Four Funerals And A Wedding

(Through Rose-Coloured Glasses)

Just last week, we were busy trying to squeeze two funeral services into one weekend. I guess at my age, this is becoming more frequent. The first one is the mother of an old friend, and the other is a relative of a relative. As a matter of fact, I have never met this vague relation before. We ended up going to one visitation on Friday, and the funeral service of the other on Saturday.

Friend’s mom was 95, as everyone said, she lived a long full life. We stood around and chatted up a storm; shaking hands, hugging, and reconnected with friends we haven’t seen since our university days, and promised ourselves we shoud be in contact and get together more frequent, but are also well aware, we will meet again under such circumstances.

Relative’s relative also had a full life. After retirement, he actually threw his whole energy and dedication to the development of several construction projects and of the training of numerous engineers in China. His daughter’s eulogy touched my soul and opened my eyes. She said, the essence of life, is not the numbers of breath you take, but the numbers of moment that take your breath away. Yes, that completely took my breath away. Food for thought, for an old man.

Only a few months ago, we said goodbye to another old friend. We were closed, but drifted apart after graduation. We saw him just the Christmas before, in a gathering. He was complaining about a back pain, but blamed it on too much snow shovelling. Then we heard, he was in hospital, diagnosed with recurrence of kidney cancer. He was surrounded and well looked after by a group of dedicated friends, who took care of his finance, and ran all his daily chores , visited him daily in hospital, brought him his favourite food, newspaper and DVD, to ensure his comfort. I visited him once in hospital. He was wasted away slowly, but content. A few weeks later, he was gone, surrounded by his faithful friends.

Ming was the only child of my good friends. We even took him on our trips in the summer. People always thought he was our eldest. A year ago, I got a call from his dad. They were in China, and Ming developed this cough and xray showed shadows in the lung. TB, I jumped to conclusion. He came home. Further testing were inconclusive and took over a month to find the cause, malignant lung cancer, so virulent that spread quickly and destructively. I wished it was TB, at least that was curable. Within a few months, he was gone. His funeral was the most excruciatingly painful one. It was attended literally by hundreds and hundreds of people, and mostly young people. We tried to comfort the parents. In silence, we felt their pain and loss. We uttered no words. Life was so unjust. We shaked our heads slowly, murmuring, only the good died young. He was not even thirty.

And now something to cheer about. The big date is almost upon us. Our classmate Donny (WYK 65) is getting married tomorrow. The lovely couple met on the dance floor, and have not stop dancing ever since. So you think you can dance? Ask Donny first. Last time I was in Calgary and called him up, he was naturally on the dance floor again, with his significant other half, talking to me on his cell. They plan to take a cruise, after the wedding, to sail into the sunset, while dancing on the cruise deck. What a fairy tale ending, and live happily ever after. Congratulation, Don & Eliza. A new drug has just come out, Don, for your special occasion. Priligy, that’s the name, check it out. In the mean time, to commemorate the event of the year, here, this is for you.

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