26 March 2011

20 years

In the wink of an eye,
it is 20 years.

All dried up now,
the heartfelt tears.

Calmed and forgotten,
those awful fears.

I am grateful to a
God who hears.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Death is the only adventure 
that no one can talk about.

Wherever you are, Doug, I hope 
that you are proud of me.

21 March 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

I want to share some of the birthday greetings sent to me on Facebook and also to keep them here as a remembrance.

From Hani Ibrahim
hope u enjoy the song. Happy birthday, Lita!

From Mel
Hello hello Aunty Lita! :D Happy birthday! May roses bloom wherever you roam! ♥

From Rhett
Feliz cumpleaños a tí Little star .... have a great birthday!! [hope I got that right...:)]

From Sun Line
Goodmorning Facebookers! It's my buddy Estrelita Soliano Grosse's birthday and let's hope it, hallulujah, rains men for her today~ :-)

From Roselyn

What a wonderful day filled with love and wishes from so many.  Wish I could them all here but there were just too many. *big smile*

Thank you for all the love everyone.  Thank you so much.

20 March 2011

One liner :)

People who live in glass houses 
                               shouldn't throw stones.

15 March 2011

Of Japan and my thoughts

I've never been to Japan.  

On my list of places to visit, not that I love travelling, is Japan but it is not in the top 5 countries I would like to visit.  However, since last Friday, I've been addicted to Japan via the TV following the tragic situation in which she finds herself, especially after the earthquake, tsunami and now the threat of nuclear meltdown.

I've been following news feeds, tweets and also all the comments that appear on Facebook, apart from the usual TV fare.

The news is ongoing even as I write this.  

Today I read about how the Japanese people are facing their situation.  I hear that people queue up for food, there is no mad scramble or pushing and shoving.  They buy only what they need, knowing that others want to feed their family too.  Strangers help one another.  People reach out in any and every way possible. There are so many more stories but these already tell me so much about the Japanese people.

Here is the link if you want to refresh your faith in humanity.

I used to have a low opinion of them because of WWII horror stories I had heard while growing up.  Now I am glad that I see the other side of these people.

It is heartening and heartwarming to read about their courage and fortitude in such heartwrenching and heartbreaking times.

I humbly bow in great respect to the people of Japan.

(pics from photobucket)

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.

02 March 2011

Part 2 - He would have been 21.

In July last year, I was reminiscing about Eric in a blog post. Antares asked me to say more either here or in a private mail. Since I planned to meet up with him at Magickriver, I put off thoughts of writing since I would tell him, my story, in person. However, that hasn’t materialized. Much as we’d talked and planned, Stephen and I just haven’t gotten round to going there.

Perhaps it is best I write about it here. What I share may be useful information for someone out there in the cyber world. I hope so. If not, maybe I’ll find my closure by doing this. I hope so again.

In any case, most people don't know this real story.  So here goes!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This was my journey.

When I was expecting Eric, it was the easiest 9 months for me.

Before Jared, I had a miscarriage.  

With Jared, I was bedridden for 2 months. I needed help to strengthen my womb. He was born with the umbilical cord twisted four times around his neck. His dad was away and I embraced motherhood alone.

With Eric, I was energetic, active and ready for his arrival. His dad watched him being born and there were no complications.

Eric was a cute boy with curly light brown hair. In contrast, is Jared with his jet black straight hair. (curly and black from me; straight and light brown from the father).

Eric was so easy to look after. He slept through the night and went from milk to cereal to solid food, without any fuss.

January 1991
Dr Foo Ong Pin is the clever and dedicated paediatrician who discovered that there was an abnormality in Eric’s heartbeat. He detected a murmur and recommended a thorough medical examination at Subang Jaya Medical Centre.

February 1991
Dr Foo arranged for an ECG and chest X-ray and the results showed that Eric had an enlarged heart most likely the result of a hole. Dr Foo helped by giving us an introductory letter so that we could go to the University Hospital.

March 1991
I became a widow. I am alone now. 

It became the biggest challenge for me to overcome my grief and I struggled to remain focused on Eric. A day didn’t pass when I wasn’t brainstorming my situation. Faith healing. Prayers. Hope. Hoping against hope.

April 1991
In the University Hospital, I met with a Doctor (can’t remember the name) and further tests were done. Another X-ray, ECG and Echogram, all of which confirmed his heart problem and he was put on medication. However, the doctor told me that Eric was still very young and that I could wait until he reached the targeted weight of 10 kgs.

June 1991
Follow-up visits with another doctor (it’s always a different doctor) indicated that Eric would require an operation. It couldn’t be done immediately and Eric was put on a long waiting list for surgery. He was number two hundred something, I remember.

Early 1992
Eric has the flu and I visit Dr Foo again. Dr Foo is very concerned about Eric’s health and suggests I get a second opinion at the Subang Medical Centre. He sends me to see Dr Anuar Masduki, Consultant Cardiologist and eventually I meet the famous Dr Rozali Watooth, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon. I remember both of them as being very kind and gentle people. They were extremely caring and it was easy to depend on and trust them with the life of my child. Although I was told earlier that Eric’s operation could wait, Dr Watooth told me that Eric needed immediate surgery. It couldn’t wait. I am so confused now. Two contrasting opinions.

March 1992
I sought a third opinion. I met with Dr Saw Huat Seong, the Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Dr Saw confirmed my worst suspicion that Eric was in need of an immediate operation. The words “only reasonable step” and “even suboptimal final results” jump at me. I understand what it means.

April 1992
I am unsure of what to do next.  Twice, I brought Eric for faith healing. People prayed over him. I even spoke to the parish priest of SFX, Fr Jojo Fung. Finally, I decide on the operation.

May 1992
Dr Watooth schedules an appointment for Eric on 14 May 1992. Eric has a cold and the operation is postponed. Dr Watooth told me that his schedule was full but if he had any opening, he would call me. A couple of days later, he called but Eric still had a cough and cold. Apparently, you can’t have heart surgery if you have the common cold! Disappointment is such an awful feeling.

In the end, the gravity of the situation and Dr. Watooth’s advice finally forced me to look outside Malaysia.

Between Australia and Singapore, I chose the closer.

21 May 1992
There is no time to think. We reach Singapore and check in to Gleneagles Hospital.

23 May 1992
His operation is scheduled and a surprise visit from my in-laws touches my heart. They flew in to be with me. I am so grateful but I am in a daze from not enough sleep and the beginnings of the flu.

I spend one night sleeping, on the chairs, in the waiting room of the hospital.  Cold and alone but thankful that he survived the operation.

The next night I stayed with my cousins, James and Rosalind.  After that, I'm back at the hospital.  I don't remember if I thanked them for their kindness or not but I am always grateful for their help that day.  

Early in the morning, my Uncle Maurice checked in on me and asked how I was going to Gleneagles.  I don't really know so I told him I would catch a cab.  He tells me how to take the bus.  It sounds complicated.  In the end, he takes me to the bus stop.  I expect him to show me which bus but he boards the bus and sits with me all the way to Gleneagles.  He leaves me at the entrance.  I know he would cross the road to take the bus back.  All these random acts of kindness are my precious memories.  When I feel down, I think of them and they keep me going.

In the end, there are no regrets at all and my conscience is clear that Eric had the best surgeon in Dr Saw Huat Seong.  I got S$19,000 for the RM30,000 that I changed. It cost me much more than that. Don’t worry; all debts were paid with help from family and many friends.

The operation was a success. Great job, Gleneagles!!!! Standing ovation for the team of doctors and nurses.

31 May 1992
Eric is discharged from the hospital. It is such a great relief. A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

We return home.




24 June 1992
Started my new job and feeling settled. I didn't know that soon, I was going to have the rug pulled out from under my feet.

To be continued …

01 March 2011

He would have been 21.

I’ve always felt that if you give me any general topic, I’d be able to talk non-stop for half an hour or write about 500 words about it without much difficulty. 

However, the one topic that I have always avoided is about my second son, Eric. 

Often I feel guilty that I am thinking less and less of him. I know that it is a good sign of finally reaching the last stage of the grieving process. Yet, I feel unwilling to let it go completely. 

When people ask me how many children I have, I always hesitate to answer because, in truth, I have had two children.

To say that I only have one child seems like I have erased all traces of Eric’s short life on earth. Not to acknowledge his existence doesn’t seem fair. 

To say that I had two children brings the next inevitable question of how old they are and then I have to say that one died. It then seems like I am looking for pity. 

It’s a tough call and I wonder how others deal with this. Do they have the same dilemma? Or is it only me? 

Today he would have been 21. 

(To be continued…)

From a special girl  Click to read