Staying Alive

3 times more likely to die from a car accident, 4 times likely to commit suicide and 10 times likely to suffer a stroke - the American Association of Retired Persons predicted for recent widowers in 1988. Of the 52% remarriages within 18 months more than half failed. That's a challenge.

"Affirming, remembering and expecting are the components for fully accepting the realities of life"  - Henri Nouwen, Creative Ministry (1971)

Feb 29 2016: I have to continue this blog because of the struggle to continue. How do you continue when the soulmate hope of your life is gone? Every day I have to relive my life again without her. Trivial it may seem but when the most cherished hopes of your life are gone it becomes a struggle to go on living. To merely exist is easy but what meaning is there to wither on until you meet her again in death? So I want to record how to excite myself, every day (and every moment) in the fragment of life that's still ahead. I've borrowed the following thoughts to do this: Affirming, Remembering and Expecting.

Mar 3 2016: To affirm the present that the spouse we marry will not grow old with us and accept that henceforth, we must live on alone even, is the basis to life. But the wonderful memories of the past, the joy of marriage, companionship and consort, these cannot be erased, even if her death has reduced one to an emotional derelict.

Mar 4 2016: Someone I met reminded me the old adage that when God slams a door He opens another. That's expecting. However what walks thru the door might be a surprise.

Mar 6 2016: To be content in the present state or statelessness is affirmative. Even to be grateful for the 30 so years before her death is Affirming.  Then to believe that the present state of what we are now being the best situation leads to thankfulness. Above all to actually enjoy the situation we are in now to meet our daily, dire needs. That is "great gain".

Mar 8 2016: The sadness of death keeps returning, so much that I have to remind myself that we must complete the rest of life, no matter what. Resisting the destructive despairing depression of frailness. That's because the other half is gone and you feel one leg is in the grave. Must stop dwelling on death and it's imminent event. All her life she'd been positive, and I must learn from hence.

Mar 15 2016: Just been reminded everyone has a right to die, just as I've a right to live. Cannot stay angry that she left before me. She had her life and now I have mine, is that so profound?

Mar 18 2016: A strange thought - thru the marriage years you're bound to fidelity and faithfulness, accused of roving eyes and possible misdemeanors . Then all of a sudden you're free and set adrift, not belonging or betrothed to anybody, nor spoken for. Now old and alone, we may have to accept solitude. Where is the energy to start all over again?  And then you may have to face separation for a second time.

"Never run from adversity" - Keiichi Matsuura,  renown clocksmith

Mar 22 2016: Sometimes I felt wicked - that I'm still alive but not her, whose altruism exceeds me. Even having a delicious meal brings me guilt  - she's the gourmet queen who enjoys seeing others enjoy food she bought. Why are humans so complicated? The dogs just behave like nothing happened when the papa or sister dog died.

"Its the people not the place, stupid", I told myself to dismiss leaving Singapore and start all over as an emigrant elsewhere. Its that bad. But the house is only a stone's throw from where she grew up. I could even imagine her in her MGS uniform walking down the street in my rear view mirror, heading for netball practice.

Mar 27 2016: "If you can still eat, sleep and shit then life can't be all that bad" - old Hokkien platitude.

Apr 2 2016: Absent mindlessly I will suddenly stop what I am doing and think, "when is Miranda coming back? or when is she going to be around?"

Apr 3 2016: As I snapped out of it I came to an important conclusion in this blog for the widowed: a husband who had been so dependent on his wife while she was around now must rebuild his personality of independence, and inter alia for women. Becoming independent is daunting, because there're no second guesses for important decisions. Mistakes can be so discouraging.

"Every truth, law and belief crumble under the relentless pressure of Death" from a widower's blog
"So short a life, so many people to meet, know or love - and so little chances" - Japanese folk song

Apr 7 2016: "What greater punishment is there than life, when you've lost everything that made it worth living" - William Shakespeare,  Romeo and Juliet

Apr 10 2016: The lease on a marriage ran out after 33 years with no option to renew. Death is the termination and the reality will hit home for every union only at the end. And here's another thing - answering phone calls meant for her is such a nefarious thing, as receiving mails with the word "deceased" after her name.

Apr 14 2016: She's been gone 6 months. I'm still pathological deprived. Things aren't going to be the same again. Crying can be therapeutic.

Apr 15 2016: Was Miranda afraid of death? Probably, but who isn't.  2 weeks before her stroke we had to bring her favorite Pi to the vet for amoeba poisoning. I didn't realize she didn't follow me in, because as she said later she couldn't bear to hear the groans of a dying dog. Rewind back 34 years. When asked whether she'll rather go in an air crash or the painful throes of a debilitating illness, her confident reply was "Maybe the Lord would return before then! "
I was just thinking - through our lives all of us weave a myriad thread of experiences with family, friends and associates but at death should all these memories vanish without a closure? Shouldn't there be a resolution of our lives activities somehow?

Apr 21 2016: Anger - for being left alone to pick up the pieces, facing what's left of life, for spending last 20 years soaked up in her work ignoring me and promoted to death. Whether justified or not one thing is certain - one has to defy the downside odds of living alone. Someone who once walked this earth could turn sorrow into joy. Wouldn't it be great to see it happening today!

Apr 22 2016: "Dear M,   I'm so grateful you let me share the last 30 years of your life. You were so different, having all the qualities and outlook to life that I could only dream about when I was growing up. Then after we got together I found that you actually complement very well with everyone else who crossed your path. I was thrilled to look forward to a lifetime of learning when we would grow old together. But God seems to have other plans. We would have so much to talk about if our paths diverge. But again God let your lips fall silent. His wisdom deem things be better left unsaid. And here I plod on hoping that His eye be on me. Unseen, let your spirit, being with Jesus guide me henceforth on all things, spoken and unspoken."

Apr 27 2016: Instead of wishing to die with her, what about praying for something thrilling to do for whatever is left of life?
If I'd known she's a limited edition I'd have bought all her copies! If I do not see it with levity the suicidal thoughts keep invading.

May 2 2016: So bereavement is continual sadness without an end? Then how do you rejoice always (I Thess 5), be joyful in hope, patient in affliction  (Rom 12:12) and be glad (Ps 118:24). There must be relief somewhere!

May 5 2016: Almost 2 decades ago I was spared a drowning incident while she watched from the shore. How ironical! I could have enjoyed 20 years of her fully!

May 9 2016: Depressive thoughts of death so much more real and impending. I remember how her father referred casually to his own demise to occur before her mother. Death of a spouse can be like a death sentence. But memories of everything we did together, through the formative years of our friendship, the career and family years and everything in between (except the hours in her office) keeps her alive in my mind.

May 15 2016: This was what I feared - that I will start to put Miranda out of my mind as if I never knew her. It is a sad but defensive reaction to cope with the loss. May be the only way forward for me. The relentless sadness and loneliness threaten to shutdown life.

May 17 2016: The love of God, if only we can grasp it fully, belittle our inadequacies, deprivation, sadness and whatever wretchedness from the ignominy of separation. Romans 8:38-9
"If God is not real then we have absolutely no hope"

May 24 2016: Such a waste. A life devoted to doing her best, giving away what she can afford and living simply and unostentatiously - gone in a short 64 years. She did not regain consciousness from her stroke at 64. Had a dream. Of meeting her again and as I placed my arm around her she was her usual docile self. Those were the days. Life since then was generally quite happy - until God took away the sun.

Jun 7 2016: Decoupling - how do you go it alone at old age? For most of us, feelings of vulnerability lead to a closed life, often with excuse of keeping our privacy. But life degrades and spiral meaninglessly when we lose contact with the world or society at large. Isolation fossilize.

Jun 21 2016: So you pledged to help each other in sickness and in health. Then she's gone and an ailment hits you, like being unable to walk from old age. Alone now what then?

Jul 12 2016: Death does end everything. Physical and mental - I was so used to her mental presence. All neural synapses gone under the fire. But the spiritual? Is her spirit now present and how can the living live with the spirit of the departed? Profound stuff where humans have little knowledge. We can pray to the Spirit of God because He did not die like us. But we don't pray to our loved ones, no matter how much we want to talk.

Aug 22 2016
She gave more than she received (1948-2015)
Aug 25 2016: Today would have been your 68th ! How I wish !

Sep 24 2016:                        ONLY GOD
Only God knows how the pathways of Life and Death meet
Only God opens up future vistas of hope and joy
Only God secures your safety life's numerous ills and disasters
Only God watches your ways, a guide to comfort and peace
Only God can see for you paths to take or fork amidst the unknowns and darkness

If only men and women would pause from godless ways
Of reckless freedom of pleasures and thrills unbridled
And turn to the Only God who will channel their energies
To something pure, wonderful out of this world
His World of eternal perfection and serenity.

And when you and your world wear out someday what remains?
Only God.

(Collected words - YKT)

Oct 5 2016: A pair of birds flew across a highway when one, the female got too low and was hit by a truck. As she lay dying on the roadside her mate could only cry and stay around to get her to recover. When she started to fade away, he did what he could only do - fly away and return with some grub hoping it would revive her as aways. These days I understand how that bird struggled against the inevitable passing of his mate. The 4 years of coma we humans could only do so much, the poor bird tried his best...God must have sobbed for the bird - He said He would care for them. (Matt 6:26)

Oct 22 2016: "We were so close, once, it's been so long ago. Maybe, somehow, we'll meet again. Yes we'll meet again...we will. Even if you are not with me now, God sees us."  - from Spirited away (adapted)

Nov 2 2016: Watching Miranda I realized how she energized herself to live fully. Every new day she latched herself to new events with gusto - not with feverish alacrity but in measured response to what needs to be done. Perhaps that's the secret to staying alive in the evenings of our lives.

"Design is in everything life throws at you" - Masaaki Hiromura, Graphic Designer

Oh and another thing: in her lighter moments I remember she was quick to encourage, by saying "Pass" light-heartedly.  It was easy to get a pass but tough to get an "A".

<End of page> next page "A Tattered Life"

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