Pause, and think for a while

I received a disheartening message yesterday afternoon.


I don’t know what to say.

My mind just went blank.

The first half a minute I just stood stupidly with my phone in my left hand looking into the mini screen as though these words meant nothing to me. Then it hit me and suddenly I was browsing through the phonebook vigorously for his name. But then I stopped just before pressing the call button.

How do you console a dear friend whose mom’s just moved on? How can you even console? Any word would be an insult. Any form of gesture would be a sign of pettiness.

Should I text instead? But that would seem you don’t even care to bother to call. But does he want to talk? But I don’t want him to feel alone. I don’t want to disturb him either. What should I do?....


I can hear my heart thumbing faster every beep of the ring tone. What should I say? What CAN I say? Should I even say anything?

“Hello?” A voice that sounded no less than his usual self echoed from the other side of the phone.

Fearful to hurt him, I was barely whispering. “Gerald, are you alright?” I whimpered the first sentence that floated to my mouth.

What was I thinking?! How could I even ask that?! Of course he is NOT alright! How can anyone be alright with this?! I feel like hitting myself and I hated myself for blurting that question!

“Yes, I’m fine.”

My heart was aching. No, don’t answer; you don’t even need to answer me.

His voice was as soft was ever, as kind as ever. But it pierced my heart.

A minute later I hang up. And I sat in front of my desktop for some time. Many seconds ticked away and I sat, motionless. Many of a thing raced through my mind.

I thought of my mom who is going to go through a major surgery in the recent weeks. And I thought of the 50-50 chance of the surgery success; the same thing that happened to my dad earlier this year.

dad and me in hospital
My dad and I in the hospital second day after his surgery

My world has always revolved around my parents. The reasons I worked so hard, the reason I wanted to succeed, to earn more than enough so I can afford expensive luxuries were mainly, if not all, for my parents. I always dreamt of buying a benz for my dad, bring them traveling around the world, build them a house so they can retire happy without needing to worry a single thing. These were just dreams.

As a daughter, whom they showered unlimited love upon unconditionally, I always wanted to repay them with that they deserve. And they always deserve more than anything I can provide.

Nothing can be too much for them. They worth more than life itself, the skeptical Asian culture and I am bloody proud of it. Simply because I love my parents and I do not mind, but very willingly, to dedicate my whole life to make my parents happy.

Somewhere at the back of my mind, I always knew they would not be with me for all time. Somewhere inside me, I know; and I know I am not prepared for it because I have never “expect” it to happen right now. And I could only dread if they do. What is going through Gerald’s mind right now? I feel even sadder.

What point is there, if we were to make all the money and ignore our parents while doing it. I always call back to tell them I couldn’t make it home because I was busy with work, with study, with events…etc.

It’s pathetic. I know I earn peanuts now. But there’s no point in saving so much if you can’t even make your dear ones happy.

I think I will buy that phone she always wanted. She has always been reluctant to change that old ratchet phone of hers simply because she didn’t want to waste money. And even though I know I can’t afford it, I will get it for her, even if I have to eat apples for the rest of the year. Money is afterall earned to be spent.

Gerald, I know whatever I said might not help. But you have my condolence. Do take care and take your time to recover.


33 kissed Nicole

  1. Death comes to everyone, a matter of time.

    Everyone will have to deal with this in his/her lifetime.

    The question is, will we have regrets by the time it is our turn to deal with it ?

    This calls for the song 'The Living Years' by Mike and the Mechanics.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. My heartfelt condolences to your friend Gerald.

    Most of the times, it's the little things the children do that make the parents' day. Remember to do the little yet important things while working on the biggies.

  4. My condolences to your friend Gerald..I know how it feels to lose a parent and best thing you can do is just to be there if he needs you...

    As for your parents, just appreciate them and show them that while they are still around...

  5. Hey Nicole, *muah*

    This is my first comment for you.

    It's good to know that you place so much importance on your parents.

    I wish I could do the same for my parents in future. It feels like racing against time, I just hope that God have mercy on my parents. They've sacrificed so much, and yet I'm no way near to repaying them back. I hope that there'll be time where they'll enjoy a blissful worry-free retired life.

    All the best for ya!

  6. "Sorry for Gerald. Stay cool, continue to make your mom proud" for Gerald

  7. hello nicole, condolences to your friend as well....I have lost love ones and i understand how he must be feeling right now.....Yes, you know, sometimes we do take things for granted. Sometimes i have to admit, the way i talk to my parents is kinda mean but everytime i do that,i feel so upset at myself....coz i can see how much they have given to me...and how much love they have showered on me.I sent my dad a sorry sms that day coz of the way i talk to him....and i regretted talking to him that way....i feel sad as well thinking one day i will not see them anymore, infact whenever i think of it i cry. Am human after all.....imperfect. Reading the things you say, really touches me, how i wish i would treat my parents the way u do :).It's still not too late. And hey!! I always thought of, if i was ever rich, i would buy my dad a benz....his fav car!! :)

  8. It breaks my heart when I read about your parents because that reminds me of my own. Having been married over a year overseas, I still don't have the money to go back to Malaysia for a visit. They haven't seen me for almost 2 years now and that really breaks my heart. My parents aren't getting any younger, and since I left, my sis told me dad has grown so much grey hair, and mum lost quite some weight and gained more wrinkles. I dread the words from them asking when I'll be home for cny or christmas, because I know I can't afford an airticket even. I want to cry :'(


  9. Dear Nicole, you are such a good daughter and your parents must be so proud of you. Sorry to hear about your friend's mum and hope he takes care.

  10. Condolences to your friend. Its always true what they say that a parents love is unlimited and unconditional as sons n daughters we can never repay them back but only further what they expect of us. Its a circle of life. I had something more appropriate as a comment but somewhere along the lines my train of thought failed me. Anyways condolences once again to your friend and keep in mind family is always 1st. cheers

  11. a sincere show of care should be alright. and a simple word of condolence.

    my condolence to your fren.

    your parents must be awfully proud of you. even tho i am sure they'll happily admit that you've always been a handful.. :)
    mom's going for surgery? god speed..

  12. The passing of a friend's parent is never easy to be comforted. The myriad of emotions running through his mind right now. Be there to support and hold him. But I have seen friends who come off this ordeal stronger. Lets hope for the best for your friend!

    Your love for your parents is heartwarming. Short of nothing but reinforces how much parents means to us at any point in our lives. I figure that your parents should be extremely proud to have a daughter like you, filial and bubbly. But more amazing, how this blog entry reveals a softer side of you that probably goes unappreciated by people. Its nothing that outsiders would understand, your bond with your parents. Gosh, my turn to be reflective. Haha...Just relating how I feel as well.

    Would buy you a chocolate mud pie, if I actually know you. :) But then you might diss me in your food and diet blog.

  13. There's never a 'right' thing to say at a time like this. But your reaction speaks volumes of your qualities as a friend and a daughter.

  14. Same thing happened to me last night, my friend's granpa passed away and he's very very close to my friend. The moment i got his text, I was like you, just look at the phone stupidly and read the text again n again while thinking of the right words to say.. I called, n asked the 'are you ok' question..

    My condolences to your friend.

  15. nic,yeap..i experience it once..and it is so hard,in term of everything..what i can do is just offer her my hand in helping their family for the funeral thing..i dare to say any words to her..just bcoz i sked it will hurts more than whats she is facing ....You have a good mindset n you really should practise it..

  16. Dear Nicole, sometime ago while your father was in hospital for a surgery, I wrote I can never took anymore emotional weight of suffering, well this is one of them. Even I still got my parent with me, but for the pass few years in my mind, the nightmare of not having them beside me is scary. Till this day, the image keep haunting me that one day i would certainly lose them. Since then, the only thing i can think of, apart keeping them happy, is to do good deed on their behalf daily, weekly, monthly or anytime of your life, pray for them, pray on their behalf, care for them and attend to their needs at all cost. Ever since I joint my temple praying session, I witness lots of funeral session, the whole scene just overwhelm. Sometime I cried alone, thinking how lucky I am that I still got my parent, how they brought me up, care for me, taught me everything, be there for me when I'm in trouble. Gosh, tears keep rolling down on my face, why ? Coz all these would become memories in time to come. 世间一切无常。

  17. Go, and give him a long tight hug. In cases like these, words are superfluous.

  18. Condolences to Gerald.

    Perhaps its really time to ponder (for those of us who are still living) what would become of us after death?

    Death is only the beginning to eternal life. Hope all of you out there would start seeking God and come to know Him.

    For there is a far better place to be than here. That place is called Heaven.

    Don't underestimate your life. You were meant for greater things in God's sight. Seriously.

    Cheers people.

  19. There are 5 Stages of Grief:

    Stage 1: Alarm --people are shocked and are coming into terms of the death

    Stage 2: Numbness -- people want not to feel the emotional pain and loss

    Stage 3: Pining -- people want their love ones back, sometimes in extreme cases, people will think of committing suicide to be with their loved ones.

    Stage 4: Desperation and Despair -- says it all

    Stage 5: Recovery and Reorganization -- people will still grief and be sad, but they will be less of a danger to themselves.

    So basically, people are most at risk in Stage 3-4. Some people will regress between the stages, and some will skip stages, but the point remains that if the person suffers from depressive like symptoms after more than 3 months, he/she needs help.

    Having good social support is key to recovery. Never say:

    "u need closure" or "u need to move on" that is a big time nonsense!

  20. Gerald,

    I am sorry to hear about your mum.

    I'd very much want to be there but I could not. Nicole did sms me about that. Be strong there, my friend.

    Heartfelt condolence to you and your family. Take care! *hugs*

  21. My great grandmother just past away and I understand his feeling. Anyway, it's harder for him to face the death of his mom...

    All the best to him..

  22. Sorry to hear about your friend Gerald. I hope he recovers soon.

    Nicole, I feel the same passion as you about earning money and buying luxuries items for our parents.

    After reading books and doing research, the only way to achieve that is by running a Business. Working for people limits your salary . But with a Business your salary goes unlimited.

    Regarding lack of time to spend with your parents, we need to learn how to make money work for you, instead of wasting your time earning money.

    e.g Buy a piece of land, turn it into a car park. Hire some Indian fella to work there. and you just sit at home earning cash non-stop, and you get to spend time with your parents, travel round the world with them etc etc etc.

    Hope my sharing helps.

  23. Yea, it's hard. I've been in the same dilemma when my friend's father passed away suddenly too. I called and she managed to sound ok, I couldn't find much to say and hung up shortly too :p

  24. hey nicole, this entry is really touching and i think it will make lots of people ponder what did they actually work so hard each day. Not sure if it applies to all, but it definatelly happen to me. take care and dont be too hard on yourself. cheers

  25. This is so sad.
    Pass this to your friend: Jie Ai Sun Bian.

  26. I recall opening my eyes from sleep, staring at the ceiling and wondering when will my death be.

    The fact that I'm alive means that one day - sooner or later - I would die.

    Die - it's not an escape of reality. It's a gateway to reality.

    I could identify with your post. It's really horrifying. And believe me or not, death is something I fear.

    I remember telling my friend, "You kiasu, I kiasi ah!"

    About the consoling part of your post, I think, perhaps sometimes the best thing to do is to remain silent, sit with the person with arms on his/her shoulders. Sometimes, words turn into noise instead of being encouraging.

    My two cents.

  27. Dont know about you guys but should that ( death of a friend's loved one) even be on a blog?

  28. Hope everythings will be fine for your friend, and u have my 100% support all the way from your fans from thailand...

    you can make your parents proud,,,, money is not everything in your life... but parents are more than a word to say...

  29. Fatherly and motherly love are second to none!

  30. Ah Nicole;

    I I I accidently deleted my own comments to u oor...So so wat la hor... (-__-)"

    How u ar? U been running up and down?...Ur frend ler? how how?...

    Chubby Chin

  31. Seems like everyone is haunted by this... I am away from my parents too... Can't wait to meet up with them next weekend and spend more time together...
    Condolence to your friend Gerald.

  32. Dear Gerald,

    My condolence to u, be strong.


  33. Dear Nicole,
    Your blog is really touching.

    Dear Gerald,
    Don't be sad. My condolence to you.

    That is why some forwarded e-mail are so meaningful. Make every day as your last day. So if there is something I felt I want to do before I left home, I will do it because the next moment I could not know what will happen to me.

    Irene S