Albert and i took compassionate leave from our organisation and went back to hong kong for 10 days, from 28th Dec till 8th of Jan.
my sister-in-law, Ming fai's wife, and alber'ts second sister and her husband, picked us up from the airport. She lost so much weight, and her face was sunken. We were briefly told about the funeral arrangement of fai in the car. Yan, my sister-in-law was so calm and composed.
The rest of the week was pretty much a routine. Albert will see his mum, and guide her in the physio exercise at the common park in her estate. I will then join them for lunch, together with our second sister and her husband. Mainly because they have retired. After lunch, we will either rest in the house or go out to run some errands or do some shopping. Sometimes, we will wait till evening and albert will walk his mum to the park again, do some physio. I stayed in the flat, read some paper or entertainment magazine. I just thought albert and his mum needed some private moments.
We normally have dinner at his sister's flat as well. Dinner was always tasty and delicious. We had scallop , fish, chinese herbs soup and abalone at home. I enjoyed it very much. After dinner, we usually hang around in front of the TV, watched soaps and chat.
We left mother-in-law's place around 10.30 pm and went back to diamond hill, the flat that albert's younger brother, Ming Fai, used to stay.
The first week was fine. Life seemed normal for everyone. Mum, sisters-in-law and yan spoke about Fai without being emotional. So, i thought, the grief was over for them. Fai passed away on 25th November. It's been 5 weeks since the incidence. I thought they are slowly accepting it and recovering from it.
On the other hand, i also can't help but think that maybe everyone was suppressing their emotions when we talked.My mother-in-law looked fine, so they say. Later i found out that during those private moments in the park, she told Albert that she didn't want to appear sad in front of my sister-in-laws. That pretty summed up my observation.
Sunday, January 6th, 2008
Everything was fine untill 6th of January 2008, Fai's funeral. The ceremony started at 6 pm. It was a non-christian ceremony, so we were not much involved in the folding of paper-money and burning. We arrived and for the first time, we saw his body.
We stood there, staring at it, and we burst into tears. He looked so different now, mainly becoz long gap since his death. I could hardly recognised him. We were in so much agony. We cried and we prayed. We prayed and we cried.
Fai's boss gave a speech. I got to know much more about my brother-in-law from the speech. He talked us through how he manage 200-300 employees and increased the company business by 3 to 4 fold. How everyone liked him, and his remarkable social skills.How he is being promoted to take charge of the division in Shang hai in due course but unfortunately..... I cried and cried.
In my mind i kept on asking : God why? Why at the age of 37? Isn't that too early? Why such young man, with so much talent and intelligence, why take him away? I was sad, but frustrated at the same time. I blamed God for taking him away from us so soon. Albert too was guilty.. we should have called him more often, or chat with him like a friend. We regret that we didn't have much time with him in the recent years. He was very much tied up at work. His colleagues know and see him much more than we do.
We could hardly sleep that night. Sleeping in Fai's flat with his wedding photo hanging on the wall didn't help either. I was thinking, maybe tomorrow when i see Fai, he is alive and can talk to me again like he used to. It hurt so much that this can't be reversed. I can't undo like how i can click the undo icon on microsoft word, or backspace. He is no longer with us, which i don't want to accept either.
One of Albert's sister said Fai hasn't really left. My mother-in-law said the same. She will still wait for Fai's call 3 months later. Albert cried when he heard that. Maybe denial at this stage make it less painful and more palatable....
Monday 7th January 2008
11am, ceremony began. Fai's body was moved into the coffin. We went round placing a rose next to him. The coffin was then sealed. Albert cried like a baby. So did everyone else.
The body was then cremated. Yes, reduced to ashes.
When i questioned God on saturday, a thought came to me. God is gracious, i have to trust that He is love. We have to be responsible for our own actions and not blame God. We were told that both of Fai's legs were broken when his body was found. Maybe God took him away because it will be less painful for Fai. I shared this with Albert and he felt the same after his own prayer.
Tuesday, 8th January 2008
Yan drove us to the airport. We chat over coffee. Then, for the first time, we were told of the event, how the accident actually happened. It was a tragic car accident and Fai died on the spot, without much pain. We read the report. This confirmed what i felt last night. God didn't make him suffer much. He left in peace. More importantly,i realised that in this event, God was not to be blamed. We have to be responsible for our own actions.
Although it is extremely difficult, i have to trust that God does not make mistake and He is gracious. To learn that, it may take my whole lifetime.
Althought short in comparison, Fai's 37 years on earth was well lived. Yan said she is very proud of Fai and he has been a very good husband. Albert said he has been a great son in the family, taking care of the family's need when albert is in UK for the past 20 years. Fai's friend never stop praising him. How he has always been helpful and keeping in touch with his school mates. Fai's colleagues and managers all liked him, for how he has contributed so much, and going that extra mile for the company. He did much more than he's been called for.
Fai's departure had make us question what we do and why we do, and where we are and why. Where are we investing our time... and what really matters in life..
We miss you ming fai....