to the man i loved, (and still love) the most


this is probably one of the most awaited posts in my blog so far.

always thought that i should blog about it, but there were times when i felt that i have no reason to do so - i didn't want to publicise my story, i didn't want to hear anyone's comments nor did i want to receive sympathy & pity from others. 
but there were some days which i think that the person i'm gonna blog about (here, now) deserve at least this much recognition on this page. i don't want him to seem non-existent in my life. he does exist. 

this person is none other that my dad.

if you're a close friend of mine you'd probably know about it already - if you used to read my blog posts all the time you might have finally understood what i meant when i kept saying i missed my dad. 

and for those who have followed my instagram for awhile, you'd have realised that i don't post any photos of my dad. 
it's not that i don't want to. i can't.

so here's the story:

he was diagnosed with stage 4 oesophageal cancer in april 2012. we were all taken aback (including him) by the news because my dad rarely fell sick. he never had fever for more than10 years straight and only had flu occassionally. 
but he was coughing a lot (especially at night) and it became a norm for us to hear coughs coming from the bathroom when he was showering. we told him countless times that he should visit the doctor, but he always shrugged that idea off and told us it's nothing much. 
but he visited the chinese physician and got perscribed with herbal powder and also visited the GP and got cough syrup. but nothing worked, so he eventually gave up trying. 

his cough was probably on-going ever since a year ago before he was diagnosed, but my mum's incessant nagging and telling him to visit other GPs fell on deaf ears because my dad has always been a stubborn person, but only when it comes to the welfare of himself. 

just when my dad was about to visit the clinic where my family used to frequent at, the GP was overseas and we were told that he would be back a week or two later. he had no choice but to wait, but in the end this slipped off his mind and he completely forgot about it soon after.

then this came. he started having troubles swallowing his food properly and felt that his food was always stuck in his oesophageal tract. he thought he was eating too fast, but that wasn't the case. he started to struggle whenever he ate because food wouldn't get down the gut smoothly. so he finally went to visit the GP and he checked my father's condition and advised him to visit the specialist at the hospital asap. 

so for the next week my mum accompanied my dad to the gastroenterologist, and we were told that he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. i remember not knowing how to react when i first got the news. i wasn't crying - i didn't cry. i was probably too taken aback - i can't remember what i was exactly thinking, but i know for sure that i didn't accept reality yet.

the next morning my dad drove me to school as per usual. i remember sitting next to him on the car. it was only a 15mins journey from my house to school, but my dad spoke a lot more than usual that morning. 
he told me that he himself didn't expect this, but there's nothing he could do. he told me that i needed to grow up fast so that i could take care of my siblings and my mum well. he told me he probably don't have much time left and that he doesn't know when he's gonna leave this world. & i noticed tears swelling up in his eyes and i could tell that he was trying his best to fight back the tears. but they eventually rolled down his cheeks and all he did was to wipe them off with his left hand. 
i don't remember seeing my dad cry in my entire life, and that was the first.
i was helpless and i didn't know what to say. all i did was just to tell him that everything will get better and told him to stay strong. 

i went to school feeling heavy-hearted that day, probably because i hated myself for not knowing what to do or what to say when he cried. i felt so useless. 

i remember sitting outside my classroom that morning and just dazed off into blank space. my eyes stared tearing and then i started to cry. what am i supposed to do now? 

akina noticed something unusual about me and i asked whether she could accompany me to the toilet. she said okay and we went. & then she finally noticed that i was crying because there weren't any lights outside the classroom earlier on. i told her what happened. 

she was the first person i told the news to, and subsequently i broke the news to my closest friends. but i didn't tell all of them - some had no idea at all because i didn't mention anything to them.
& for that, i still have no idea whether i was being a shitty friend - if i told them, i was worried that they would be burdened with my problems as well. if i didn't tell them, would they think that i don't trust them enough? (but this wasn't the truth of course, i just didn't know how to tell them)  

months passed & my dad had to go for chemotherapy sessions. his chemo sessions were on for about twice a week, and my aunt would accompany him there each time because my mum was working. i tried my best to accompany him for his chemo sessions and as much as i could after school. on days when i didn't have any extra classes in the afternoon, i would accompany him to the hospital. (and sometimes i would try to skip those extra classes because of this haha, shhh.) 

there was this particular day after school when he picked me up and we went for his chemo session together. each session was about 2.5-3 hours long, so he was in the clinic and i did my work while waiting for him. 
i tried my best to accompany him to every session because i knew and understood how lonely it would feel like to go through this alone. and i didn't want him to feel alone, i wanted him to know that i was there for him. 
{many people may not know the significance of one's accompany, but i know it well. maybe it's because there were times when i was all alone and yearned for someone to be there with me, too.}

my mum told us that we needed to give him lots of moral support since we're his family, and to fight this battle together with him. all of us agreed - my maternal grandparents would come over almost every week (all the way from jurong, and we lived at aljunied back then) to cook for him, my aunt would come over & make veggie juices which she proclaimed that it was very beneficial for his health, & my aunts and uncles took time off for him especially when he had medical appointments. and for that, i'm genuinely grateful for everyone who has played their part to support him till the end even though i'm not him. family means ohana right? no one gets left behind. 

months passed & my dad's condition deteriorated. he could never eat properly like he used to and always choked on his food. & when he did, he always ended up vomiting everything he just ate and then the cycle repeated almost everyday. it was a painful process for all of us - he had to suffer, and we had to watch him suffer - honestly i don't know which is more painful

my dad loved eating. he loved food. he was a food lover, just like me. but there was absolutely no reason why a food lover had to suffer like this. and what more, a disease and a terminal illness which robbed him the privilege of enjoying food. for the entire year i couldn't figure out what he has exactly done to deserve this. and i still don't

as a child i always thought that only villains and the bad people would get retributions like these. i learned about karma ever since i was young - my dad always taught me that i should be a good person. i should know my morals well. i should only do things that are morally right and not be critical to others. what goes around comes back around - that's karma, isn't it?

even up till now, i still can't fathom why such a good guy like him deserved this. just what did he do in his past life to receive such torment? what has our ancestors done in their past lives that their descendants have to suffer like this? (also apparently, my uncle went to this temple in china and asked the priest about our ancestors. the priest told him that our ancestors have done many bad deeds in their past lives & they were really cruel. thus, their descendants have to suffer in their place.) and for awhile i totally believed it (and maybe a small part of me still does) and i really felt like killing all my ancestors in the most cruelest way possible if i ever get to see them at that time. 

(but it's impossible to do that so whatever.) 

june came and it was father's day. i remember getting my dad two nike dri-fit tops because he loved wearing dri-fit clothes. i got him a white and an orange one because he loved the colour orange. i spent most of my savings on it and that was also probably the first gift i ever gave him. i never really gave him any presents because my dad was a simple man and he didn't fancy many things. he was thrifty and he was never particular about what he liked.
but he never got to wear those shirts i gave him because when his condition got worse and when chemotherapy stripped his health away, he was always cold. the dri-fit tops could never make him feel warm and he was always in his grey thick sweater.
(sad to say but we eventually burned the clothes for him. it wasn't exactly a waste, because i know he still has it.)
a year after my dad left, my aunt actually told me that my dad mentioned to her that i got him two shirts for father's day and he was touched. he said that he knew i was filial and he was really happy. i wish i heard those words from him. :(

months passed again and his condition really started turning for the worse. he was all frail, weak and skinny after so many chemotherapy sessions. eventually he shaved his head because his hair kept dropping. he lost over 20kgs within a short span of time and could no longer eat any food like he used to. he mentioned that chemotherapy was really draining and taxing on the body. he always felt lethargic and restless when he came home.

he loved bak kut teh too. especially the one at tiong bahru. he would always crave for it and we would go together as a family during the weekends. it was so gratifying to see his satisfied face after every bak kut teh meal because he really enjoyed eating them.
but i remembered that there was this particular day when we ate that for lunch. on the way home, my dad said he wanted to rest and we stopped the car in the vicinity. the food got stuck in his oesophagus again and he had to vomit it out. he tried purging countless times but it was still stuck. we waited for more than an hour there and when he got better, he continued driving and we finally got home. but he spent another three hours purging in his room before the food finally got out and finally he could rest.

traces of blood started to appear in his vomit and it was a sign of internal bleeding. each time this happened, my dad had to be admitted to the hospital and be warded for further observation. he dreaded hospitals and hated staying there and would always request to be discharged. there were also several times when he had to stay in the ICU because his condition wasn't stable.

then it was november. my dad was admitted to the hospital again, for more than a week this time round. i can't remember the reason for his admission but it was probably due to complications in his body.

so there was this one day in the week when i decided to pay my dad a visit at the hospital since i knew he was going to be alone in the hospital until my uncle could come that afternoon. i woke up before 7am and took a 1.5 hours long bus ride from aljunied all the way to gleneagles hospital at town.
that day i remembered that my dad was already awake by the time i went into his room. he was surprised to see me and asked why i was up so early.
i spent the entire day with him at the hospital that day, but i remember having really really swollen eyes in the morning because i was too tired. (like really, it was the worst swell ever haha). he was reading his newspaper and he mentioned that his fingernails were getting too long. he never liked long nails. so i got a nail cutter and clipped his nails for him on his bed.
soon after, it was time for lunch and his meal was delivered to the ward. i remember that it was a main course of steamed codfish with a clear plain soup on the side. i sat in front of him on his bed and deboned the fish for him and fed him slowly. he also said that the soup was really good and that it was probably the best meal he ever had in the hospital so far. it was also the first few times that he had no problems swallowing the food. he was so happy because of that and even told that to my mum who came over to visit him after work.
after chatting with him, i told him he should rest but he was up reading newspapers on his bed because he wasn't tired. and i remember sleeping on two chairs on that day and it was SO uncomfortable. dad asked me to sleep on his bed instead and of course i said no haha.

& that was one of the few days i remember spending with him because that was the day that i felt that at least i've done something for him. even though it wasn't a difficult thing to do (accompanying him throughout the day) my dad was really happy.

14th november came and it was my mum's birthday. and also, finally the day my dad could be discharged! he was all smiles when my brother and i picked him up from the hospital. before he left his ward, he even went over to the caucasian patient who was on the other bed and wished him a speedy recovery while shaking hands. he couldn't really walk well since he was all weak and frail so my brother and i held his arms at each side.
-- he was so happy to be discharged. :')

on the way home, my dad asked my grandpa (who was driving the car) whether he could stop somewhere in the vicinity so that he could get my mum a birthday cake. when we finally reached the place, i told my dad to rest in the car while my brother and i would get the birthday cake for him. he said no, he wanted to choose the cake himself. i told him he was too weak to walk (& because it's quite a distance) but with his sheer determination to get the cake himself, he walked slowly with a gait and stumbled every now and then as he walked. we held his arms and walked with him all the way to the bakery. he chose the cake himself and we went home.

it was evening and my mum finally got home from work. i bought chilli crabs from No Signboard since my mum loved crabs. we ate dinner as a family together with my grandparents. we surprised my mum with the cake and it was also the first time my dad actually surprised and got her a birthday cake for her birthday. (i'm sorry, my dad's a boring guy HAHA)
it was a happy day. dinner was smooth for dad as well and all was good. :)

the next day during dinner time, dad choked on his food again. he started to vomit again and there were traces of blood (again). there was also this point of time when he started shaking his head uncontrollably out of his own will and i knew something was wrong. it was different.
it was about 7pm that night and we only went to the hospital about 8pm. my dad kept vomiting blood out and we had to rush him to the A&E.
we waited....waited....and waited for few hours there. i was FURIOUS. why wasn't his doctor here yet?????? we were there for almost 3 hours and my dad was in so much pain. he vomited blood non-stop and he told me he was in a lot of pain. and that was the first time my dad actually told me he was hurting. being helpless and not knowing what to do, i just stood next to him and pat on his back, hoping to ease his pain a little and tried to give him support. but my dad just kept shaking his head when he looked at me and told me he wouldn't make it this time round. he pointed his index finger and gestured a sign that he was dying. i told him "no you won't die. you WILL make it. you WILL get through this daddy. please stay strong."
we went to the nurses and complained. how could you let a patient suffer like this in the A&E alone without any doctors??? why is no one doing anything???
so the doctors finally came and apologised because they were MISUNDERSTOOD and thought that the other doctor would come in his stead (while that doctor thought this doctor would come) hence the delay. i was so infuriated. how can you doctors be so IRRESPONSIBLE?

they immediately did blood tests for him and checked his condition. by that time, my dad looked as if he only had less than half of his life left. he looked so drained and so so tired. and he was in so much pain.

i saw the nurses wheeling him to a room helplessly. i prayed that he would be fine.
 please be fine. please get through this.

i wasn't mentally prepared, not at all. when i saw how happy he was just yesterday. he was completely fine yesterday. how could such a thing happen today?

i was still in a whirlwind of frenzied thoughts and my mind was in a total wreck.

the gastroenterologist who was in charge of my dad ushered us (my grandparents, my mum and i) to a meeting room. he told us to be mentally prepared because he was sure my dad wouldn't make it through the night. he said that the tumour in my dad's oesophagus moved and it was pressing against the aorta (the artery closest to the heart) and due to high pressure, the aorta ruptured and that explained why my dad was bleeding profusely. with the wounded aorta now, it would eventually lead to nothing but death.

that was the worst news i've ever received in my entire life. that was a confirmation that my intuition which i hoped wasn't true was right.

i remember myself shaking and trembling so bad in the meeting room. there was no way i could keep myself calm.

we were told to go to the ICU to visit my dad "for the last time". the doctor told us to inform as many family members as possible because he was certain my dad wouldn't make it through the night. everyone rushed down and all of us were sobbing helplessly in the ICU. my dad was sleeping by then - he was on his bed and there was a tube in his mouth. we were told that it was a 22cm long tube which goes in all the way down in his oesophagus to act as a "barrier" for the tumour to move and rupture other blood vessels and organs. the doctor said that the tube is really long and uncomfortable, and it's going to be really painful if my dad was conscious. (so they injected lots of morphine into him so that it would ease the pain)

the doctor said my dad wouldn't make it through that night, but he did.

and much to our amazement, my dad fought on for another two weeks. his will power was so strong - he didn't want to leave. he didn't want to leave his family - his wife and his children. he wasn't ready to leave like that so he fought on.

in that two weeks, everyday seemed like a battle for all of us. my dad was fighting the toughest battle in his life and we spent every minute and every second of each day praying that he wouldn't leave us like this.
i was afraid to fall asleep every night during that two weeks. you've no idea how afraid i was of hearing a phone call in the middle of the night from the hospital. i was so thankful for every morning that my dad was still alive.

i also prayed fervently for Buddha to take away 20 years of my life or trade my life for his. i thought to myself that his presence would bring much more joy to those around me, so i should be the one leaving. i wanted to bear the pain for him because i hated to see him suffer. i wanted to be the one lying on the bed and preparing to leave instead of seeing him leave. but the prayers never worked.

his condition was still the same one week later. we hired a nun to pray for my dad and every night we would have to stand around his bed and recite a buddhist scripture.

to our surprise, while we were reciting halfway one night, my dad regained consciousness.

despite the high levels of morphine injected into his body, he woke up and clasped his hands together with his eyes closed while we were reciting. he smiled at the nun and we were all so amazed.

he was finally awake!! :")

for the next few days the doctor lowered the morphine levels for him so that he could be conscious when we were talking to him. we told him lots of things but he couldn't reply because of the tube that was in his throat, so he used his hand gestures.

since i was only sec 2 at that time, i was in the streaming year. my dad has always wanted me to take pure sciences and amath for my subject combinations in sec 3. my results were only released in november so i had to wait.

my class results finally came out and i really got into the class i wanted, and i waited for my dad to wake up and i told him "i got the class i wanted!"
he gave me a smile and slowly raised his right arm up, and gave me a thumbs up. :")
that was probably the last thing i could do to make him proud.

there was also one time when the doctor told us that my dad wasn't bleeding as much as he used to, and that was a relief for all of us because we were still hanging on to the string of hope that my dad would recover and be back on his feet soon.
much as i wanted to believe that he could completely recover, i knew for sure that it was only a matter of time he's leaving this world; since the aorta has ruptured, how else could he continue living?

his doctor suggested that my dad could try radiotherapy to see whether it could stop the bleeding. but unfortunately radiotherapy didn't help much and soon his lungs were infected and they got weaker. we weren't allowed to enter his room anymore in case his infection gets worse.

when it was nearing two weeks' time, the doctor informed us that his lungs were getting weaker due to the infection. his lungs could no longer pump by itself and that my dad could only breathe using the machine.

my family decided to just let my dad stay the way he was (just sleeping soundly and peacefully) and leave anytime he wants to. we wanted him to leave peacefully - without any pain.

on 28th november 2012, my uncle suddenly ran to the resting corner and told us that my dad's heart has stopped beating. we all rushed in and saw him for the last time.
but none of us cried when the doctor pronounced him dead because we were told not to - a buddhist priest told us that if we cried, it would be harder for my dad to move on and leave the world peacefully.

(but in the end i still cried and i was chased out of the room.................)

looked damn childlike in sec one HAHA this was in 2011 pls don't judge

so yes, my dad left this world peacefully on 28th november 2012, on the dot at 22:00; 10p.m.. it felt like he has waited for this exact time to come so that he could leave just then.

it has been 824 days since he left. or exactly 2 years, 3 months and 2 days ago. but i still love him the same way as i did 17 years ago - 5 years ago - 3 years ago and exactly 824 days ago.

time's really such a scary thing. i remember staring into the night sky alone when i was at the wake; and i thought of many things. how would life be 2 years from now? how would my o levels results be like? would i be able to get into a JC? would i still be able to do my dad proud?

my dad was diagnosed with cancer in april, and left in november. even though that 8 months were short-lived, i don't regret not doing enough for him or not spending enough time with him because i cherished his presence every minute when he was still alive. if i were to be able to see him again, the only thing i'd do is to hug him really tightly and tell him i really missed him and i love him so much.

he has taught me a lot in the 14 years i've known him. he was a good man. a really really good man. honestly speaking, i really don't think i'd meet a better guy than him :(
he was never rich but he was always generous with what he had. he always donated to the poor and bought tissue papers from those who sell it every single time. he was so good-tempered and never got angry. he was such a good father and doted on us so much. (i remember crying each time he left overseas to work when i was a child because i really hated to see him leave) all in all he really taught me so many things in all ways possible.
up till now, i still don't see why he deserved all of this, but i still choose to believe that everything happens for a reason. i don't see the reason yet, and maybe i would next time. but i know for sure that there's always a reason why things don't always go the way we want to.

i didn't just learn that everything happens for a reason, i also fully understood what it means to cherish everyone around me and not take things for granted.
ever since he passed on, i've became closer to my grandparents (love them sooo much), six grandaunt and also my mum of course.

but there's always a flip side of everything. nothing can be all rainbows and fantasies or filled with smiles and good things. the bad thing after this life's episode is that i've became so afraid of letting people come into my life and leave, that i think that i've began to build walls around myself unknowingly.


i never truly understood why the good people always die first or why bad things only happen to good people, but i think now i know why:

thus, to anyone reading this now, no matter who you are and what you're like,
always remember to cherish the ones around you. don't always expect that the people in your life would stay forever. tell them things you would regret not saying if they were gonna leave tomorrow. you never know whether they would still be around the next minute.

so dear daddy,

wherever you're now, please promise me to be happy. i hope you're happy wherever you are and at every minute. just know that even though 14 years has been a short time together for us, it has been the best time of my life. you've been a really great inspiration to me in my entire life. i'll not let you down and make you proud.
i still remember how your hands feel like and i miss your hugs. i still miss and cry at the thought of you but i know i will see you one day. :) thanks for being such a wonderful human being and being the man i loved the most.
also, thank you for giving me a dream. now i know where and what i want to become in the future, all thanks to you. please bless me that i can be a great oncologist in the future and help cancer patients as much as i can. :)

see you in heavens next time!
and by then, i hope you're still as happy as you're now :)

love you so much and thanks for always being there! (i know you're still here with us even though we can't see you.)

* i'm sorry i waited so long to post this, but i really had to muster up lots of courage to do this.*

whoever you are, thanks for reading such a lengthy post. :)

till then,


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  1. thank you for sharing, deeply touched...