As a volunteer contributor (or at least I will be after this post goes live) I thought that I could talk about death. Having come so close to dying at the tender age of 23, I thought that I was brave enough to talk about things that many of us fear. I thought that I had the courage to stare death in the eye again, and not be fazed by it.
I was wrong.
I was in Bali last weekend, on what was supposed to be a birthday trip and well, a digital detox trip. Being the millennial that I am, I couldn’t help but sneak glances at my iPhone. To the utter disgust of my travelling partner, I soon found myself peeking at my work emails.
Just two minutes to check that nothing slipped through the cracks, I begged as a mail from my chairman caught my eye.
“All, it is with deep sadness and regret that I am writing to inform you that our colleague and friend, J passed away yesterday morning following an aneurysm”
I stared at the phone, read and reread the line, wondering if I got that right. J joined my firm less than two weeks ago, and just a few days before we had a casual conversation in the corridors. I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of my lungs, and that I couldn’t breathe.
Saying a little prayer for J and her family, I put my phone aside. With the distracting song of the sea playing by my ear, I soon forgot about J.
I got back to work a couple of days later. Numerous deadlines meant that I didn’t have the time to think about J. We had a number of projects going on and I urgently needed the help of a Japanese freelancer, D. He wasn’t responding to his emails so I decided to give him a call.
A chirpy, mechanical voice of a Japanese female greeted me, narrated a few lines of Japanese, before hanging up on me.
Maybe D changed his number. We weren’t close enough to be Facebook friends, so I emailed our Japanese outfit to ask for his updated contacted details.
“Kimberley, D passed away last year. Would you like the contact of another freelancer?”
I had to leave the office and take a walk. I didn’t even get the chance to ask what exactly happened to D as our Japanese colleague got straight down to business.
D was someone that was sort of a grandfather figure. He wasn’t that old but his corporate profile picture depicted a jolly middle aged man, slightly on the more rounded side. He would send longwinded emails, detailing his entire thought process but I knew that I could trust him to get the work done.
With my oncology appointment less than a week away, it felt like fate was playing a cruel trick on me, taunting me and teasing me, reminding me that I could just be next.
I’m not ready to die. I really am not. But I guess the only thing that I can do is be ready to live.
Live boldly. XOXO
Post originally published at www.gooddeath.org.sg