Lessons On Living From The Dying And The Dead

As I was posting my thoughts on this quote, “What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it”, mom walks by. She tells me that the grandfather who was hospitalised recently had just passed away.

“Oh,” I kept typing and writing.

Lately, she’s been receiving so many of such news. So and so got hit and mugged and hospitalised and is in coma. So and so fell down and is in coma. So and so suddenly passed on. And the list goes on.

It’s not what I’d like to hear first thing in the morning, but I guess there isn’t a “good time” to share these kind of things so it can’t be helped.

But to be honest, when she first broke the news, I wasn’t surprised and I wasn’t moved. Maybe I’m numbed by it all but a few seconds was all it took for me to realise I’m being selfish.

When the awareness of my attitude hit me, I paused what I was doing.

Mom was already halfway down the stairs when I responded more to the news. He is Jeffery’s father, and we see them at church most Sundays.

I don’t even know his name… All I remember is that I saw him sitting alone by the pillar once and served him Chinese tea. His whole face lighted up from that simple gesture and I remember his smiling eyes.

I wonder if that’s the reason why I got an Ang Pow from him this year? When I bumped into him at the car park I thanked him and he was all smiles and laughs again. He is such a joyful person.

I cannot remember what we said for that few seconds, but the point is that we connected briefly before he left.

Ironically, earlier this morning, I grabbed a book to read, and of all books, it was Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It’s about a young man recording the last dying moments of an old man–and the lessons learnt.

A passage caught my eye.

“…he refused to be depressed. Instead, Morrie had become a lightning rod of ideas. He jotted down his thoughts on yellow pads, envelopes, folders, scrap paper. He wrote bite-sized philosophies about living with death’s shadow:

“Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do”; “Accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it”; “Learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others”. “Don’t assume that it’s too late to get involved.”

More than an Ang Pow, that is The Grandfather’s gift to me today.

Lessons on living.

It’s the simple things–like serving an elderly a cup of tea–that fills a heart with Joy. Take the time to notice them–all they want is to be noticed. They don’t ask for much. Are they not worth our time?

“Give me a second…” this silent request is in the eyes of every living being. Who are you noticing today? Who are you acknowledging?

Today, I want to remember to notice what I’m noticing… To be more present to the people around me and acknowledge their presence in my life… Sometimes, all it takes is just a few seconds–those few seconds can mean so much more when I let others be a part of it. 

Right now, in my mind’s eye, I can still see his smiling eyes. What a Gift.

Every second of your life matters. Who are you sharing it with today?




“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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