Seeing as how my life has been filled with death-related music this past month (both concerts in Singapore focus on this topic, purely by chance), I felt inspired today to share some personal thoughts on this.
Many of us avoid talking openly about Death - some are pantang (Malay for superstitious), some have suppressed all too well their loss and grief, and most of us have an innate fear of our end.
My mum recently became a volunteer at the Nectar Care Service and the Dover Hospice Park, and that has opened my eyes to so much and helped me a little in accepting and understanding this unknown and yet huge part of our lives. Knowledge and Awareness do help allay fears. And to cut a long story short: Death is inevitable to us all.
Easy to say. And yet, when that moment arrives, it is never easy letting go. It will never be.
Which brings me to this important daily reminder: To live every waking moment like it's my last, and to treat every relationship, no matter how brief, with the respect it deserves.
It reminds me not be too proud or ashamed to say (and to mean it!): I'm sorry, I forgive you, and I love you. It reminds me to be grateful, and not to wait till it's too late to thank the people in my life for every little bit of kindness that comes my way. Lastly, it reminds me not to be hurtful or say things I'll regret the next morning. Tough, but I will try my best. For these are what make it so hard for us to leave this world behind - the people, our relationships, and all we have shared.
While in Switzerland, this beautiful butterfly landed on my finger for the longest time - I took it on a walk and it flew back even after I attempted to introduce a plant as an alternative resting pad ;) It was magical. And it made me think of Inger Christensen's Butterfly Valley:
"that white soul on whose wing-mirror is drawn / the evanescent nature of all things / what is it doing in this gloomy air? / Is it the grief my life has overtaken / concealed by the perfume of mountain brush?" (excerpt)
The butterfly valley is not just a symbol of life's volatility and fragility, but also its beauty and transformational powers. I like to think of my swiss butterfly as a hello from the loved ones who have left us for another world. You are constantly in my heart. And I will always be grateful for having met you, for the time we spent together, no matter how fleeting.
Here's to Life - one without regrets.