Life After You

So it's been 14 years now.


It feels really long when I said it that way. Life after you has been, fun. I'm not joking. Of course the first few years were difficult, I remembered all those days of getting used to quite vividly. Jeremy, Jessy and I argued a lot, you weren't there to break us up anymore, sometimes, I remembered hating Jeremy so much I would scribble all kinds of angry words in my journal and hoped that one day something so terrible would happen to him just so that I can "laugh" at him hysterically (wtf yeah I know I was evil that way). He was like an evil dictator and we hated him for pushing us around. I even spat on his drinks, hid some of his money and cut some of his pants :| 

Old family portrait 
Come to think about it, I'm glad he did all the pushing that he did. I didn't turned out spoilt and I learned to be independent from all the things that I had to learn to do with all the pushing. I even fought for things I believed in, and reasoned with things that I didn't. 

There were a lot of adjusting to do. The first few years were so difficult to make do of with just one parent,  we had to "embed" in our brain that if mum were not to allow us to do the things that we wanted, we had to actually live with it, because you weren't there to be the good cop anymore. Or vice versa. Like when you used to be the bad cop, we knew one way or another mum would eventually give in to us. It was a tango that we were so dependent on and took advantage of. So with you no longer around, there was almost no compromise for any of that decision mum made. 

All three of us had to learn how to live by ourselves, cook (as little as we could), live and tolerate all the kakaks that have been both angels and devils in disguises throughout our lives, worked hard to get approval from mum and some of mum's friends and relatives, learn basic etiquette, learn not to be envy of those still with both their parents around but most importantly, we had to learn to appreciate. Of whatever. 

There were so many points in my life that I thought I was so different from my friends due to solo upbringing. But quite frankly, I never remembered mum working too hard like how some parents do now for us. She was almost always there for us, she cleaned the rooms, she told us stories (mostly to Jessy), she would scratch Jeremy's back before he sleeps. She would buy my books. She was never working too hard.

I don't know what happened along the way but three of us are developing into three different personalities but with with the same values. All three of us have graduated well. 

Brother is now an exemplary man. How can he not, you were the people's man, you were an example. He's an established doctor working almost all hours in Kota Marudu, volunteers as a medical officer every now and then going through rural areas; advocating and teaching the rural folks on nutrition and the betterment of their health, he's also the President of the Thalassemia Society in his district, a strong health and humanitarian enthusiast and all the right people knows him. 


I venture into arts a lot. I've become a very "cultured" person I must say. I like appreciating racial and cultural diversity, and while these may sound so shallow as compared to what brother's doing, the line I'm in, PR and marketing has been a reason I have been lingering in this lifestyle. I am working on educating people on poverty, sustainable tourism and environmental concerns, corruption and the quality of life through some campaigns I engage myself in, my writing and personal activities. Quality of life doesn't necessarily mean earning big bucks, it just means, the privilege to education, the happiness in adequateness and the quality of individuals as they are growing up. I want to be like him nonetheless, where my Sundays are devoted to helping people wherever we could while I still can. 
Dad and Jessy


Jessy just recently graduated and I can see she already has so much love and heart in her. Mum calls her the "most concern citizen" among us three. She's always looking out for people, and very selfless in some ways. She's very realistic, a total opposite of me, an idealist where hopes and faiths are major parts of my personal development. She's still the baby in the family, and as much as I straightens her up a lot of times, we still let  her enjoy the novelty of being the baby :) 

Other than that, I'm sure you've heard from mum's prayers that she was in trying times just a couple of months back. Truth is, we all were/ are. She went through chemo and radiotherapy, lost her crowning glory and it was evidently the most difficult times of my life. I just started working and I was just so depressed. I pulled the plug on a promising career just to be close to her, and had our whole lives restructured. Brother bought her all the necessary things to bounce back, she's got all her curls back and she's now more gorgeous than ever :)  


Mum and after you. 


Mum's life after you has been amazing. She's always full of love, and while she's always had her hands full with us around, she's always looking for time for herself. I think that's why she's so inspiring. She works good for the money, finds time for us and most importantly she does housekeeping for soul every now and then. Remember how she used to be so uptight about everything? Ever since you're gone she has learn how to loosen up and now she appreciates comedies in every tragedies and because of that too it's been really fun ever since. We laugh over our expensive mistakes, poke on our simple minds, and giggle over silly moments. It's like she has adapted and rub it off to us to enjoy life and never to take it too seriously.


I truly believed that you left us to relief a greater reason here at home. You were a notable man before you left us, and I can only imagine that if I were to grow up under your established name all these while, the circumstances would be different now. I would have been either too comfortable with life, or will lose my inquisitive nature. Who knows. I'm glad it turned out this way. 


Home enjoys the usual laughter and tears at home. While we find ourself in frictions a lot too, eventually we come to dinners together and laugh about it. Often people hear us screaming at each other, sometimes for arguments but most of the time because we're all crackheads :)  Even my friends say that I can get too caught up with the rest when I'm at home. How can I not, you guys are my earliest, truest best friends. Most importantly, home is now so homely. It's colourful, it's full of people and it's always full of love.

Your departure is an example that a death in a family can truly be a blessing if anything. It was as if you were making a point to Jeremy, me and Jessy that life is literally what you make out of it.

Do I ever wish you'd come back. No. 

It teaches us the valuable lesson to be really thankful and appreciative of what you have - because when it's gone it will truly be gone. I don't want you to come waltzing back home in whatever "mode", because it just spoils us back because we seem to be getting what we want. And of course it's almost virtually impossible.

I think you're here with us one way or another, and I think it's better to have you at heart than to be able to just hug you and not appreciate all the values we've developed. It's a great hard lesson. Too great.

So it's been 14 years now. It feels really long when I said it that way, really. But truly, life after you has been fun. Really fun. 


Before Instagram was cool. 
Thank you dad, happy anniversary (11th July, 2012). 

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Comments

Suzane Mah said…
I teared up Kie reading this ;) I'm glad u turn out to be a strong one!!! n ur other siblings too!!!
Keep moving forward! n take care =DDDD
lainelwk said…
Thank you for writing this amazing post. it has somehow gave me a little bit of relief knowing things wouldnt have to be bad losing a loved one. i should learn to be stronger in the days to come, like you and your family did all these while. all the best, Jacqkie!
Morris said…
I just went through your blog quickly. But this entry stopped me for many minutes. I admire your mum's strength, and you, for writing such a beautiful post. "You never walk alone". God bless you and family!

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