Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas

Christmas has been a time of healing for me, and I think for the rest of the family too.

We decided to celebrate for two reasons : Mom would have wanted it, and I felt Dad needed to have lots of activities to perk him up.

Dad has been falling ill a lot. Nothing serious, just persistent flu and cough that lingers and keeps recurring. He goes to bed very early and doesn't go out as often. He gets tired easily.

But over the last two weekends, I'm so happy that Dad has responded well. With each meal, he seems more and more relaxed. Last night, we were all laughing at a ridiculous TV3 drama while we were waiting for dinner to be served at Unique Seafood restaurant. On New Year's Eve, he spoke passionately about the pyramids in Egypt and how he wants to go there in 2010. He was alive and radiant! He also wants to visit Angkor Wat. Yay! Is this his spiritual journey? Hmmm...

The power of family closeness is so healing. It's amazing! Mom always knew this. That's why she would always unite us and comfort us through organising endless meals together. We don't really do anything special : just meet again, eat again, plan for the next meal, and go home feeling a little warmer, a little closer. So simple and yet so healing.

One night after a dinner at home with Uncle Tommy, Aunty Sweet, and my cousins, a white butterfly came in to the house. It flitted and hovered over everything, from the kitchen to mom's altar to dad. It was just flying around, as if checking on everything. Sonny smiled and said "Guess who?" and immediately Dad replied "Mummy".

Two more nights since then, the white butterfly has come in and checked on things. Is it Mom spending Christmas and New Year with us? Os is there a sudden boom in white butterfly population in my neighbourhood?

Last night, Sky pounced on the butterfly but we managed to save it. It rested outside the window for a while, then flew in again. I gently caught it in my hands and went to release it from the balcony. Guess what??? It wouldn't leave my palm! It just clung on with a persistence that reminded me of how mom used to hold my hand so tightly and wouldn't let go.

I usually dream of Mom about once a month, or once in 6 weeks. Between Christmas and New Year, I dreamt of her twice :) I can't remember what happened in the dreams, but I have clear vivid images of mom looking young and happy. And I woke up with the happiest, warmest feeling of love filling my heart. Haven't felt that in a while.

This season has been such an emotional roller-coaster. One moment, I'm happy and the next, I'm grieving. I'm still sad that mom isn't here physically, I really miss her physical presence, but I'm so happy that we're doing ok. I'm so thankful that the family is staying close and warm.

For a while that seemed like such a difficult thing to do. We were all so busy with our separate lives and activities. But we all pulled together and made it work. I'm so thankful that we are all aligned in this. It's Mom's legacy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Junkradar said...

Hi Janet,

I was in the advertising industry for 15 years. 2009 was the year I quit to look after my firstborn. I know your name through Woei Hern through Adoi and also a little guy with a big persona called Woei Hern who speaks highly of you; he's a friend and peer of mine.

Anyway, I'd like to tell you this particular blog entry brought tears to my eyes. (Sorry for being a little melodramatic.) I realise as the years wear on, family becomes more and more important. I used to come home late after work almost everyday and only see my parents during the weekend (and even then, parts of the weekend).

Over the last few years, I've begun to constantly yearn for their presence in my life. Almost as if the sight of them greying and slowing down before my eyes has spurred me to "keep an eye" on them. It's a lot more difficult to do this while juggling mother, wife and daughter-in-law duties. But like you, my focus these days seems to be on whether my dad or mum is happy or depressed, ill or injured.

Little things bring me back to the days when I used to take them for granted and how they protected and nurtured me despite my obvious flaws. Fleeting thoughts of their eventual departure from this world - though fleeting - increase the sense of urgency to give back to them what they've given to me.

I think your mum really is that butterfly. And I'm glad Sky didn't hurt it. This entry is a month old and I hope you've somewhat healed from her passing. Of course, having said this, I'm sure most of us will always keep a piece of ourselves in that grieving spot so as not to forget how much that person meant to us.

All the best to you and continue the great job at 95%.

Regards, Lisa Ng

6:11 PM  
Blogger 95% The Advertising Academy said...

Thank you so much, Lisa. I've known your name for years and years but somehow, we never met.

If you'd like to get in touch, mail me at or just get my tel from Woei Hern. I'd love to finally meet you in person someday :)

Til then, all the best with your family and your juggling act. It'll all be worth it.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Big Pumpkin said...

I lost my best friend when I was 21 and she always appeared back, whether in London or KL as a yellow butterfly :-) I just knew it was her! It was a 'presence' and the butterfly always stayed near plus her favourite colour was yellow.

I have been feeling rather apprehensive as my Mom's time is drawing to a close and I have this awful fear within me that is ripping my heart. But it's almost like I can't even have time to deal with it as I have a baby, a 5 year old and a household to manage without help. And on top of that, my Mom and I have a history and I don't even know how to begin with anything! My question to you is, at what point in your relationship with Mom did you ask(if at all) for any forgiveness?

5:34 AM  

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