My husand and I went immediately to his home, and once we were there, I just sat in silence. Words failed me. I just could not speak. His parents are my dearest friends, Peter and Agnes, and I cannot imagine what they must be going through.
As for me, I had memories flooding my head. A series of flashbacks...
The first was this one where I carried Jon for the first time. He was probably 3 or 4 then. Peter brought him to a shampoo commercial shoot at RK Studios. Jon true to his nature, was brave enough to leave his dad behind and go exploring on his own. I saw him wandering amongst the heavy lights of our set, and calledout to him. To my sweet surprise, he let me carry him! Now, if you know me well, you'll know that I'm not the sort who go googoogaga over kids. Well, apart from my own nephews and neices, Jon was the first child who let me carry him. And he was quite happy to be carried - that melted my heart straight away.
The next vivid memory was at Agnes' father's funeral. I arrived just as the service was about to begin - and Jon came straight up to me, hugged me and cried his heart out. He was only about chest high then, and he had only recently embraced the Methodist faith. Again my heart melted - to think that I could be his shoulder to cry on : what an honour. After that I always felt a special closeness to this child, even though I wasn't closely involved in his life.
I would hear his proud father extol the virtues and exploits of son No. 1 : how he went to football camp, how he got in to Victoria Institute, how being a scout had brought out the man in him.
Next I remember Jon from a year ago - yes, I think it was in July or August last year. He attended our Teenagers Short Film Workshop. He was vivacious! Cheeky! Creative! Wittier that both his Mom and Dad combined! Such a rascal, and yet so much potential was already being manifested. Here's Jon and Yue Mei at the workshop.
Then I remember the shock of his tumour being diagnosed, and how he faced it. He was the one who broke the news to his younger brother and sister. He was the one who shared his experiences with his friends openly and with much courage.
I remember Yue Mei from his Short Film Workshop telling me how amazed she was at the way he spoke about his ailment, about accepting it, and about having faith. She said she never thought someone so young could see beyond his predicament to find wisdom.
Then the next flashback : I brought mom to see Jon. Mom was hobbling along using a walking stick - so was Jon. As Mom slowly limped up their driveway, Jon came limping down and greeted her. Simultaneously, they asked each other "How are you?" and then burst out laughing.
Next I remember Jon in hospital, and then at home. I last saw him about 2 weeks ago. He had grown so tall! Taller than his father, I think. And home is where Jon spent his time loving and being loved. Until last night.
As Peter used to say, Jon is away fighting dragons. Everytime he chops off one dragon's head, another pops up to attack him.
But he is still fighting. And when he is done, he will come home.
Well, now his fight is over. He has slayed all his dragons. And this brave warrior is free to go home. Home to God. Free and at peace.
Jon, you have given me 16 glorious years. I will miss you. I wish I could have seen you grow up, and achieve all your dreams. But as I look at you now, lying at rest in your scouts' uniform - and hear your father tell me over and over "Jon is so much more of a man than I'll ever be" - I realise that maybe you have already grown up and achieved your dreams, in your own way.
It takes most people 60, 70, 80 years or more to fully grow up. It takes some people 20, 30 years of building a career to gain respect and recognition. It takes most of us a lifetime to learn to love unconditionally, and to live fully. Jon, you did all this in just 16 years.
Goodbye Jonathan Gan. I love you, and I always will.
My brother Mike sent this message :
“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamonds glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle Autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning, Hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds' encircled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there. I did not die.”
~ Author Unknown ~
From my brother Ken and Wati :
“Our deepest sympathy and condolences for your loss.”
From Sarah Chen, seen in this photo with Jon :
“Thank you for introducing me to such a great soul. Truly one with so much love. He made an impact on all with his simple presence.”
From my cousin David Cheah :
“My condolences and wish you all strength, hope and comfort in this difficult time. May Jon find peace and may you all cherish the beautiful memories of your time together.”
From Jennifer Guan, YAC :
“My condolences and love to Uncle Gan and family”
If you'd like to read more about this amazing young man, click on the title of this entry.