Possibly the month I want to forget this year


July started out pretty fine.

Actually, I have been writing my July updates across 3 weekends already (with a different title and mood) but something happened yesterday which totally steered my whole emotions and mood entirely. To be fair, the first half of July was still pretty alright for me (reading what I wrote two weekends ago), I was commenting on how unbelievable that half of 2020 is over and the events happening throughout 2021 has made 2020 look like the norm. As time goes by, we will get so accustomed to life right now that perhaps we won’t even remember what life was pre-covid.

On my blog (even my physical diaries) I don’t usually write about sad things as I don’t want to look back years ahead and remember the sad things. Shouldn’t sad things just.. be forgotten? I’m not sure when did I change my stand on that but over time, I guess it is okay to be honest with your own feelings and emotions, as long as you figure a way to navigate through it at the end of the day. Even if you don’t, it’s okay. Sadness is just a reminder that you are only human – and with all that intellectual, you deserve all that spectrum of emotions.

Let’s start with the not so heavy things first. I miss.. going to work. I know it sounds kind of crazy because I love rolling out of bed into my chair and switching on my laptop with half-opened eyes. I love not having to put on makeup and think of what to wear for work. I don’t particularly enjoy the train commute to work (assuming that it was gonna be crowded and squeezy) plus I am pretty happy with my home-brewed morning coffee and random walks to the kitchen/living room to grab snacks. Sadly, the COVID situation in my country is pretty bleak right now as there was a mega local cluster (despite all that vaccination drive) and the government basically flipped the covid safety measures 3 times in 2 weeks? While it is upsetting to make plans only to have cancel them again and again, I’m still pretty glad that they have the power and confidence to make such painful decisions as well. No one likes a lockdown. It obviously wasn’t an easy decision to announce a lockdown (The actual term this time round is Phase 2 Heightened Alert – where dining out was not allowed anymore and gatherings were kept at 2 pax) but I guess you got to do what you got to do. If such measures were the only way to keep the numbers low, it is just a temporary pain to a greater and better future, I remind myself.. time and again.

Anyway, the point is that I had not been going back to office regularly since I started this job after my 16-month long corporate gap year and the last time I set foot in the office was more than 2 months ago? I didn’t knew how much I missed having an office life until I was scrolling my Instagram stories memories; many nights ago. 3 years ago, I had to move office and there were so many fun and stupid memories residing in my IGS archives. There were pineapple rolling activities (auspicious for moving), lion dance and many random nights we spend ‘overtime-ing’ just to figure out what our bosses wanted. I had this habit of documenting my cheap lunch (cause new office was in heartland area) and I even recall those karaoke sessions we had together. (Karaoke is a thing of the past now 🙁 It is a high risk activity for COVID and many brands have since closed down their outlets.) I really miss having colleagues beside me, to figure out all that shit together, to spend lunch time bitching and to question ourselves why we are still working at hours way past the official end work timing. I miss the human interaction. Things are no longer going to be the same with the whole move to hot-desk concept but

Yea so that’s the lightest ‘sad thing’ that I am feeling right now. The next one is a little heavier. About two weeks ago, there was an axe slashing-resulting-in-murder case happening in one of the schools in Singapore. There two victims were unrelated and the perpetrator was just intending to injure/kill the first person that entered the toilet that morning. The guy had sought counselling before in the past when he was attempting suicide and somehow things didn’t work out and had to go this way today. There was so much pain in learning about that news. The pain of the family of the victim, the pain of the teachers and students who knew that victim. He was very much ‘innocent’ and just very ‘unfortunate’ to have that fate. The pain can be felt by the perpetrator as well – I believe he is in regret – or even if he does not feel remorseful now, he will feel it sometime in the future – after he has calmed down. The pain of his family is a lot too. There would have been so much regret in his parents or any family member who may question themselves on ‘what could I have done to prevent it?’ The more I thought about this incident, the more I messed my mind up with all that thought of guilt, regret and pity. In recent months or years, I’ve been thinking hard on ‘mental health’ and how it can be normalised and be talked about as easily as cough or flu. Although the treatment of this is not as straightforward, there should be greater awareness of how people who need the help are aware of it. In addition, there’s a hope that I have is that people could and should be kinder to one another. I’m still pretty weak in the knowledge of this issue but I hope more and more people will start paying attention to it. The society is changing and this is really a critical issue. While this incident does not affect me directly in any way, it had made me think a lot about this issue and feel kind of.. sad about it.

The last issue, something that happened last night was really painful for me. I learned that a good friend’s mum passed on (pretty suddenly) and the feeling just sucks. It wasn’t the first time I had been feeling such emotions. The last time it happened, I was in New Zealand, at Wellington, in a friend’s car and we were heading out to see the ‘Wellington’ pseudo-Hollywood sign when I received a whatsapp message from my friend, informing me that her dad passed away in the morning. – he was found dead in the toilet when they woke up. I can’t exactly describe in words how I felt that afternoon but I was in complete shock. I don’t deal with deaths well and the thought of having someone close to me endure this pain is just unimaginable. The hurt was so bad that I kind of concluded to myself that I wasn’t ready to ‘throw everything behind’ and live overseas for good. I am very much attached to the bonds of the friends and family I have in Singapore and I don’t think I am ready to let go. Anyway, I had to go through with this again. The passing of my friend’s mum is a lot harder for me as I kind of know her personally. I’ve been to her house a couple of times and eaten dinner twice at her place. The last time I was at her house, she wasn’t feeling her best but she still came out of her room to greet us. No one would have thought that it was the last time and the entire covid situation just makes visiting so difficult. In normal times, I would have wanted to visit her more. In fact, when she was sick, the illness didn’t appear to be that severe that it would result in her passing. I don’t know much of the details as I don’t think I should be asking too many questions at this time but just thinking about the whole situation somehow just seem to pain me. The happy-sad thing was that the family members got to say ‘goodbye’ as she was in critical condition and the doctors told them to ‘prepare for the worse’. But the whole situation just seems so unbelievable, so sudden and.. I don’t really know how to approach the topic the next time I meet my friend. She is someone I meet rather often and somehow the closer you are, the harder are the words that come out. This experience was going to be so different from the previous friend as I only got to meet her five months later (I was in NZ, then COVID happened) but this time round, I’m probably going to ask to meet her out in perhaps a few weeks time. While I will try my best to normalise the situation, I don’t think I am able to hide my emotions well.

To be honest, over the past 3 days where her mum’s condition spiralled downwards, the conversations were brief and short. I didn’t know what to ask. I didn’t know how much to ask and I didn’t know if she wanted to talk about it. I just.. waited and dropped ‘help is just a message away’ kind of message to her. I’m really bad at this. I didn’t want to acknowledge my emotions last night and I diverted my attention to random netflix. I knew the moment I was doing nothing, I would be thinking about it. Thinking about the fragility of life, thinking about the regrets of her life, the regrets that my friend could have and all that random things I always think about that makes me feel sad. In the past, I tend to push away such emotions from my mind as I thought that avoidance could possibly be a better medicine. But somehow, over the years, I’ve taught myself to acknowledge my emotions (somewhat privately) and give myself the permission to feel sad, the allowance to ‘own’ such spectrum of emotions and the chance to be honest with myself. As I write this, my eyes are all getting teary inside and I’m not gonna acknowledge those years. I am sad for the family’s loss and I am sad that she had to depart the world so early. I will miss her in my own quiet memories and I would love to believe that she is in a better place right now. I pray for the family to get by with life, to the best of their ability and to continue the good work that her mum has achieved in gelling the family together all those years.

I know it sounds weird for me to be typing this out cause writing in a blog is not really that ‘private’ after all my blog is a funny place. My close friends never read these posts anyway (which is better as I don’t want to burden them with my emotional outbursts) but I had to write/type my emotions out somewhere. It is my way of dealing with my emotions and somehow I realise that it helps me. Furthermore, I want to write about emotions as I want to normalise sad emotions. As much as we celebrate the happy moments, the proud moments, we also need to acknowledge and be aware of our sad moments. Over the years, I came to realise that being able to experience and feel the wide spectrum of emotions is allowing me to be more human. I know it sounds rather fuzzy somehow (cause I don’t think I can put it in words easily) but I have learned to be thankful for my sad emotions (usually not at that moment, but sometime after).

Life goes on, whether we want it or not.

July might be a sucky month but it shall pass. August will come, so would September and October and soon it would be 2022.

That’s something precious about time too. Every passing moment will become a memory. The fact that someone ever lived on this earth ever has the capability of creating such precious memories and moments and we should be happy that these memories exist and those precious times happened.

“It is meaningful to remain in someone’s memories.”

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  • Dear Lady. You are entirely welcome to unload here. I’ve been through great grief in the past two years, and I can say that offering someone to listen to you, is the best thing you can do for your friend. When you grieve you need to share memories and make sense of your life and emotions. Grieving takes different lengths of time for different people, and there is no “right” time. I read several books on grieving as well, and it really helps. Loss of a loved one puts us in a place between this world and the next, that we are not used to thinking about because our lives are so busy and full of planning for the future. End of life is a very important part of our journey, and it helps us to prepare us for our own exit, to have the privilege of sharing it with someone else.

    • Thanks Diane 🙂 Really meaningful for you to share with me your experience with grief. It is really not an easy journey for anyone, yet it is something that most people have to go through with. I agree with you that talking it out (and having someone to provide a listening ear) is a really good way to ‘relive’ and ‘unload’ the emotions.