When you are not ready to say goodbye…

Last night, when I was having a quiet dinner with my family, my father in law sent me a text message saying that he almost got involved in a car accident that could have taken his life away. He was on his way to Genting Highlands and the car he ride almost fell off the slope or something-or so I heard. I was shocked and could have sworn that my heart skipped a beat. I felt sick to my stomach. I thought to myself that if the car that my father in law was in really did fell off the slope and he did die, what was I to do? If he really did die in a car accident or something, I would really be at loss. I called him immediately after receiving the message, and was completely relieved that he managed to cheat death and unharmed.

My father in law may be not my biological father, but I am quite fond of him. My feelings for him is no less than my own father. A kind of feeling that I don’t even have for my mother in law or anyone else in the family. Among all of my in laws, he’s probably the only one I could talk to and relate to with ease. I learn a lot through him, and though he made many mistakes that many people would condemn him to hell in the past, he showed me the real meaning of unconditional love and taught me to cherish family members. I learn a lot of valuable lessons from him.

I was definitely not a good candidate as one of his daughter in laws, but he accepted me as who I am, and even treated me like his own daughter, and for that, I am forever indebted to him. He may have not liked me before and even gave a huge protest when I just started to date my other half, but once he come to accept me into the HUGE family, he did his part as a father and protected me from the others who are hypocrite, big mouthed and have their own agenda. The family (in laws) is just like a huge clan. In fact, historically, THEY ARE A CLAN.

The story of the family’s ancestors are actually inside the history books, and students in China still learn about the family’s ancestors to this very day. It’s a huge, huge family. There are many extended family members, and when you are in this sort of family, there bound to be politics, badmouthing, backstabbing and whatnot. Unconditional love is hard to come by, and family members gossip about each other and sabotage one another without even feeling guilty.

They had no genuine feelings for one another as they have nothing in common besides same bloodline and ancestors. My father in law did his best to protect me from all these people, and if I were to loose him to death, I’ll probably be one of those people who cry her head off for days, mourning for him. I probably be crying far worst than his sons or daughter. Loosing him would be a great loss to me, as I would be loosing not just a father in law, but a father. Each time I heard about death in the family, I would secretly thank heavens for not taking him away yet, because I am definitely not ready to say goodbye to him. Just like I am not ready to say goodbye to my father, my grandfather and my husband. I think I would never be able to say goodbye to them. All of these men have a special place in my heart. Saying goodbye would be the hardest thing to do.

Death has always been quite a trauma for the old man, considering that he had a major surgery where he removed his kidney and just lost his younger brother last year. After his brother’s sudden demise, he kept thinking about death, much to my chagrin. It displease me that he have a rather negative outlook on life.I truly hoped that he could live long and make the rest of his life the best of his life instead of planning for his funeral and stuff. I chastise him quite often when he talked about leaving the world. Many people would have want him dead, for he’s quite a rich man with many properties to pass down, but I would give up anything so that he could stay alive til at least all his grandchildren are married and have family of their own. Even then, accepting his death would be hard.

And speaking of his younger brother…or should I say, my late uncle in law. His death was quite sudden, and his family members were definitely not ready to say goodbye to him. His widow is still in grief until this very day, and I assume that they shared a very strong bond as husband and wife.

People assumed that she managed to move on, but each time I look at her, her eyes seems void of something. Something is not right. She seems to be still missing her late husband, even after her children seems to move on in their life. I could not imagine what hell she have been through. She had to pretend to be strong in front of the family and for her children’s sake. I caught her reading motivational books on how to deal with loss and death of family members and spouse. If I am not mistaken, one of her books were entitled ‘Saying goodbye when you are not ready’. I am not sure what is the content of her books, but it seems that she is not dealing with her husband’s death properly or as the book dictate, as no books would advice people to make abrupt changes in life just after their spouse’s death.

I was extremely shocked to find out that within months of her husband’s death, she moved into a new place that is completely foreign to her after being persuaded by nosy family members whom I assumed have their own agenda in asking her to move into a new place that she’s not even familiar with. If one is sincere enough to help her deal with the demise of her husband, they would not encourage her to make abrupt changes in her life just after her spouse’s death. Psychologically, it would be a big blow! A double blow, in fact.

I think it is not good to make abrupt changes in life after your spouse death-like moving into a new house, quit your job, sell off your properties etc. You would really feel the loss if you truly love your spouse if you force yourself to start a new life when you’re still not ready to accept that your spouse is already gone. Frankly speaking, I think one could accept and deal with death better if they resume their life as usual and try to slowly get used to not having that person around. Would that not be more natural and less painful?

If I am one of the elders, I would have chastise the person who persuade her to move into a new place just so that she could leave the memories of her husband behind and forget him. It is impossible to forget your spouse just after you loose him or her to Death if you truly love them, because they would forever be in your memory. People do not say ‘ In loving memories’ for nothing. People who passed on are alive as long as you remember them.

I just don’t understand why people wants to interfere with other people’s memory of their spouse? It is a cruel and unfair thing to do, because there are ways to continue loving someone, even after death. To deal with death does not necessarily put the past behind and forget everything about the person who left you behind, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s not my place to give advice to people on how to deal with death, but if one is not ready to say goodbye yet, then don’t say goodbye, and don’t start a completely new life until you are truly ready to do so. Just continue your life as usual so that the pain and anguish will not be as great.

What I have jotted down are just my thoughts…feel free to share with me your experience if you have lost someone dear to you and how you dealt with it. I am sure I have much to learn from your experience, and many will benefit from your words.

Cleffairy: I will never ever be ready to say goodbye…


  1. claire says:

    I have so much to comment after reading yr post that i did not know how to start… ok, slowly, let me breathe in some oxygen first…
    ok, dealing with death, a sudden one…is not something everyone can overcome… let me quote my own experience…
    my husband passed on at the age of 37 when we were at our happiest moments, we hv 3 kids, 2 boys and a girl and they were only 3, 6, 9 respectively. in just a matter of moments during one night, he died of dont-know-what-actually caused him to collapse. pending toxicology but i believe it is more on heart…just 37…i was 36..
    My kids were so young, i couldnt do anything drastic… if i hv my way, i would have moved away too…from the neighbourhood, from IPOH, to somewhere we could start our new lives… really…. or better still, if my children were married then, i would hv shifted away too… somewhere… to start a new life.. it is not that i want to forget him… we will never manage to forget a person, celffairy, he will always be embedded in our hearts… but to move away means to lessen the pain… the grief…
    when dealing with death aftermath, no one can help me, family and frens may give endless moral support but the most important is still ownself….
    No one can help us on that, getting up again to face life again depends on our own ability… whether we choose to look forward or backward, it is our own decision.
    Coming back to yr auntie, it is best that she decides herself… encourage her if that is what she wants… no one can understand how she feels, we can only stand by and give her some encouragement… no one can chatise her… what she is feeling for her husband, only she herself knows ….

    oh gosh…so long already….
    I have much more to say about my own experience but sometimes i rather not think too much too… moving on is important, apart from that, the memories will never fade away… never… no matter where we r.. they wont…

  2. kimberlymaylim says:

    My friend committed suicide last year. It was a shock to all of us because it was just the first week of the new semester and we were talking about what we want to do, hang out and so on so forth. Although we had a small gathering where our uni psychologist help us to cope with what has happened, I was still not over it. It is because it was my first time truly to lose a friend who I hanged out a lot with. During those days, I was constantly wishing that it was all a joke. It felt really odd not seeing him in lectures anymore. However, even though I was not prepared to say goodbye, the environment forces me to move on. I was fortunate in the sense that everyone who was friends with him, help each other out to get over the matter. My mum called me everyday to comfort me as well.

    Claire is right about that it is impossible to forget a person. Memories will remained. Once in a while, I would think of my friend, wondering what will happen if he was still around. Hmm… I still miss him sometimes.

    As for your aunt, I’m sure she is learning and wants to move on. Nobody likes to stay sorrowful and in grief all the time. Just support her whenever you can.

    I’m glad that your father-in-law is all right. It is a reminder to all of us that we need to appreciate the people around us. A lot of times we often take people for granted. This reminds me again that life is indeed very short. *hugz*

  3. eugene says:

    There two deaths in my family that those memories still linger untill today, one gives me all the regrets, another gives me all the confusion.

    I lost my dad when i was in my form 4, he was sick, one day he came to back telling me that he was on his way to KL for some medical reasons, due to my hardheadedness, and for some strange reasons, i had an arguments with him and i was mad at him. So when he told me he was going to KL, i did not even look at him,lest talk to him, he sauntered out of the house and that what the last time i had the last glimpse of him, only the back of him, my greatest regret untill today.

    The other death of my family is that of my brother in law, who jumped down from a 14th floor apartment, he was kind of spirit possessed as they claimed he was, losing his sanity, marriage on the rock and whatever nonsense, iwas there in the mortuary looking at his dead body, and for the first time, some one in my famiyl committed suicide. I was confused then as to wonder what would drive a person to take his life.

    So i guess death is part of life, the finishing link to LIFE itself, they say we dont have no about towards death, but sometimes we do.

    I am glad for blogging, it helps to keep our sanity, dont you agree?

  4. kenwooi says:

    thank god that your dad in law is safe and sound..
    i can somehow feel your feelings..
    my parents (no parents in law yet, not married) are very dear to me and i really wish that they can stay with me all the time..
    reading this made me think of them so much..
    just wanna say i love my dad and mum here.. =)

  5. jen says:

    glad you FIL is alright now 🙂 and lucky you to have such a kind, understanding and protective FIL. among my friends, none of them really fancy their in laws and they keep on bitching how bad are their in laws and so on, but your story proved to me that good FIL does exist 🙂

  6. yahui says:

    god bless your FIL. =) deep down within me i always have this lingering fear of losing a loved one. to be honest, i also belong to the people who are never ready to say goodbye… which prompts me to love my family and friends even more when i still have a chance (not that anything is to happen choi choi choi)… seeing friends my age fool around, trying their very best to wean away from their parents to ‘seek freedom’, i really wonder – is it that hard to spend as much time as you can with your folks? 20 or 30 years later on, you have all the freedom you want… but you will never gain back the time you could have with your parents~

    so it is always best to set your priorities straight, what comes first, and always make sure your loved ones know you love them very much, and never hold a grudge for too long~ sometimes movie directors make death to be touchy for a reason – to teach us how to cherish life.

  7. Cheeyee says:

    Glad that your FIL is alright. It must be very scary to receive such phone call. Your post reminded me much about my grandparents. My grandparents from both my dad and my mom side have passed away. I was staying with my mom’s parents since I was born, until I was 10 years old. So I was very close to them compared to my dad’s parents. My grandma passed away when I was 20 years old, before I was ready to say good bye to her. Her death was too sudden for me. I miss her a lot after she had gone, even till today. And her departure reminded me to cherish my life with my loved ones more. Thanks for sharing. Your post always make me think a lot. 🙂

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