I could only sit still in silent sympathy as I watched him digest the news of the passing of one of his closest friends. The abridgement was overwhelming and his staggered silence was the greatest testament of all to his loss.
The passing of one individual that day rattled the entire household and unnerved us all. It felt like He took away something or someone that was part of our lives in one instant and then expunged all emotional connection and relation that was ever existent and replaced our temporary void hearts with that of blissful ignorance. At least that was how I felt...
The suddenness was unsettling, epsecially towards him. I feel for him because to be at such an age now where you have fewer friends and even fewer true friends, this loss is significant. Plans for the entire day were cancelled in exchange for self-imposed mourning. Walking down the lonely path of remembrance was what he needed as he viewed flashbacks after flashbacks of his own vivid hallucinatory images of what once was and what it could have been.
I pitied him even more so as I approached him. The creases and wrinkles on his face was deeper and more defined that afternoon, filled with deep apprehension and sorrow. There was nothing much I could do, or say...as I walked away. I knew he was embracing this loss and strengthening himself up. It was the only thing he was in control of, his feelings.
As I comtemplated on this turn of events, I realized how old he has become and how fragile he is becoming. Time which was once a measure of wealth has now become a gauge for longevity. The permanence of his existence and purpose in this world are now measurable, distinct and variable. I knew he felt like what if it was him instead.
And I can relate to his feelings. After all, the person in question was a man of great stature with enviable humility. He was one who despite his achievements overseas, remain a very down to earth man and to be in his presence was to be humbled by him. A person who placed his family first above all else, a man who provided unceasingly and abundantly and a friend who cared unconditionally and indiscriminately. It is also because of all these traits that he was highly valued by his company, widely known for his commitment and dedication beyond his scope of responsibilities.
When I looked back at the man sitting downstairs, I see so much resemblance in both and I feared the worse. I can only pray and hope to Him that he will start to realize that he is still working too hard for his age and he should start to let go, first by learning to trust others and then loving himself more. It would be such a pity for one to work so tirelessly and provide ever abundantly only to not able to enjoy the fruits of your own labour and nurture your legacy in the end. That man left behind a wife and a daughter and I sincerely pray for them to be strong in weathering the life ahead.
At the end of the day, I thought to myself that life is not so much about getting the highest paying job or the most rewarding job or the best track to career supremacy. Working should be viewed as a way of life, not living your life away with it.
I could only imagine that family's loss when I think of the things that their father would have wanted to do with them still, the marriage in which he wished to walk his daughter down the aisle with, the grandchild he had hoped to carry one day and knowing that at the end of his tenure on earth one day, he could finally rest satisfactorily knowing that his life was not measured by the number of breaths he had taken but by the number of moments that took his breath away. I sincerely wished that for him for he was such a fine man. But often in life, we do not get what we want, sometimes not even what we wanted for others.
It is cruel...
I will never look at certain things the same again because seeing one man who has already done it, and living with one who is doing it is not an easy task. As much as how we are all taught to believe that everything happens for a reason and God always has plan for everything, I could easily as well look at my life in a perspective of a half-full glass rather than a half-empty glass.
But there is another side of this 'glass' story that few of us realize. Imagine holding a glass filled with water. It is not about how heavy the glass is or what is the weight of the water inside. The key lies in how long do we hold this glass. It is easy to hold it for a few meager minutes but as the duration lengthens and the minutes become hours and the hours become days (if that is even possible), the act becomes tougher until it reaches impossibility. It is simply the longer we hold it, the heavier it becomes.
Looking back at our life and how we balance it with our work, holding this same glass of water reminisces the way we handle our work stress. If we carry our burden all the time and bring home our stress for the most parts, sooner or later this uncompromising weight will come crashing down on us. We have to learn to put things down for awhile like resting the glass of water after a few minutes only to carry it again, and again and again. When we are refreshed, we can continue on carrying the burden.
Work is never ending but our life will end one day so learn to let things go everyday and never carry it home. You can just easily pick it up tomorrow.
As to the bereaved family, I pray for them strength and hope that they do see the only way to show others that they are strong is to be weak in their hearts, but stay remembered...