This morning, I sat at my computer and cried. I had just read the passing of someone called Joyce Tan Siew Ling who lived in Malaysia. Now, I am not the type to mourn the passing of lives from this world to the next. After all, we are all here on borrowed time, and Death was the only thing that was ever promised to us at birth. It comes to us all sooner or later.
But I cried, despite my rationale, despite my training, despite my many encounters with death.
Joyce and I didn't know each other in the real world, but we had reached out to each other in cyber space. You see, we were both afflicted with cancer. I fought mine with vengeance; Joyce embraced hers serenely and dealt with it with a smile that never left her face. She had smiled gracefully throughout whilst I roared and snarled and lashed out. "It's OK, sister," she once wrote to me.
My God, where did she get her courage from? A few days before she died, she wrote this:
This week has been a very difficult week for me.
Monday :vomitted for 24 hours
Tuesday :high fever due to infection
Wednes : I have to be on wheel chair because severe pain.
However knowing that these times are hard but they will pass makes it bearable.
The last few days I have been receiving kindness from this Bodhi Internal centre. I am on the receiving end. The Master really go out his way to ensure his patients' wellbeing. He is doing qi kong treatment for me by transfering the qi into my internal system.
Being stage 4 , I see instant improvement.
I have faith that under this kind hearted Master, I will be healed eventually.
A few days after she wrote this update of her week, she died, and a light was put out in the world.
It matters how we lived, rather than the assets we have amassed or the achievements we have piled on. And in the way Joyce chose to live, she made a difference to my life. She touched me profoundly and made me want to be a better person.
Poignantly, she wrote this on the 25th of August:
Can we be nicer and kinder ?
I make it a point to say Thank you to the toilet cleaner as I leave;
I make the effort to smile at the Bangla that sweeps the public park;
I smile and compliment the waitress on her look;
I acknowledge the South Indian waiter by his name at my favourite mamak stall;
I smile and nod at the roadside foreign construction worker (i guess is safe for auntie like me to do that).
I may not see these strangers again. Yet I want to make them feel good about themselves because we all want to be acknowledged and appreciated.
These are the little little things I can do for others.
It could bring JOY to them.
She wrote so meaningfully and so beautifully though she does not have the wide readership that I do. So here I am, sharing her message of love, hope and kindness, in tribute to the life of this woman who lived quietly, joyously and always with a big smile on her face.
From Buddha Doodles comes this sketch:
In celebration of all you stood for, my friend. RIP.
First published in www.lifeGO.me