Lim: Love, loss and life

·3 min read

My friend just lost the love of her life. And she is inconsolable. There is no loss greater than death. No loss is more permanent, more searing, more devastating. But I can only tell her that with time, the pain will ease.

Grief is a process we must all go through after losing someone we love. It can be brief or it can be prolonged. Give yourself all the time you need. Grieve on your own timeline. Loss of life is permanent. It cannot be reversed.

One does not move on from death, one simply moves forward—knowing life will never be the same again but that you can be happy again. Perhaps not now. Not yet. Maybe, not even soon. But one day, for certain. Believe me, El.

Oftentimes, we feel life is unjust. And it is. Oftentimes, we feel our prayers are not answered. Perhaps, we just did not like God’s answers. Oftentimes, we feel God has abandoned us. Fear not. He has not.

I don’t know why God chose to take your husband’s life early. But I know that God has a plan for each of us. It’s a plan we must trust. And while this is difficult to do in the face of great pain, this is the essence of faith.

To trust without knowing. To put our lives in the hands of someone we have never seen. To surrender our fears, our fate and our future to a Higher Being.

Why do the good die early? Others don’t deserve to live another day and yet they seem immune from death or disease.

I recognize that life is not just. But instead of losing sleep over why this is so, I choose to accept the things I cannot change and fight fiercely, instead, for the things that I can.

I also lost someone recently. I first met her 36 years ago. We lost touch for a while but eventually reconnected. In the last 10 years or so, I paid her a visit every time I was in the United States.

I loved our annual conversations. She was an intellectual and it was a joy to pick her brain. Interestingly, housework was therapeutic for both of us. Maybe, that’s what drew me to her. She was a bit of an eccentric. Just like me.

The last time I saw her, I thanked her for many things. I hugged her tight and said good-bye. That was in 2019. We lost her a week ago. She was 80. It was a privilege to know you, Dr. Pilar O. Tan, MD. Thank you for everything—but most especially for your love and friendship. I will miss you. Will you hug Mama for me?

Death, they say, comes like a thief in the night. It catches us by surprise. So swiftly and unexpectedly it comes into our lives that it leaves us, almost always, stunned, lost and grief-stricken.

But in life, death is a given. You can live in fear. Or you can live with faith. You can live with regret. Or you can live with courage. Love deeply. Fight fiercely. Hug tight. Laugh loud. Dream big. Work hard.

Do not cede even one moment of your life to mediocrity. Live well. Live now.

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