What if I had one more day

Despite growing up in a typical Asian family, my parents never forced my sister or me to pursue the typical jobs that allow us to earn a sustainable income.

 My parents always said, “You can choose whatever you wish to study, you just need to have a plan and know what do you wish to do upon completing your studies.”

My sister had her life mapped out when she graduated from university. She knew that at the age of 25 if there wasn’t any promotion opportunity she would leave her current company and work for another Public Relations company. But cancer was never part of the plan.  

When cancer hit her for the second time, she started planning for her death. She wanted it to be a small and quiet affair. She was constantly sharing with us, “I have no friends – I only have five friends. I do not need to have a wake, just say a prayer and cremate me.”

A few weeks before her death she said, “Go enjoy your holiday in Italy. I will try to hold on and wait for you to be back in Singapore”.

My sister passed away a week before my trip to Italy. 

The ironic thing was that despite being in Singapore, I was not by my sister’s side when she breathed her last. I was not able to say any last words to her, neither did my parents. All of us were not by her side when she breathed her last.

“Her death came as a surprise to me like we weren’t expecting it. When we said goodbye to her the previous night, she was still alright” 

As much as I made peace with God and was prepared for her death, her death had a huge impact on me and I did not expect to lose her so quickly. 

It made me wonder, “What if I had one more day with my sister? Just another 24 hours with my sister before she passed away? Would that have helped me to cope with her passing?” 

Death tends to happen rather suddenly most of the time, and it made me wonder “ What if I had one more day with my sister? Just 24 hours to spend with my sister before she passed away.” 

The idea of having one more day with my sister, resulted in me imagining a lot of possible things that I would love to do with her.

It was a never-ending list:

● Lying in bed having a heart to heart talk

● Going cafe-hopping together

● Going to watch a movie together

● Watching Netflix at home

● Going cycling together

● Running together at Central Business District area

● Taking a trip out of Singapore to Pulau Ubin together

 Having an extra 24 hours with my sister would not have changed the relationship we shared. Nor will it be a time for us to forget all the fights that we had throughout the past 24 years as sisters, but it would allow me a chance to say my final goodbye to her. 

Up till today, I don’t deny that there are times when I have the “Aiya if only Kimbo was still around, we used to do all of these together.”

“ I’m trying to process how to accept death. But it is not something that can be accepted. Like I close my eyes and picture it, I just can’t. I don’t know how you managed to be so strong”

I wasn’t this strong always.

The first month without her was the toughest, and every day I woke up wishing that I could have one more day with her.

When she passed away, I went back to work almost immediately. I knew that staying at home would result in me, crying nonstop and thinking about my sister. Subconsciously, I would wake up in the middle of the night, to ‘check on’ my sister if she needed morphine or water. Each day, I ask myself what would I have done differently, if I was granted one more day with my sister. 

It was tough accepting her death, in fact, I was struggling to deal with it during my holiday in Italy. Almost every coffee joint sold the coffee brand ‘Kimbo’. 

‘Kimbo’ was the nickname that friends and families would call my sister. I kept reminding myself that this is the beginning, and it’s okay if I am struggling to cope with her death. 

Eventually, I will be able to pull myself together and accept her death. 

41 months since her death; 

Have I accepted my sister’s death? – Yes,  

Do I still miss my sister? – Yes

Am I still grieving her death? – Yes 

Do I still wish I had another 24 hours with her? – Yes

As much as I still wish for another day with my sister, the best thing I can do would be to live boldly each day and make her proud. 

Live Boldly