Lim: Missing you

Melanie T. Lim

IT'S been a year and I miss you, still. I know you’re never coming back and it was hard for me in the beginning to wrap my head around that. I’m an adult and I fully understand what death is.

Sometimes, though, it has nothing to do with what your mind can grasp but what your heart cannot let go.

But time has been kind. God has been good. Life has been great. This doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t miss you anymore or that I don’t want you back.

Sometimes, I don’t want to think because thinking about you makes me tear up.

There are a lot of things I miss about you but perhaps what I miss most about you was your quiet presence, your fortitude, your patience.

You always said you didn’t have to raise your voice to make a point. Unfortunately, I’m the ranting, raving kind, burning calories all the time. I don’t need to be in the gym to get my heart rate up.

But I want you to know that all is not lost. I can’t be you but I stepped up. The moment you left, I took over immediately. My sisters ribbed me about that. It wasn’t hard, though. I’ve been in training for 20 years—maybe longer, maybe all my life.

How lucky I was to have had you for 54 years. Everything I know today, you taught me. Was it hard for you to have a daughter so unlike you? And yet, while we were so different, I am, ironically, the one most like you—I jest, the best housewife that never was.

Were you happy? Did you live a good life? Did you have regrets? Was it enough? Did you want to do more? I hope the joy you had in your life far outweighed the pain.

Do I still cry? Of course I do. Every time I think of you.

When I see all your favorite snacks at the supermarket shelves—it tugs at my heart. When I saw Jewel, Changi, it broke my heart. You would have loved this urban paradise—good food, beautiful gardens, great shopping!

Everywhere I go, I think of you. Now I understand how you felt when you told me you wished you could have taken your mother around the world because you knew she would have loved it.

Today, I walk in your shoes and think of all the places I could still have taken you. We took many trips together but when you love someone, it is never enough.

When I look back at our last trip together, though, I smile. Remember the fabulous sunset from our room—the sunset only you and I could appreciate and our boring travel companions panned?

“When you travel, you go for the best. If you want to save, you stay home.” You always told me this. Well, I’m glad I pulled out all the stops. I didn’t know it would be the last trip we’d take together but I’m glad I went for the best.

I’ve finally dreamt of you, Ma. Twice now. You had no words for me. That’s okay. Seeing you again was enough—even though it was only in my dreams.

Love’s like that.