Had a long weekend, but not in a good way. Woke up with a shocking message that made me really jumped out of bed. I was still intending to sleep an hour more and I am so glad that I actually decided to turn on my 3G just to check my phone first.
It was a devastating news of Daddy Poh’s sudden death…
Called June immediately to find out her whereabouts and as expected, she was not in a state to talk at all. She was crying so hard and telling me how things are not gonna be the same again, and we just ended up crying together over the phone.
The line suddenly got cut off and all I managed to know is that she’s at her aunt’s place. I wanted to go down immediately, I wanted to be there for her, but I did not manage to get the address.
I was kinda at a loss of what to do too, because I know she’s not in the right state to talk as much as I wanted to be there for her, to comfort her, to cry together. I did not know what exactly happened, did not know any of the details but I did not want to ask, I just wanna be there. But all I could do was to wait for her text instead, which eventually came, thankfully.
Got the address for the wake, which is just 2 stops away from my house. I had this impulse to go down right away because I wanna do something, I wanna be there to help Daddy Poh for one last time, and that’s the fastest way I can do so. But the wake wouldn’t start until evening, so I could only wait, again.
While waiting, I thought of the last time I saw Daddy Poh… It was when he came to fetch us back from Bintan trip. I remember I was envious of June, because after an exhausting trip or a tiring class, Daddy Poh would always make the effort to come down to fetch her. And he would always offer to drop me somewhere too. I remember after dropping me off at the bus-stop, he was still worrying if that bus-stop really has got bus for me to get home. He has always treated me like his own daughter, even though we had not known each other for long, and I never thought that’s gonna be the last time I saw him.
I recalled all the little memories he left behind – the first time Mummy June brought me to Club 5 and I met him, he was so happy to see me. And when people started asking if I’m his daughter, he joked, “做我女儿好啊，这样我每次有人请客。”
I recalled how he never failed to ask “要吃东西吗？” after each outing, and then June and I would smile to each other, because we know that’s his standard question. Then he would bring us to the places with good food even if we did not answer…
I remember there was once when he came to fetch us after our Zumba class, he brought us for lunch at Tanjong Pagar and because I was not hungry, I did not order anything. I accompanied June to order her noodle instead and it took quite a while, by then Daddy Poh would have finished his chicken soup. When we got back to the seat, he had indeed finished his meal, but he saved half of the soup and chicken, specially for me.
I recalled the first time he taught me how to dance in Club 5, how I kept stepping on his feet but he was so patient with me, he continued to guide me till the song finished. He was a fantastic dancer, a great teacher…
I recalled the first time we sang together, on the stage in front of all the strangers. I was too shy to sing alone, so I kept choosing songs and asking if he knows how to sing. We finally settled on 萬芳’s 新不了情, and although at the end of it he said it would have been nicer if I had sung it alone, I am still glad that I had sung it with him, for the first and last time.
When I finally met June at the wake, we hugged right away and cried so hard together. She told me Daddy Poh collapsed after his first dance at Club 5 on Friday night, and she was supposed to go down, but she was tired after her Chinese dance and gave it a miss. Till today, she blames herself for not going down, though everything would still have been the same. The doctor said 3 of his arteries have been blocked, resulting in a heart attack… He never had any heart problem previously, nor any symptoms, that’s how sudden it is.
We went to take a look at Daddy Poh and he was lying inside peacefully, but it felt like a dream, like a nightmare. It’s a scene you cannot believe seeing, and June was devastated. When she cried so hard and told me “I built my life around him“, I could feel it somehow, I could understand it somehow – the feeling of you making someone your world and suddenly this person is gone, completely; it escalated my fear.
Just 1 month ago during the Bintan trip, she was just sharing with us that Daddy Poh introduced her as the woman that he’s going to marry, and she was obviously so happy and excited over it. We were all teasing her and getting excited for her too. They were supposed to move in together very very soon, but all hopes are dashed now…
I did not know what to say to her, I did not know how to console her, all I could do was to sit by her and listen to her agony. She cried with the arrival of each guest, she cried whenever she has to repeat what happened to each of them. It’s like she’s going through the torture over and over again. She kept saying there is no point leading a healthy life anymore, neither is there a point continuing all her dance classes anymore. She had given up all her hopes and was spouting nonsense, and she had lost her signature laughter for sure. She could hardly eat, but we were glad to see her finally eating a few mouthfuls of the porridge that her god-daughter – Emily got her.
As much as I am sad for the sudden loss of Daddy Poh, I am even more heartbroken to see her this way. As a friend, as a mummy, she has always been my pillar of strength. The days when I needed someone to talk to, she just cancelled her classes and met me right away. Even though I knew I’m not gonna be strong enough to control my tears, I just wanna be there for her, even if it means to cry together, why not?
So I stayed there throughout the wake on day 1, from only the few of us till guests started arriving and leaving. There wasn’t much that I can help other than serving drinks, but that was good enough, that’s the least I can do for Daddy Poh, and of course staying by June’s side and comforting her. I made a promise to him there and then, which is to take care of June and help her as much as I can.
Did not manage to have a good sleep and I had to wake up for hot yoga the next morning. I couldn’t stop yawning in class and I was just mad tired. Didn’t help that I was standing under the hottest area and it became the most torturous 90 minutes. I gave up at the last 20 minutes. It was way too stuffy and hot; I couldn’t breathe. Needless to say, I wasn’t in a mood at all.
Rushed back home because the little prince is coming over. He’s really like a VIP; Bro repeatedly asked me to buy Yakult back for him (Isaac) and we also cleaned the fish tank to welcome him~
So glad to have this naughty boy to make my day a little. Went down to the wake again at night and I was relieved to see June looking much much much better. She was at least able to stop crying for quite a while and laugh at jokes. She also managed to eat and drink up the coffee that I bought her… Such a relief.
Brought my laptop along because Kelly wanted to play some dance music for Daddy Poh, which I thought is a great idea. Because he is a free-thinker, everything about the wake is so simple. No music, no joss sticks, no offerings or whatsoever initially, until we placed some food there. “吃饱饱才能上路”, as said by Kelly.
Stayed till the end of the wake again and we were all hoping that June can stay as strong the next day, which is the toughest part – the cremation. Went back and wrote a letter to Daddy Poh, as taught by Kelly, telling him all the things that I did not get to say to him. It indeed made me feel much better.
Took a day’s leave on Monday to send Daddy Poh off… Buddy told me I shouldn’t be crying along because that would make June cry even more, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. The moment I stepped in and saw her crying over his coffin, I let it all out too. It’s heart-wrenching, really.
We all stood by her while she spent her last moment with him, and when it’s time to go, I witnessed the side of her that I had never seen, the side of her that I never wanna witness again. It was how it’s like in TV dramas, equally devastating. I completely lost control of my tears too.
There weren’t many people sending him off, and it was only a short walk from the funeral parlour to Zi Du An, thankfully, because I couldn’t stop crying throughout the journey. I was basically shaking. I think this is my second time sending someone off; the first was my dearest grandfather, but I was only 6, I could hardly feel anything. I never wanna go through it again, though I know it’s impossible.
I recalled all the memories I had with him, and I recalled news about people waking up from the coffin due to the doctor’s mistake or something. I was actually hoping for that to happen even at the last minute, right before he got cremated. It’s just too hard to believe that he is gone forever after this.
Although I did not know him for a long time, his kindness towards me is something that I really appreciate and will never wanna forget. It’s really unfair that god has decided to take such a nice man away, and away from Mummy June, who had already been through a lot.
After the swift but excruciating cremation, the few of us – Kelly, Emily, Emily’s fiance, June’s cousin and I stayed with her. Since there were still a few hours left before the collection of the ashes, we went to some Island Country Club to let her breathe some fresh air.
We were all so glad that she pulled through the hardest part. Hopefully she continues to stay strong…
June’s cousin drove us back before rushing off for her flight. There were a few procedures to go through and it wasn’t an easy process once again. When it was all over, Emily, Kelly and I accompanied her back home and helped her with whatever she needed help with. Although there was no man around to help, the 3 of us managed to help her re-arrange her furnitures in the new house and cleaned up a little. Now that Daddy Poh is not around to help her, this is really the least that we can do for her…
Accompanied her back to her aunt’s house, where she would be staying for these few days. Finally felt relieved to leave her, as long as she’s not alone. It had been a long and exhausting day, but no one would have been more exhausted than her. I just hope she gets better and goes back her happy-go-lucky self again. I’m gonna miss her laughter.
As much as we all wish this had been a nightmare, it isn’t. Daddy Poh has left us forever. But I know somewhere out there, he would still be June’s guardian angel…
Dedicating this song specially for you. May you rest in peace.