Thursday, February 10, 2011


Che (elder sister in Hokkien) is gone again. There seems to be too many departures in the past few years. But with every departure, I've learnt that there is a returning , a reunion, the happy act of coming together again, and there is a better appreciation of the one who was gone for a little while.

A month seems long. Six months seem longer. A couple years, even longer. But the truth is, life's momentum is so fast, and with moments slipping through our fingers all the time and never coming alive again--other than in our memories--few months are really a short while. Life itself is already a temporary affair, a tiny dot of matter compared to the eternity we'll get to live in heaven. What less a fraction of a lifetime?

I've come to terms with the awareness that separation cannot be separated from life. Separation from family. Separation from a childhood friend. Separation from the familiar things in life. Separation from things I would rather not lose. At those moments of separation, I had cried, felt utterly lost, overcome by melancholy and anger. I had convinced myself that life sucked. But I have also moved on, observed things in a different light and toughened up.

Che's long term absence in Malaysia for the first time will be quite hard on our family; at first, at least. Unlike the couple years when her job was based in Singapore, she wouldn't be able to take an hour flight back home anymore. We would no longer be seeing her two or three times a month. This time, it's two or three times a year. Suddenly, Shanghai seems so far away. I'm still not fully comprehending the effects of not seeing her long term. However, no matter how big a change this will be for me, I know it's an even more frightening experience of uncertainty for Che. Even though she is not alone as she is leading a new life with her husband this time, I saw how especially hard the departure was for her through the bucketful of tears that she shed when we sent Jeremy and her off at KLIA two nights ago. I guess we can never get too used to going far away from home.

But she'll eventually get used to Shanghai. She may even fall in love with the place. And we will get used to life without her physical presence. It will not take long before they return home and we adapt to a new change all over again. Who knows, it may then be my turn to separate from home.

And life goes on.

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