I am listening to my favourite Japanese song, Tegami, google up アンジェラ・アキ Angela Aki 手紙 ～拝啓 十五の君 which tells of a story of how a 15-year-old found it hard to live on in life and wrote a letter to her future self and her future self actually replied.
Here is another letter to myself. You can read about my previous letter here. Or just click on 'letters' on the labels menu for all the letters I've written, more like open letters, I'm an open book anyway. :-)
Dear Sue (myself) who just got married in 2007,
You should still be grieving for the loss of our little one (RIP 09092007) who did not even have the chance to be born and breathe his/her first breath of life... the pain is raw, especially in the first four years, but trust me, by 2011, you can talk about it calmly without shedding a tear. The sadness is still there, but I guess we just get stronger as time passes.
I know by now, end Oct, you feel like life is ending for you, you are blaming everyone and most of all, we blamed ourselves, and lashed out at the closest person, our darling husband, bless his kind soul. He is not a man of many words and yes, he is a loving man, despite his lack of sensitivity, he will surprise us, dear Sue, yes, I never knew love has no limit, I love him now even more than when I first married him. Guess this is what love is all about, not bound by any limit?
No, we don't have a kid yet five years plus from now, the pregnancy test kit is still showing the single line of negative. Trust me, all the months of trying and disappointment is a 'training' for us to be stronger and face what lies ahead of us. What you may ask? I didn't see the answer back then but now I can tell you this:
With the many happenings in my life right now, example - this, I find that my husband and I (and generally the whole family and everyone linked to us socially), are growing by leaps and bounds especially when it comes to self-reflection, character-reflection, changes in life's outlook (thoughts and opinions) and I can sum it up with one phrase: we all learn how to be true humans. My mother-in-law taught us all that.
In the past, in healthier times, our mother-in-law would do all she could, cook, clean, care, cook, clean care, she repeats all these with a fervent desire to give the very best to her loved ones, she does not discriminate even if it is a stranger asking for a glass of water at her gate, or the last customer to arrive when she was about to pack up and go home when she was selling cakes and delicacies called "kueh" (gway), sweet stuff she made and I was told her generosity extended to the extent she literally gave away free "kueh" at the end of the day.
There is not a single thought of greed in this noble woman, not a single shred of selfishness, she is truly selfless and only live to serve others. Some more materialistic people may think this is foolish, but over the years, the short five years I have been her daughter-in-law, I began to see things from her point of view.
You don't lose anything just by being helpful and generous, instead, you gain satisfaction and you gain more by giving.
Our mother-in-law truly embraced the meaning of giving unconditionally, loving unconditionally, she found joy in serving others.
I plan to write a book on her and I have started a bit on that, starting with this blogpost, I shall take November off from work and accompany her, be by her side wherever she goes, and I shall start typing away on my laptop, I shall remember to save everything and back it up on my thumb drive just in case my laptop fail me. I shall ask her questions if I am stumped, but that won't be much, I remember almost everything, every little story, every anecdote she told me since I first called her "Auntie" in 2004, up till now, I call her "Mommy". I guess every woman who talks a lot remembers a lot too as we relate and repeat the stories to one another.
My summary is:
In the past one and a half months, coming to two months, I have learned and still learning the art of living from this admirable woman I call my mother-in-law.
She is a simple woman, some may even call her one of the simple country-folk, a typical housewife, but to everyone whose lives she touched, she is more than that! She is the epitome of the perfect woman, virtuous, God-fearing (she believes in the Goddess of Mercy and surrenders her fate to Her), generous, always putting others before Self (she has truly learned the art of mastering "Anatta", Buddhism teaching for no-self, no-ego), even in the past two months, her learning curve is pretty steep and she has actually perfected her character and started to let go a lot! I feel like she is almost a saint, my mother-in-law!
To the Sue five years ago,
I know you feel like life is at the bleakest now, especially when you yearn so much for a child and have him/her taken so suddenly away from you, it is rough on darling hubby too, but let me tell you this, if we have a cute adorable five-year-old now, we cannot do what we are doing now. We cannot grow as much as we are growing now (not growing fat, but growing up).
Darling hubby is growing up too, we are actually more mature and we are learning new things everyday, the meaning of what it truly means to be human.
It is simple, no religious incantations, no prayer, just one word: "ACCEPTANCE".
Remember how we used to ask: WHY? Why me? Why now? Why not?
Now I know why and I tell you this:
Everything happens for a reason. Whatever that happens, no matter how bad, it must be good. There is always hope in despair. Even when the going gets tough, the tough always get going. Yeah, I know, cliche but they are all TRUE!
Why are we still childless? The way I look at it, it is because we are meant to be serving this noble woman who have always put others before herself. How can we fully concentrate in caring for our beloved mother-in-law if we have a toddler or two towing along? We will feel bad if we neglect our kid(s) to care for an elderly, knowing our motherly instinct!
It is as if the jigsaw puzzle pieces are coming together and I can finally see the whole picture, mommy (yeah, we call her mommy now, we truly love her now, you know), mommy needs us to be by her side, and we are willing to be by her side and THANK GOODNESS we are childless now. It is a blessing in disguise. We are still in our early 30s, Sue, we can still try. Mommy needs us now. We shall be strong, child(ren) can wait.
It is a chance denied to many, to care for the elderly and repay all their love for us. I feel blessed, so hang in there. All will end well in the end. Have faith!
Sue (Oct 27, 2012)
If you wish to read more, follow these in chronological order:
Since they are already published anyway, just sharing these if you have a few minutes to spare:
Read this first:
All written from my heart.
I admit I still have a lot to learn and I am still trying to improve on my manners, speech and thoughts. Sorry if I have offended anyone with my direct speech sometimes, and my hormonal emotional outbursts especially when I was younger and just newly married to the Lee family.
My reflection on mommy's illness started the second day after I found out (Dr Catherine told me at just before 5pm on Sept 5, 2012) - a snapshot of my 'journey' and what I have learned the past one month plus:
Then I started to reflect and wrote this one: http://suesanctuary.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-we-should-treat-elders.html
After we visited nenek in Sarawak, or when we decided to visit nenek in Sarawak:
Then I reflected on the meaning of love and caring:
On my birthday this year I wrote this:
Then hubby and I went for counselling at a Hospis (free of charge) and I was moved by this hanging on the wall:
Then after mommy told me directly she isn't afraid of death, I wrote this:
And finally my third letter above: