Today is the first anniversary of my brother’s early departure. It’s a beautiful day here in Adelaide and strangely I’m not feeling emotionally sad – I had my dip earlier during the week when I was really feeling low and missing him a lot. I suppose he wouldn’t have liked to see the rest of the family feeling down either. I heard that the rest of my family would be having a prayer meeting at my brother’s house tonight. I’m sure it will be a powerful meeting that will be emotional and yet empowering as well.
This time last year, my brother only had half a day left until God decided that he had had enough. I sometimes wonder whether he knew, or whether he was somehow led to finish any loose ends before he went. Last year I wrote that he actually asked one of my sisters to send his wedding suit to be dry-cleaned close to his death, and that he did things that could be seen as if he was settling personal matters before he passed away. I hope his children will always remember that my brother was a good man, with all his faults and strengths – a man who had faith in God and was faithful in his service and ministry as well.
The re-opening of my grief earlier this week had also caused some strain in my relationship with Yani, as I made my retreat into my emotional cocoon and leaving my friends bewildered. I just wanted to be left alone to grieve. When Yani said, “I know how you feel”, I retorted back with “Do you really?”. That is one lesson that I have learned: I don’t say “I know how you feel” if I have never experienced it in my life. I can never fathom the depth of anguish of a mother who had lost a baby, or a father who lost all of his family in a bushfire. I can only guess. I can only say those words to those have an experience that I can relate to. Things are going well again after the emotional dip – I have learned to get out of my cocoon and face life again. Life is much too precious to be spent moping and feeling low.
It has been a really interesting week – I’ve been dead busy at work, already spending an extra hour here and there to finish the many projects entrusted to me. Sometimes it felt like I was going into a bushfire ravaged region with so many fires to put out. By mid-morning my head was spinning with so many things to do and to remember. I probably looked like the Asian male version of Linda Blair with the spinning head without the green puke at the end. Hahaha. Thankfully things are looking better so hopefully I will have more room to breathe next week – I do need to clock in a couple of hours of work this weekend from home, though before that can happen!
Another sad thing is the unexpected departure of a colleague at work. Without going too much into details, I feel sorry for him as a friend – I hope that the many conversations that we had recently had made him feel optimistic about the future. My housemate also told me that it was very likely that he would have to return back to Indonesia in a fortnight. His visa would run out at the end of March, and his company couldn’t really sponsor his Permanent Residence application because he was only on an intern. I’m not worried about his life – he’s a man of God and I’m sure He is preparing something beautiful for him. When I heard it, strangely I was excited for what he was about to experience. I remember my four months in the wilderness that were full of heartaches but full of personal encounters with God. I remember the emotional rollercoasters and also the times when God shaped me so personally using ways that hit me hard and yet very effectively. So I’m excited for what my housemate is about to face! 🙂
Today, I’m going to smile and enjoy life – today I’m going to be thankful for my life. Today I will celebrate my brother’s life and remember him fondly in my heart. I’m not going to feel sad for him, but will celebrate his life.
Rest well, Hanhan.