Posts Tagged ‘caring for self’

This week, Mum would have turned 71 years old. When we had reunion dinner on the Chinese New Year’s Eve earlier this year, I did not know then that would be the last meal we would have as a family. She was warded into hospital on Chinese New Year and her homecoming three weeks later was in a casket.

It’s been six months since she passed on and left for a better home in Heaven.

For those of us still on earth, we have found our individual ways to face grief. For me, keeping mum is not the word.

Mum’s poetry-writing palliative doctor sent my family a very helpful book Caring for Yourselves and Others After Death which is published by the Singapore Hospice Council and I quote:

“Grief is a natural response to a loss we experience. The loss of a loved one can feel intensely painful for some. It is not something we try to get over, but rather, something we learn to manage and get through…”

What not to say?

“Messages such as “You need to be strong” and “It’s all in the past, let’s move on”, may lead to feelings of isolation and leave a family stuck between repeating old patterns and trying to do things differently.”


For me, I found a different rhythm in the past 6 months:

  1. Slowing things down

I did not make appointments with friends for about 3 months after Mum’s passing. I found it too tiring to socialize. Then I realized why.

In the three days of Mum’s wake services, I had at least 20 substantive conversations with friends who came by, not counting the short pleasantries with numerous friends and relatives who came to pay their last respects.


  1. Finding New Routines

Mum was the Marketing and Super-marketing Queen. After she passed on, Dad and I went to the wet market together at 6 am every Saturday. I did try to bargain for a later start so I could sleep in. But Dad said, “That’s the time your mum goes to the market.” So…that was the end of that conversation.

Just before Mum’s relapse, she and Dad walked at Botanic Gardens every day for about 3 months. Dad and I started walking there together several times a week.


  1. Creating Keepsakes

Since publishing is in my blood, I spent over 10 hours creating a photo book of Mum and Dad, and also incorporated pages of condolence notes from friends and relatives as well. I gave that to Dad for their wedding anniversary which came two months after Mum’s passing. He’s now asking me for an updated edition to commemorate the one-year anniversary of her passing early next year.

  1. Shaving Clean to move ahead

Dad shaved his hair for Children Cancer Foundation’s signature fundraiser Hair for Hope to support cancer patients and also remember Mum who passed on from cancer. God knows Mum takes pride in her appearance. She was blessed to be on the right side of the 50% probability of hardly any hair-loss from chemotherapy and had a full head of hair on passing. And she had her hair, nails and eyebrows done just before Chinese New Year, during which time she was warded. She looked her best even in her final days.



“It is important we see grief as a changing process over time and not a one-time event. Because it is an individualised journey, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of grieving.”

You can download E-book copies of Caring for Yourself and Others After a Death and When a Death Occurs — A Guide to Practical Matters.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalms 23:76


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God Knows Leh #31 – Cruising Memory Lanes, Making Bald Statements


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