Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Goodbye 2014 (Bitter, Sweet, Year)

I say this very often, but it is still so, so true. How time flies!
I can't believe it's been 2.5 months since my last post. Gosh...

And by tomorrow, it'll be bye bye 2014, and hello 2015!

2014 has been undoubtedly a difficult year for me. Losing my hubby, best friend, and partner in crime, after spending close to 6 years, and almost 24/7 round the clock hours for the last year and a half of his life, is definitely tough.

It does leave a slight bitterness to the experience of life, which before the illness was rather easy-peasy, young, idealistic, happy-fairy and rah rah. Ok, haha... that is super exaggerating, but in comparison to the aftermaths, life before did feel... lighter.

But don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean life is now black, doom & gloom, heavy and overcast. It is just now a bit harder and sturdier. I also feel more pliable, more bendable, but still relatively light. Hmmm.... I think 'bamboo' would be a good analogy for my current situation. I feel more 'bamboo-ey' now. If there is such a word.

So what are the sweet parts? I have to consciously remind myself daily that life is still sweet with much to look forward to.

Lil MJ will be officially starting kindy next week. I've been prepping her by reminding her she will be going to big girl's school soon. As compared to play school for small girls. I asked her which bag she wants to bring to school. Rabbit bag or Hello Kitty bag. Both pink of course. She chose the rabbit bag. Prayerfully she'll enjoy herself on the first day!

It also looks like we'll be moving again. A potential move in date by September 2015? Not sure yet, will keep you all posted!

On the work end, since August I have been actively involved as a Life Planner & Mortgage Consultant in AIA. This role was something I had shared and talked to Min Ser about even before the relapse, and was able to be contracted with his full blessing. Though I never had the time and opportunity to truly pursue this role due to the relapse.

After Min Ser's passing. I gave myself until the end of July to finalise most matters, and by the first week of August, I wanted to hit the ground running, and I have. Thankfully, by God's grace, closing 2014 with much better results than I expected.

Why Insurance? Well Min Ser gave me a fresh perspective. Experiencing months to a year plus in hospitals, the pain of cancer, and lastly death first hand was tough. But it would have been even tougher if I had to suffer financially carrying the full burden of losing our family's breadwinner.

This relief was only possible through:-
1. The favour of God (to be treated well and almost fully subsidised in a government hospital)
2. The kindness of Min Ser's employer who kept him in employment all the way to the end
3. The power combination of Personal Medical + Critical Illness + Life Insurance

The Personal Medical card provided us options. For one of many examples, a simple CT scan. The waiting list in Ampang Hospital was 10 days! Of course 'tak boleh lah'. We had to know what was happening inside his body ASAP. CT Scan in SJMC could be scheduled the next day. Critical Illness coverage was used to lower our housing loan amount while he was still alive. And lastly Life Insurance to help a young widow with a young daughter move on with one less worry.

For many, with insurance, truly it's a love, hate relationship. You don't want it until you need it. And when you do, you wish you had more. Well I am just thankful for some of it. Enough to get by, to move forward, enough to give me time to rebuild a new career of my own. Min Ser has always been good to me, and through his thoughtfulness, I am doing ok. All I can say is I am thankful.

So, moving on to 2015. Hoping for better things ahead. In no particular order, focusing on Family, God, Ministry, and Work. Here's to hope for tomorrow!

P/S: On the topic of bitter sweet. I have received A Lot Of Chocolate for Christmas this year. Choc cake, hot choc mix, choc biscuits, chocolate chocolate. Rationed sensibly, I would say I have 3 months stash of chocolate. Yay! Maybe it's due to my last post? If so, thank you all you kind souls who reads my blog and take notes. Hahaha... : )

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Thankfulness Post

And ever so quickly, it is now October...

There is a project gratitude post that has been hyping on Facebook in the past month, I've been tagged by Grace Wong to post 3 items to be grateful for 5 days in a row and to tag 2 people a day. Well, I've been procrastinating on this, but I thought I'd post it here as my post of the month. And it'll be 10 not 15.

So here goes. 10 items I am thankful for.

1. God. For being my anchor in uncertain times. He is the one constant in my life, my faithful Friend and Father who has always provided and will continue to provide my every need. In my creator is my destiny and purpose, and I will always choose to seek Him in my life.

2. Min Ser. For almost 6 years of marriage (would have been so this end of Nov). With him, I learned to be a better version of myself. Wish we had more years together to mould and shape each other, but I am thankful for the time we had. If given the choice to do it all over again (knowing the pain I have to go through) I would still choose him.

3. Family. Supportive parents, in-laws and siblings. I am thankful that they are ever so willing to take care of lil MJ (especially mum-in-law). With their support I am able to free up time to work, meet people, and run errands.

4. Lil MJ. She keeps me focused on what is important. She is why I have to do my best to provide for our lil family, and to make the right decisions in terms of day to day matters.

5. Church. The church I grew up in, CBC as well as the church I grew into, FGT. The former was where I made life long friends, and it was where I built my foundation, my relationship with the true and living God. The latter was where I learnt the importance of discipline and consistency needed in maintaining this vital relationship. I am also thankful for the support, sharing and fellowship of cell members and different ones I had the pleasure to know over time.

6. Friends. Some far some near, some old some new. I hope you know who you are. I have not spend as much time as I wish I had. I do hope to catch up more often over the very near future.

7. Career. Thankful for the opportunity to grow and learn in the area of mortgage, insurance and real property. It has been great being able to sit down and catch up with different ones and just share honestly about life, financial goals, investments, savings, and so on. Also so thankful for the flexible hours and the fruits of my labour!

8. Books. For opening me to a wealth of knowledge and experiences which can be absorbed anywhere. Thank you to the Chinese & Gutenberg for the printing press. There is just a joyful experience from reading a paperback book. Thank you Amazon (and the Chinese) for creating my Kindle where I can carry 1000 books in a device lighter than one.

9. Cute & pretty things. Rabbits, puppies, kittens, dogs, soft, feathery, furry, fuzzy creatures. Their aww factor just make me feel so so happy! I also really love pretty things. Pretty clothes, shoes, bags, patterns, papers, colours, food. There can never be a dull canvas with such pretty things. I can have a down moment, and all the fuzzy cuteness + pretty things just makes the world feel a tad better.

10. Chocolate. Especially the dark, bitter, creamy, variety. Chocolate ice-cream, choc cakes, hot choc, just plain chocolate, chocolate. Ok enough, just the thought of it makes me want some. Thank you God for making chocolate, thank you Aztec, Maya and Incas for discovering it!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Mini Memorial

Last Saturday we had a mini memorial at Min Ser's plot. Reason being, his epitaph was finally ready. I'm really glad the epitaph turned out nicely. I personally designed it, so I really had high expectations for it to turn out as how I imagined, and it did!

It had to be simple yet quietly decorative, symbolic yet almost uncheesy. Min Ser likes sans serif fonts primarily Arial, so it had to use the original Helvetica which Arial was derived from...

So yeah, it couldn't be a template design. It had to be special. But that was also part of the reason for the delay, since it wasn't a routine epitaph. It was kind of forgotten at the production stage for a month, and now finally completed and ready.

The day started of wet and rainy, we waited at the car park shelter. Thankfully by the time everyone arrived, it stopped raining. We gathered at his plot, sang two worship songs, had a brief and meaningful message. Later we adjourned for lunch at a nearby restaurant.

We opened the invitation to a few relatives and close friends, and we were surprise that so many could turn up. We wish we could have invited more, but we only decided to do this the week before (when we were informed the epitaph was ready).

So thank you to those who took the time to be with us for this mini memorial and thank you to those who are still remembering us in their thoughts and prayers.

There are days when I still miss him so much and I will never be the same person as I was before Min Ser, but on the bright side, I like to think the slightly new me is not too bad either la.

I like to think I'm now a little tougher and more resilient. Hopefully less frazzled by life's disappointments. I mean, when you've gone through the worst times of your life, minor things just pale in comparison and become a non issue. Sigh... sometimes I feel I look so young, but my mind has aged a decade.

Though when all is said and done, ultimately, in all things, God has his purposes, and even if we do not see His reasons in this lifetime, it will definitely be revealed in the next.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

September Update

Wow, it's already September! Ideally I would like to post an update once a week, but August really just flew by.

August saw us celebrating lil MJ's birthday, organized by some of our dear church friends with kids. So thankful for their effort in taking the time to organise the party and to celebrate with us! We had a really beautiful cake, absolutely scrumptious food, and lots of presents!

The lovely cake!

We also had a relaxing Merdeka weekend at my parent's home in an orchard. Surrounded by tranquility, fresh air, and trees. It was just a one night trip, but managed to rest much and had a nice time spent catching up with my uncle and aunt, and also different ones from my previous church (ie: my parent's church).

I've also officially signed lil MJ up for a good kindergarten next year close to our new place!

As for our new place, we have finally moved to PJ last week, 2nd Sep. In one trip the movers managed to take most of my stuff, especially the necessary bulky items. And today itself I've had the piano movers move my piano, so I would say the shift is complete. I've also pretty much unpacked all my items as well. So needless to say, the past week was really tiring and busy, but really glad to have finalized the move.

As for the Puchong place, I'll need to have some touch ups done before renting it out. Also need to focus on getting my Goodyear Court 10 apartment in USJ rented out as well to generate some added consistent cash flow.

In regards to church, I'll start serving again in the worship ministry. I'm scheduled to play the piano for this Sunday. I'm looking forward to it, but also just a tad nervous... guess I gotta get used to it again :) Hmmm... random thought, I need to find a green top/ outfit to wear (yes, we do have colors themes when we go on stage.)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

First August Update

The days have just been flying by... meeting up with different people, going for meetings, trainings, just learning, absorbing. I've been busy learning more about housing loans and insurance, really so much to learn and it has been interesting thus far!

I've also been working on and updating my website and my property listings. Marketing the units I have on hand via property sites, and Facebook. Time really really flies, my last blog post for my website was in April, gosh! But then again, it was late April when Min Ser started being unwell again...

I've been slightly procrastinating on the packing. Arghh... really not looking forward to it. We only moved to our Puchong place Dec 2012, and already accumulated so much stuff. How, how does two adults accumulate so much 'barang' in less than 2 years. But I will will myself to pack up the necessaries and close eyes and donate whatever I have not used in ages. Hopefully by my next post I can say I have successfully started or almost finish packing! Yes, I will!

Jo and I were on a really nice holiday with a friend and her daughter, Singapore, 27-30 July. Tickets sponsored by said friend. Thank you! We stayed with friends, a lovely couple (thank you too!) who opened their beautiful sea view apartment to us mums and daughters.

We took the girls to the aquarium on Monday, and The Zoo the next day. The aquarium was super crowded as Monday was a public holiday (though we managed to find space with nice views of the sea creatures). The trip to the zoo was really nice and the weather was lovely. Cool and cloudy, and it rained just (literally) after we got into the car. We also enjoyed the pool, delicious meals, and time spent talking. Lil MJ was ok as she slept both ways throughout the flight (this is only her second time on a plane) and she seemed to enjoy herself, although she was a little homesick at night.

So yes, I've been keeping myself busy. And I think it's a good thing. I've read a book on grief by Kindah Greening, and I also downloaded this ebook, and am in the midst of reading it "From One Widow to another: Conversations on the new You" by Miriam Neff. Reading a book with the title widow feels strange, the very word feels so strange and foreign. I'm a widow? Huh?

When I last filled in a form under marital status, automatically I was going to tick 'Married' then I realised I had to choose between 'Widowed/divorced/separated' or 'Single'. Really not used to it yet. Who knows if I'll ever change my Facebook status. Oh well, a topic for another day.

That being said, I did send our wedding rings for replating. I felt the rings should be kept together but I want it to look all nice and new before safekeeping them. So yes, it felt really strange as well being 'ringless' but I'm getting used to it.

Basically, everyone handles grief differently. And it is not abnormal to feel 'bad' not feeling sad. I know I don't feel wrong laughing or being happy, because I do want to be happy. But I do realise I am much more contemplative when I am alone, and I do still miss Min Ser very much. So... in a nutshell. On any given day, I feel happy and excited and also nostalgic and sad, though the emotions do not sway too far from each other, and they are not too extreme.

Finally, I'm really touched by different ones who have been offering their hand of friendship and service. Praying for, and looking out for us. I really appreciate everyone of you. It really does help and I really do treasure the time spent with each one of you.

Lil MJ and friend in Singapore S.E.A Aquarium

Friday, 25 July 2014

Packing and Moving (soon)

I've decided on a condo unit to rent in PJ. It's a friend's place which they are not using at the moment as they are currently living out of the country. I target to move first week September (hopefully!) Reason being, there is quite a bit of work that needs to be done to the unit. And on my end, lots of packing to do.

Lil MJ will be attending a playgroup twice a week near our future home starting August, and I target to start her kindergarten years, Jan next year.

Last Wednesday, Sue Min, mum and dad, came over to help pack up Min Ser's clothes. The nice new ones were distributed amongst his cousins, and the older but wearable ones were passed on to the cleaners. Oh yes, they even brought (much needed) cleaners to help clean my house. 

They cleaned the fans, the grills, the bathrooms, etc. So happy to not have to clean for once. The cleaners were also very appreciative of the clothes and other items. It felt good giving Min Ser's clothes away. Even now his stuff is a blessing to others.

So I guess that's the plan. Move in September, rent out my place in Puchong, and settle in PJ. Sigh, so much change, so soon. Part of me wants things to remain the way they were and part of me really wants change now. The former is impossible now that Min Ser is no longer here. So the latter it has to be. I mean, what is the alternative to moving on and looking forward to my next stage of life? Wallowing in self pity and crying every day? Hmm... no thank you.

I also plan to focus and actively start work proper August onwards. So yeah, looks like I'll be pretty busy the next couple of months.

One Day At A Time

Many people do ask me "How are you?". Honestly, that is a very tough question to answer. It's almost akin to asking "Are you ok?" but in a lesser degree of awkwardness. I appreciate the concern indeed, but I really do not know how to answer that question. Nowadays, I'll probably just say "I'm taking it one day at time." Which is true.

I still miss Min Ser no doubt. There are triggers to the constant flow of memories. Places we've been, movies we've watched. Stuff we used to talk about.... 

Just yesterday I was at Ampang Hospital which never fails to make me feel sad or nostalgic. We actually spent the most accumulated time together at Ampang Hospital then we ever did in the past 3 years. Although he was tired most of the time, but we did spend time in the hospital talking, watching movies, playing games. Which was a nice break from the buzyness of life.

So I was at Ampang Hospital to collect an important form, and also to collect my 'abandoned' small rice cooker. In the midst of the packing, the rice cooker was 'neglected'. I only remembered it when I wanted to steam rice one week ago. This rice cooker was actually the first appliance Min Ser bought in Johor, before we were married. It has really been our first and only rice cooker since we were married. It's old, and kinda worn out, but it still works. :) I've visited the hospital once before, but I didn't realise it was left behind. This time, I remembered.

I went back to the ward we were last at. As I was exciting the pantry, the cleaner who used to clean the room we were at called out to me. She said, (in Bahasa) "Oh, you came back for it. I remembered you using it, and was wondering when you would pick it up." She then asked me how was everything. She didn't know what happened... I explained that Min Ser passed away. She asked when... "early this month." Later one of the nurses came over to say hi, and then the guard at the ward said "Oh, this is what you came back for"... so yups, I was talking to a few people while cradling the rice cooker.

After the hospital I settled some errands at the bank. And then I just felt like visiting the burial ground. I haven't been back since the day of burial, and since I was in a nostalgic mood. I wanted to see how the plot was now. So I bought a stalk of flowers and I drove there.

The plot was nice. Clean, the grass has grown back. His epitaph was not ready yet, so his plot was still marked by the cross. I've never been to any other burial grounds before, but I feel really felt peaceful there. I stuck his flowers in front of the cross. Sat under the tree, and it was breezy. I wish I could quietly reminisce more. But one of the worker was really chatty. He mentioned that he was so busy, and apologised for having yet prepared the cement slab for Min Ser's epitaph. He mentioned he remembered me from the burial day, and lil MJ too. He mentioned how there were quiet a few young people buried there as well. All in all, nice workers. Albeit a little too chatty.

I did walk around the different plots a little out of curiosity. The youngest I managed to notice was born in 1989. There was even ashes of a girl buried at 5 years old (from 1970-1975). On the contrary there was also an old lady who lived to a 100! 1914-2014. Amazing.

Truly life is in God's hands, and we will never know the length of our days. I would say I should live life to the fullest! Not to put off important matters, to treasure time with family and friends, and sometimes it's ok to spend a little more on nice clothes, shoes or a holiday! Yet, I also have to plan my finances in order to sustain me to live to a 100. Who knows right? I would say, all in all, to live a balanced life. But haha, that is harder said then done.

And then, of course, plan for the after life as well. On my part, I know where I'll be. I just have to ensure I don't do anything in my life that will derail me from this course.

Hmm... so yups, all in all yesterday was a very nostalgic day. A little sad, but it's ok. But on an up note, it was also my dad's birthday, so we had a nice dinner, and just enjoyed some family time. So maybe yesterday was a somewhat balanced day for me after all, which was good.