03 March 2011

Part 3 - He would have been 21.

Memoirs of two days… 

Life is getting back to routine. Work is interesting. The boss is nice. Colleagues are supportive and great. I'm 33 years old.  I'm alive.  I'm grateful for all that I have.

The rollercoaster ride is almost over, I think. I’m going to join the millions of people who grumble about boredom. It’s a nice feeling. 

16 July 1992 
I get home from work; pick up the kids who are two doors away at the babysitter. We settle down and Robocops is keeping the boys distracted while I fold the clothes. I’m eating a cheesecake, I remember. Jared is not interested. Eric is. He comes over to take a small bite and then he goes to sit on the chair across from me. 

When I next look at him, he’s lying down and I tell Jared to move near him so he won’t fall off the chair. Eric doesn’t move when I call his name. I reach for him and he is lifeless.  He’s not responding to me.  He’s wet his pants. 

I yell to Jared to go to the neighbours. He doesn’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what’s going on either. I just know that I have to get to the hospital. 

Jared looks for his slippers and I tell him not to bother. “Just go”, I say. Tell Aunty Suan that I’ll call her later. I really didn’t know what I was going to do. It was only seconds but I remember that Ellen of Claire Florist came at that precise moment to deliver some flowers.  I just carried Eric to the van and told her that I needed to go to the hospital. Ellen reacted immediately. We didn’t speak at all. I was shivering. It took about 10 or 12 minutes to get there. I held my limp child in my arms and told God not to take him. 

At the hospital, they took him from me while I quickly said everything that I thought they needed to know. Heart surgery. Singapore. Six weeks. VSD. Collapsed. Not breathing. Help him. Help me. 

While they worked on him, I sat with Ellen and finally she had to leave. The doctor came and said that I should call the father. 

There was no father. I was alone. My heart was pounding. I had come so far, this couldn’t end this way. No, it shouldn’t end this way. I am optimistic. A doctor comes to ask me for more details and he says that they will have to put an external pacemaker and I nod my head. He hesitates before he tells me that Eric stopped breathing for a bit. I look at him and he continues with the prognosis that there would be brain damage. The extent would not be known until Eric was stable. I nod my head again. 

People start coming and I’m in a daze. I smile and talk but inside I just want to scream aloud. I am so tired. I am really tired. This is the straw, they talk about, that broke the camel’s back. 

The doctor tells me that I should go home, have some food and come back later. Eric is breathing but his heart rate is very slow. The pacemaker should regulate it. 

It's almost midnight.  Eric is in the I.C.U. I am sitting outside with a friend. My mind is a blank. I am tired. I am worried. I am frightened. I am really scared. 

As the hours go by, I begin to think of contingency plans. For now, I can still work. The babysitter will manage. Jared will manage. I will manage. I know I will. 

My mind is racing and as my heart stops pounding, I begin to wonder who will manage when we are gone. He’s the youngest of us. In that moment, I pray that we wouldn’t need to reach that stage. 

17 July 1992 
In the quiet of the early morning, I hear the elevator door open. I see the doctor. He avoids looking at me. He goes into the ICU. I stand outside. Watching through the glass. Anxious. Willing the nurse to notice me. I see a lot of movement. Nurses running. I want to barge in but I remain rooted outside the door. Then the doctor walks slowly towards me. He doesn't look up untill he reaches me.  He says they did all they could to keep him alive. He says that he’s so sorry. I don’t know what to say. 

I’ve just been told that my son is dead. I cannot comprehend it yet. I think of the flowers that I need to bring to the office. I call my boss to tell him that I won’t be going in to work until I don’t know when. I can’t remember much after that. I just blanked out the pain and some of the memories of that morning. 

When I lost my father, it hurt so bad. 

When I lost my husband, it hurt even worse. 

And when I lost my child, it hurt the worst of all.


johnny ong said...

Sis Lita, reading your blog bring tears to my eyes. Being a single parent myself I can feel your pain & loss. May God watch over you always:)
johnny ong

Jared said...

Without a mother like you. I would not have survived but I was brought up single handedly by you. God wouldn't have taken two without knowing what it would do to you. Thankful and blessed I am to have such a mother like you. Managed we have, manage we did. God loves you and I do too. :) <3

juliana said...

i wish i could be like u...but u have inspired me alot lately ur strong n d nicest person n aunty dat i've ever known u mean alot 2 me besides my parents,husband n children..ur like my mom n i hope dat i could a devoted mother just like u....

SDS said...

Gosh! Am at work and I have tears!! Love you lots!!

Shakun said...

Oops..the SDS comment was from me! - shakun-

Antares said...

You named him Eric and for you he became Eric. When I read your moving account of his untimely demise, I had a strong sense that "Eric" entered your womb to integrate with your energy field and to spend a few sweet years with you as your second son. Eric is now a permanent part of your innermost being - and the master soul that he actually is, is constantly in energetic contact with you, and looking out for you. On his 21st earthly birthday, Eric prompted you to tell his story, so you can put closure to this old memory of loss and pain, while keeping alive the memory of all the love and joy you shared - and always will. Blessings on you and all your lineage, Lita.

Stephen Felix Grosse (stephengrosse@gmail.com) said...

It's a definite yes, that Eric is in heaven. He is running around the gardens of heaven and telling all the angels and Jesus and pointing out to you on Earth and saying, heh, see that wonderful lady, she is my MOTHER. And he turns to Jesus, and Jesus is nodding his head in agreement saying...Yes Eric, she is a wonderful mother. Amen.

Mel & Sham said...

Thank for you sharing so generously, Lita.

You are strong and compassionate and an inspiration.

God bless you and yours always.

STEEST said...

Dear Johnny

I see that many people were touched by my sharing. I am astounded by this because I hadn't expected it.

I cried each time I read a comment here, a text message, a "like" or comment on FB.

Thank you for your kind thoughts.


STEEST said...

Dear Jared

You were the wind beneath my wings.



Love you very much.

STEEST said...

Dear Juliana

I am sure you are the best mother to your children.

Thank you for such kind words to me. You made me feel so much better.

Love you. :)

STEEST said...

Dear Shakun

You too! :-)

I forgot to link your blog post.

I might add it still.

Love you. :0

STEEST said...

Dear Antares

I think it was you who planted this seed in my head. It grew over the last months and suddenly I realised that Eric would be 21. It is a memorable age to be. Hence, there could be a grain of truth about the prompting.

Thank you. Doesn't seem sufficient but "THANK YOU".

Love and hugs too.

STEEST said...


You found the secret formula to my heart a long time ago. You continue to surprise me with all you say and do.

More than all that, I love how you understand my fixation on Eric.

Thank you, my love.

STEEST said...


You feel for me as only a mother can.

I can see you are already on the superhighway to being a super duper mom.

Thanks for popping over.

Hugs for you, dear.

Farida Ibrahim said...

My sister, my friend.

It hurts to know what you have gone through! Loss after loss of loved ones. Bearing so much pain alone.

You truly are an inspiration to all of us,Lita.

It is an honour to know you.

May your days, week and years from now on be filled with the peace of knowing you overcame the greatest of adversities.

I have no doubt you will see Eric again.

I love you.


STEEST said...

Fari my dear,

I am overwhelmed by all the attention.

I wanted to write before I forget the details and I am glad I did. Many people did not know and, more importantly, Jared knows now what happened then.

I am humbled by all the loving words and I feel a little awkward because this took place so long ago.

As I said to you earlier, working on the blog gave me an outlet. It helped me to see all those things in the past, in the context of today.

I love you and I thank you for your comforting words which I want to share here.

"We're loving with more strength, able to bear more".

sparkles said...

Hi Lita-light!

Carry on ...for a loss is a continuation of LOVE.

It is so nice to be in love.

It was nice seeing you the last time..you always look so beautiful.

And your Mum is a cutie pie....you've got her freshness ..call it tenacity? cheers!!!!!!!!!

STEEST said...


I love your nickname! It fits you perfectly!

Thank you, dearest one! For your compliment, comment and most of all your friendship.

See you soon. :)

aida said...

oh lita..u made me cry with this post..and then i have to start thinking of the other angel..the one i saw on the scan with 10 little fingers and 10 little toes but didn't come out alive like her sister.they said she was too 'little' to survive.sigh.
lots of hugs babe..i totally understand yr loss.

STEEST said...


Sorry lah.

I didn't realise I still had tears too. I thought I had already used up my quota.

I'm thinking of you right this minute and I can see Mia's face in my mind's eye.

Thank you for your sharing. I am so glad to know you, even if it's only in the virtual world.

Jarod said...

I am Speechless. Just wanna give you a BIG HUG. Till we see again & I will give you a HARD HUG.

Peace be with you.


STEEST said...

Hi Jarod

Thanks for coming by. Peace be with you too, :)