in my life will only bring so much sorrows and pain that will do nothing to mend my already broken heart and lost soul.

To be honest, I am such a coward that I don't even dare to look back to all the "last year this day" in my life. Why couldn't I just simply reflect and rejoice in the memories of how happy, how brave and how resilient you were for everyday of the last year... After all, I will only have this one chance to use the words "last year this day" for only the next 9 months of my life. And after all, you were always happy, always loving me so much, always smiling in every single day of your life...

But honey, it's so hard to be remembering you, your smiles, your voice, your love and not be aware of what I once had and now forever lost... Am I being a greedy human who doesn't know of contentment? Am I burying myself in this deep sea of self pity and wallow because I am weak? Should I have already walked out of all this misery because my loss is not exclusive only to me. Is it wrong to continue to cry and forget to treasure what I have left with me because I am not the only mother who has lost a child?

People say happiness is a choice. It is my belief as well. Why then am I unable to feel happiness the way I once felt? Does it mean that I am consciously choosing to be depressed, upset and miserable? Baby, are there any sane and rational persons that will actually consciously choose to live life being in so much pain? Mommy is trying though. I wake up everyday reminding myself you did it. You were able to choose happiness instead of sadness. I have to, I have absolutely no reason to fail you. However, almost every action takes an extra amount of effort to achieve. It takes more to smile, it takes more to laugh, it takes more to stay hopeful, it takes more to be excited. And yet, the desired outcome seems to be lesser, even with the more effort. The laughters sound odd, the smiles look a little unnatural, the hope seems a little unrealistic and the excitement doesn't have the same adrenaline effect.

Nevertheless, we smiled, laughed, hoped and continue to be excited about life. Because you have always been.

Just the other day, the TV was showing a Talent Program in China. One of the contestants was a Mongolian little boy who sang almost as beautifully as you did. But I would say you were better! He was 10 and he lost both his parents at a tender age. He sang a song to his mommy entitled "The mommy in my dreams". At that moment, it hit me like a thousand waves. You could hear the pain, the yearning and the hurt in his little voice. Apparently Mongolian men aren't allowed to shed tears and hence he didn't cry.

I realized all of a sudden that I am so grateful that I am the one who has lost you and not the other way around. It has never occured to me that you and Jase could have been the ones hurting so badly instead. All these while, if there had been a way, I was so determined, so willing and more than prepared to give up my worthless life in exchange for yours. I had prayed fervently, day and night crying out to whoever was in charge of human lives: Take mine instead, please!!! Spare my child, let her live!!!

That night, I saw how the little boy was in pain. That night, I remember my own pain. There was absolutely no doubt that both you and Jase could have been the ones suffering such indescribable pain for the rest of your lives... That night, I am oddly and truly relieved that I am the one who has lost you and that I am the one suffering instead. It is such an odd feeling.

Granted, it's not exactly a rational thought but at that moment, my loss and my pain seem to have an oddly positive ring to it. No doubt, mommy will constantly be reminded of my pain, my loss, wishing that you were here to experience all of what life has to offer with Jase and me. Nevertheless, you will be sending me little blessings such as that night, every step in my journey, bringing me moments of peace and relief, even if it's temporary and not always convincing to myself...

One day, all these moments of peace and relief will accumulate enough for my pain to be quietly tucked away in one corner of my heart where you live on forever... And maybe, I might even be able to announce to the world that I am glad you lived no matter how short-lived that was and I am able to appreciate having you for that short and precious 6 years instead of lamenting of all the years that we could have had together...

Mommy still has a lot to learn in life. Thank you my precious child for the wonderful lessons you have taught me and continues to teach me through your memories. I love you my dearest child. I miss you more every single day.

One day, I will learn to smile like you again. This I promise.

Motherhood is truly one of the most magical experiences in life. To all mothers out there, aren't you glad to be a woman called mommy?

Baby girl, I am so darn proud that I am your momma, the one shedding tears for you! One in a gazilion chances, and I am the one! Thank you!

Cyn mommy

Last Day of the Year of Rabbit

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Today is Chinese New Year Eve.
Today is the last day of the year of Rabbit in the chinese zodiac calendar.
Today is the day where families come together to have their reunion dinner, sit around the table, have steamboat and have fun.
Today, we will be visiting you at the temple to have our reunion dinner.

Today, Jase is extremely excited. He cant wait to have his "Lao Hei" and the crackers on the "Yu Sheng".
Today, our home is beautifully decorated with dragon decors, flowers and many other red stuff.
Today, we will all celebrate one of your favourite holidays.

We have managed to do everything without you.
Theoretically, it's everyone who has managed to put together a Chinese New Year mood in our home like we have always done. Since mommy was very young.

Yup, everyone except me. What was I doing the whole time? I mull in my room, sit on my bed, read up on the 4 kids that we have lost to neuroblastoma in the last 7 days. I watched a couple of movies and pretty much did nothing constructive. The closest 'productive' thing I did was to present myself at wherever whenever necessary. I sit at the dining table when it's time to eat and I happily finish the yummy food, wondering what would you be saying beside me right now.

Gu Gu kept nagging at me to pack. I ignored him totally. I hate it when he does that to me. He doesn't understand that it's not that I don't want to pack. My heart and my brain doesn't work on equal frequency. Or maybe, I indeed DON'T want to pack. I refuse to remove anything that has you in it. I don't even want them to be 'out of sight' to me. I am not capable of walking near anything that has something to do with you and not break down. I can't bring myself to consciously look through your pictures or videos but I love to have you there like they always have been. I don't even want to change the sheet that you have slept on.

Chinese New Year would probably have been a little more pleasant if I didn't have to put your stuff aside.

Jase Kor Kor is mommy's saviour. He started packing our room yesterday and he did a pretty darn good job. I feel so ashamed of myself that I need my young son to be the little adult and yet I am so proud of him.

While I was hiding in my room, stubbornly refusing to pack, everyone has managed to tuck most of my stuff away. I woke up to a home without a lot of my junk. The place looks neater and nicer but it also highlights the new year mood even more to me.

I remember you hopping with your painful right leg last year, getting all excited with CNY. You were on the new trial drug Avastin and it gave you a terrible headache but you never let any of those affect your resolve to have fun and celebrate CNY with everyone. You were so strong, so amazing. When we rolled out our carpet for CNY, I remember vividly how you rolled your body around it... Simply having fun. The carpet is yet to be rolled out today... And I don't know what kind of effect it will have on me.

I am doing such a lousy job baby. How were you able to be so strong despite all the pain and discomfort that your body is suffering from? How on earth do you even manage to laugh and smile through all the pain and headaches? How can a 5 year old little girl be as amazing as you are?

And all that I can freaking do daily is to CRY. When I have no headache, no leg pain, no vomiting, no nausea. But I only can cry. This is starkly different from the Cyn mommy everyone thought of me as.

I am trying though. If given a choice, I would have preferred to be hiding somewhere, away from all these celebrations. But Jase loves CNY the way that you love. The way that mommy used to love. He is happy and he is enjoying himself.

Jase is my everything now. I am hanging in there for him. I am going to go through all the motions because he loves CNY and he doesn't deserve to be deprived of anything anymore.

Maybe next year, I will do a better job. Maybe next year, I will learn to enjoy CNY once more. Learn to truly make every moment in my life count. Learn to face life bravely no matter what it has thrown into my path. Just like you.

I have to remember how you never allowed any of life's unfairness affect you in any way. You never did, my amazing little princess.

I love you princess. I love you so much but you love me more. Because you left me so many gifts through your own sufferings.
I promise I will live everyday of my life honoring you. And I will never stop trying... Until I am able to face life bravely, just like you.

See you later princess!

Love you!!!

Cyn mommy

Returned to KKH for the first time since you left us...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

11th January 2012 Facebook Status
Just arrived @ KK hospital. First time since I lost you, Char. The shops have
changed in the few months we are gone... and it's tougher than I had
expected! Freaking crying like mad again...

Hello everyone,

I hope each and everyone of you is doing well, feeling happy and appreciating life. Its been awhile. In fact, its been a long time since I actually updated the blog proper. The last 2 entries were all merely copied and pasted from my facebook updates...

Somehow or rather, I just cant seem to bring myself to take out my laptop, look at the screen, think through my thoughts and face them all so clearly in black and white letters. I know very clearly that I will cry at every post I write. There's no escaping it at all. I've been crying at almost entry I type even when I had Charmaine by my side. I am such a big cry baby. There's no denying it as well. Every post was written in tears but even so, the tears shed then don't compare to the tears shed now.

PAIN is a simple 5 letter word. Under wikipedia, pain is defined as
~~~Pain, an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.
~~~Suffering, an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm.
Almost 8 years ago, I have gone through physical pain of having labour contraction for 3 days with no pain relief. And yet, that was nothing compared to the pain and helplessness I felt that subsequent 1 year later when my ex husband suddenly demanded a divorce. And once again, I experienced another bout of contraction pain without pain relief, coupled with the emotional pain of losing my husband, my children's father and a complete sense of loss. The pain was immeasurable then.
3 years ago, my youngest child, my little princess, who hasn't even turned 3 was diagnosed with cancer, a rare and deadly form of cancer. I almost disintegrated. The pain was beyond anything I've ever experienced. I remember myself crying and crying and crying non stop... for days... and weeks... I honestly thought after all that Ive gone through, my heart, my mind and my body would be numb or hardened to such an extent that emotions couldn't have caused much of an effort. How wrong could I get.
However, I was ignorant. I thought that would have been the worst day of my life. I had no idea how wrong could I get. Once again.
The 3 years journey has continually brought on more and more pain into our lives... Unimaginable, senseless, cruel pain of watching my very own child suffer, deteriorate and simply disintegrate right before my very eyes... Gone... gone from my arms forever...
The human heart confound me completely.
How is it possible that my heart can continually feel so much pain? Even after experiencing so much sorrow and misery, my jaded heart can still surprise me with each new bout of pain it brings on. Its somewhat appalling. Not only can my heart feel the pain brought on by each new fear, or loss I experience, it could even differentiate each new sense of pain from the previous.
If there is a god, have mercy on my heart and my soul. I am very afraid. Right now, I do feel like I have reached the epitome of the Mount Everest of "PAIN". However, I am careful not to buy into that theory. WHY? "WHAT ON EARTH COULD BE MORE PAINFUL THAN LOSING YOUR OWN CHILD?" one might ask. A snigger. One can never know. Time and again, I have been thrown into the pits of suffering to experience yet another pain more painful than my pain. And time and again, my heart is ripped. My heart can distinguish each pain so clearly and correctly. My heart breaks and crushes into more and more minute pieces every single time. Its a miracle that my heart is still pumping blood.

I will not be afraid to admit that I am still crying daily. Some days, I do better; maybe once or twice. Other days, I fail miserably and the tears simply don't stop. The pain that cuts through my heart on a daily basis is so unbearable that I wish no one will ever have to experience it. The pain that I experienced for the first 30 years of my life doesnt even add up to half of what I am going through now. And thats considering I am pretty seasoned for a pain participant. :-)
The pain certainly didnt get better with time either. To say that it continues to get worse seems to be very unmotivating, coming from cyn mommy especially. But hey, please cut me some slack. I have reiterated time and again, I am not strong and truly, I am not.
This is not to say that my life now is void of laughters and happiness. I can still smile and pose sweetly for the camera. Jase and I are living quite an active and fulfiling life. How can we not right? How can we not honour our precious princess and face life bravely like she always has, up to her very last breath. The only thing that I need to work extremely hard on is my crying. Jase is doing much better than his mommy. He hasnt been crying since December and he is able to talk of Char Char positively and happily without a single tear. Yup, he is the strong one, like his little sister. I am the biggest kid in our family, the only one who needs to grow up, instead of my 2 adorable babies. :-)
As usual, I am unable to bring myself to complete this entry as I am crying a river now... Was just trying to look through pictures and put some pictures of Jase and me, saw Char's face and I am a goner... Pardon me...
I will write again...
I miss you princess. I love you princess.
Cyn mommy

Jase First Day

Jase called me immediately after school today.
"Mom, good news!"

I replied: "Great, but what's the good news?"

He went on to scream "I finally got my wish!!!"

I went on "And whats that my dear?"

He yelled: "I'm in the red group! Same as Fion!!!"

I laughed so hard. "Oh, the girlfriend."

Repeated the same story to my friend who said "At least he didn't say it's Eric!"

That certainly put things to perspective. Lol. Indeed, there are worse things than my son being 'in love with a girl'!

Yeah! Being in the same group as his girl made my son's day.

Char char, are you smiling like momma too? I love you!!!

2012 would have been the start of your Primary 1 schooling...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I was walking home today and suddenly tears rolled down my cheeks. I started crying.
The images of YOU and Kor Kor holding hands and walking in front of me flashed. My loss and the grieve overwhelmed and consumed me totally at that moment. Momma is still laying on bed, crying, yearning and pinning for you.

Yesterday would have been your first day in school for Primary 1. I can't stop thinking about you... I still can't bring myself to go near your stuff and pack them... I still haven't had the courage to look at your pictures or videos... Its finally 2012... Beginning of the years where I will never share a memory with you... I don't even have someone who can understand what I am going through... 

You have always been so looking forward to attending school with Jase, make new friends... Study well... Yesterday was that day but you weren't there... I sent your brother to school alone... He shouldnt have been alone... You never got a chance at living your simplest wish...

I love you. I love you. I love you.

I miss you. I miss you. I miss you.

Come visit momma tonight please... I need you.

Even if it means waking up to more sadness and tears...

Even if it only lasts for a fleeting moment...

Baby, why do I have to lose you?
Feisty Princess Charmaine. Design by Pocket