What One Year Without My Mum Taught Me…

November 15, 2013


This memorial post comes 7 days late but I still wanted to post it anyway cos it’s a significant one year that had gone past.

It’s amazing how time flies..

When I first had to deal with losing my mother, I was really thankful for a very supportive network of friends and family. And rather than wallowing in self pity and misery, I turned to the Lord and He blessed me with this verse, “Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4”.

The Lord will never let you bear a weight that you cannot handle. He shall comfort you because He never allow you to remain sorrowful. Because His will is for you to rejoice in Him always.
In my mum’s last days, she kept telling me, “Be strong okay? Mummy has to go any way. Life will always go on. So live your life to the fullest.”

Indeed, she was right. Life did go on.

And life will go on.

The one year without my mum taught me is what she has always been telling me all my life.

No matter rain or shine, happy or sad, the sun will rise again. And life will continue moving. So we have to choose to be strong.. especially for those who are still living.

This one year taught me about resilience.

I didn’t know that I had inherited my mum’s hardiness until I went through the ordeal of picking up the pieces. It wasn’t easy to cope with the emotional demands of grief and the physical demands of getting back to running a full-fledged business and getting back to daily life.

She knew she left me in good hands – in the hands of God… in the hands of my dearest Daddy and definitely in the hands of my hubby, Calvin.

My mum used to to tell everyone (from her doctors, to family and even friends) that I’m an emotional kid who was very attached to her and outwardly, I look strong but I crumble like a cookie.
I hope today she acknowledges that I’ve proven her wrong.

This one year taught me about happiness.

I realized cherishing the present is where happiness lies. And it was the very first time, I truly understood the meaning of “happiness is a choice”. And it is a choice we can actively make every single day – TO BE HAPPY.

It was a very liberating experience for me as I started to make a conscious effort to pursue different matters in a positive light. It made my relationships and interactions with people more fulfilling, more positive and see my life very differently than before.

This one year taught me about compassion.

Compassion is something intangible but can always be felt and seen. I’ve never really understood why my mother was ALWAYS giving. Giving gifts, giving smiles, giving calls of concern… (seriously, I think my Dad and I are the only things she’s never attempted to “give away” lol~) but anyway, it always made me feel that she was so busy with the whole world but not with me.
But in this year, I realized something and that is, it’s only when you give, will you receive.

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25

It is certainly more blessed to give than to receive. And it doesn’t have to be something expensive… it can be something as plain as a genuine compliment or even a smile.
I do miss my mum a lot… regardless of our litle squabbles and obstinate natures.

But life on Earth will always go on and she now resides in my heart and not a day goes by without missing her. Till we meet again…

In loving memory.. Lucy U Po (18 Sep 1956 – 8 Nov 2012)


(Part 3/4) 12 Things I Am Grateful For In 2012

December 21, 2012

The third thing I am grateful for is..

God’s Favor.

In particular, favor with the people whom I’ve met along the way this year.

Truth be told, I felt really ALONE earlier this year.. meaning to say, I felt like I was fighting a lone battle. Reason is because I felt that I couldn’t help my mother with her illness, I couldn’t get myself together and I didn’t want to burden Calvin with my family “problems”. I didn’t want to worry my father (simply because I felt he was stressed out enough) and so I’d rather keep up my brave front only to crumble inside.

But I really thank God that my family & I had favor with the people we met along the way.

Firstly, my mum’s presiding oncologist – Prof Simon Ong. He was a supportive, empathetic, wonderful doctor who really understood a patient’s needs and who really made an effort to clear a patient’s doubts, fears and worries. I felt that the security he was able to provide my mother was something that NO ONE could be able to offer her, apart from God. (LOL) He was supportive of both my father & I and really went out of his way to show his concern for my family. The gratitude towards him is really deep and I believe that things do not happen by chance and God introduced Prof Simon to us because He wanted us to be comforted throughout the journey.

Secondly, the nurses in the Ward 48, 78 of SGH. God really knew how to put the right people in our lives and to help us. And sometimes, I feel that we had good relationships with the nurses and they were able to care for my mother well.

My The Card Room wedding card printer, Shi Ling. I was panicking as I had to get my wedding cards printed in short notice and I had a budget I was working with. I just happened to find The Card Room through my online research and then I scheduled an appointment with Shi Ling. After going through the cards and talking further in the meeting, she was so helpful and willing to work within my budget and print the cards on time! Little did I know.. I bumped into her in church & found out she was attending NCC too!

My InterContinental banquet manager, Scarlet. There was actually several issues with my wedding banquet booking as it was actually made for 10 Nov 2012 and in the event of cancellation, the entire banquet fee was due. But she was perfectly helpful and willing to work with us to make the 31 March wedding possible!

And many more.. I’ll gradually add them to the list.

I really feel God’s footprints were everywhere throughout the year and I thank Him for letting me have favor with the people I meet.

After going through the year, I’m more aware of such divine occurrences/appointments/meetings that only God would have been possible to orchestrate. 🙂

Have you met someone whom you feel only God could have created that opportunity?

It could be His way of showing His favor & love to you! 😉



(Part 2/4) 12 Things I Am Grateful For In 2012

December 20, 2012

As I was reflecting on the second thing I’m grateful for, I was disrupted by a Whatsapp message and then when i finished replying.. What I saw were multiple Whatsapp chat groups. Each chat group had a different group of friends. I was totally stoked at how many quality & wonderful friendships I have developed over the years..

Being an only child, I’ve grown up relying on a lot of friends for company. I never felt alone or sad that I didn’t have siblings because my friends were always with me.. studying, playing sports, shopping.. you name it.

And this year, my friends were really a pillar of strength to me.. And I’m really grateful for them.

  • Ahmad Ibrahim secondary school girlfriends – AI Jie Mei
This was taken at Peiling’s 21st birthday. She and the 3 ladies at the back, Huai Yu, Yizhen & Shi Ling are what I call golden friends who just know the remedies for a bad day and really embrace my flaws. They have been supporting me throughout the years after secondary school and more so recently, when my mum fell ill. I can’t say how grateful I am to have their friendship.
  • Amber Gang
I simply love this group of friends cos we really grow together in life, experiences & have so much fun together.. 3 couples got married between 2011 to 2012 while in the group we have three very eligible bachelors too. Actually, this group is Calvin’s group of secondary school friends whom he is extremely close to. And they have been so wonderful to me ever since we dated and we just love spending evenings together – playing kinect, mahjong, chit chat and whatsoever. It’s never a dull moment!
  • Fuchun Primary friends – I’ve known them more than 14 years!

 Unfortunately, I can’t find a picture of the group! Cos it’s buried in my Facebook account and I can’t seem to find our group photo. Nonetheless, I’ve known them for more than 14 years now. It’s funny how cos we stay near each other in the same area of Woodlands, that we never lose touch! Our regular meeting place is Causeway Point. Go figure. 😛 But I’ve since moved out of the area.. but Whatsapp group is still very much alive!

  • JC – AC & YJ mates
3 months in ACJC was all it took for us to establish a long term friendship. The four of us have supported each other in every single way and we just love spending time chit chatting over a meal or playing board games. They are my friends who keep me rooted — rooted to a character of humility. LOL. Why? Cos they are really amazing people yet are humble of their achievements. Are not pretentious at all. I simply love them.
My YJ Makkals.. Haha.. I think that’s the word. This group is what I call ethnically diverse. NO way in a Singapore school can you find an almost equal no. of chinese, malay & indian in a class, except in my class. Maybe things are different now. But I remember walking into the class in sheer amazement. I learnt a lot from them and they have been so open & supportive of me regardless of race and religion.
  • NUS friends

Last but not least, the NUS friends. The funny thing is, I wasn’t in the same course as any of them. Haha.. I got to know them when I did cross modules in the Business school. I study Psychology but I had a strong interest in Marketing and hence, I think I took as many business modules as my core Psychology modules!  This group is interesting because.. despite coming from different backgrounds, workplaces, schools etc. we could converge cos of one thing – we just enjoy each other’s company. Chill out dinners, KTV sessions.. It’s a must-have after 2-3 months of jaded work in the workplace. Or so I think. Haha..

The friends I’ve made and their support in the past year is so important to me. Hence, I really treasure their friendships and will continue to cultivate them such that they can become life long relationships.

I hope you’ve got friends that you treasure as well.

Are you thankful to have them as well?

Is there anything special you can do for them in the coming year?

Let’s commit to having genuine friendships with others and treasure them. Do make the effort to let them know you care!

My wish for 2013 is for God to bless them with happiness and health and all of their hearts’ desires! Amen! 🙂

Chinese New Year, Events, Personal, Reflections

(Part 1/4) 12 Things I Am Grateful For In 2012

December 19, 2012

I was actually inspired by a Facebook post my friend, Adam made yesterday to start this series: 

But instead of thinking how to get my unfulfilled goals done in 12 days, it got me thinking about what has already been done in 2012 which I am grateful for. And this reflection has made me realized, there’s no way I can cram all into one post and so I decided to spread it across 12 posts. 1 per day starting from today and leading up to 2013.

The most unfortunate thing is, my blog has not been updated since 31 dec 2011. So there’s a lot of “catching up” to do. But I reckon, the 12 things that I’m going to share will probably cover how my life went for this year.

In short, this is NO ORDINARY YEAR. 

To be frank, when I was thinking of what I wanted to blog about and thought of 12 things I am grateful for for this year, I was squeezing my brain dry.

I initially had GREAT hopes for this year — my dream wedding, my honeymoon (thank God for providing us with a beautiful wedding & honeymoon which I will touch on in subsequent posts :)), my parents’ retirement, our first home, our business achievement of breaking the million dollar mark annual revenue for this year. But this year has got to be one of the most challenging years I have ever had in my entire 26 years life.

And I thank God for accompanying me through the ups and downs, for blessing me with a great family and with friends & leaders of great faith who stood by my family.

Before I get carried away..

The first thing I am grateful for in 2012 is quality time with my family. 

I will always remember Chinese New Year this year. It was the day before CNY eve when my mum had to be admitted in A&E for anemia. My mother has always been the “SuperMum”, Iron Lady to me and for the first time, she was weak, pale & frail. And the doc actually said if we had delayed her admission, she could have died from cardiac arrest from lack of oxygen in the body.

At that time, I had to witness my mother undergo blood transfusion cos her hB level was 4.3 which was dangerously low. A lot of pints. I can’t remember how many. And we requested for her discharge to spend CNY for one day before readmission. That she wanted too.

I still remember her telling me, “I feel like this is my last Chinese New Year” when we went out visiting on the first day and I just had tears in my eyes. The picture you see above, was taken with a heavy heart but still with a smile in my face as I always like to remain optimistic even in times of difficulty/uncertainty. Let me tell you, it’s not easy going house to house wishing everyone Happy CNY, and then return to the car to check if my mum was feeling alright.

On the first day of CNY, we went straight to hospital to be readmitted after all the visiting.

It was during the admission that my mother underwent further tests & was suspected to be with stomach cancer. The days of waiting for the results was really agonizing. My mum who knew the results still couldn’t bear to tell us. And when the doctor broke the news to me for her, I remember it was just sheer confusion and distraught. I remember going home, crying in my bed.. asking God why this had to happen.

But as I began to accept the news, it just made me treasure time with my mum & dad more.

I still remember during one of the consultations, Prof Simon Ong, my mum’s presiding oncologist said something like… cancer is a very destructive & curious disease. It’s devastating news to the family but somehow, it brings the best out of everyone as people start to make time for each other, seek spiritual help, find time for things that meant the most to them.

He was right.

I started trying to spend more time with my parents, as much as I could. But it was challenging as I had to manage commitments from the business, employee management and at the same time, deal with the falling USD & economic changes.

And I was the only child. (LOL)

But seriously, I did not have the luxury of calling a brother, a sister to help out in the family, to spend time with my mum on my behalf.. etc.

Hence, the emotional burden was actually really really heavy, that I started developing skin problems on my face (unnatural break outs).

But I felt it made me work harder to strike a balance (thank God for Calvin to keep me in check) and also to rest in God for Him to do His work in my life. It also made me treasure our time together more.

I think it made us more resilient against this unknown thing called cancer.

And I felt I finally got something back that I kinda lost from the past 3 years of working, to understand what was truly important to me — time with my family.

The last three months of my mum’s life was spent in and out of hospital. But that did not deter my father & I from going to the hospital to spend time with her almost every single day. Watching my mum indulge in her iced milos and say, “This is Simple Joy” and she glancing at us from the hospital bed to see what we were eating, reading or watching.. How she tells her guests “Thank you for coming”..

The pieces of advice she tells me with regards to life, “Don’t work so hard”, “Be kind to others”, “Be yourself”, “Be strong”, “Be nice to your husband (lol)” etc. are things I will keep in my heart.

All these memories I have of time spent together with my mum & dad… I am thankful to have them.

Right now, I treasure the people who continue to be important in my life even more and will continue making it a priority to spend quality time with them in the coming year.

I hope that encourages you some way to do so too. 🙂

Think about the people who are important to you.

Have you been spending as much time with them as you can to continue cultivating the relationship?

Why don’t you commit some more time in a month to just have a meal, catch a movie, have a coffee or even just be in each other’s presence?

You’ll realize how valuable time spent during interactions and relationships is, and it’s something which no amount of money can buy.

I hope you have benefited from my sharing.

Till the next post tomorrow to continue with the 2nd thing I’m grateful for in 2012.  Good night!

Events, General, Personal

My Eulogy

November 15, 2012

I was thinking twice whether I should post my eulogy on Facebook. But I felt that it’s something really personal which I would very much like friends or family to discover it on my personal blog, then for me to post it on Facebook which will appear as “READ ME! READ ME!” on the news feed.

It’s funny how this eulogy got written. It was written in a haste as I originally thought I would be delivering it on the day of the cremation. However, Pastor Pauline (the Pastor for the Memorial service) suggested that I delivered during the memorial service where most people are present.

Having to entertain guests and write an eulogy at the same time was NOT easy. Basically cos I had to keep my emotions in check while writing something that was so meaningful to me. I wanted to put in more thought and heart into it. But the presence of all the visitors.. friends, colleagues, family etc. actually made me realize the central theme of my eulogy — my mother’s unconditional love for others..

This eulogy is a tribute to my mother Lucy U Po (18 Sep 1956 – 8 Nov 2012) and I hope it speaks to you if you have known her. And if you don’t know of her, I hope this short synopsis of her life is suffice to give you reason to think about your own life and of how you can live it such that you too can say “I think I have lived my life well. I have no regrets”

—Start of Eulogy—

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. that’s why it’s called the Present.” Thank you everyone for being here. It’s the best present you have brought along for my family today. To my relatives who travelled from overseas to make it for today, thank you very much.

My name is Patricia, and I’m the only daughter of Lucy. I know you all know my mum personally in one way or another. It could be at school, at work, it could be in the neighbourhood or probably, simply because she’s my mum, or an aunt or cousin to you. But there’s only one way I know her. To me, she’s my dearest mother. The mum that I couldn’t have chosen but the mum whom I would choose again if I could.

My mum is an incredibly kind, helpful and generous person. She never fails to lend a helping hand to friends, family and even strangers. She makes the effort to know the bus 900 bus drivers, the cashiers at Shop & Save, the neighbour who just moved in and the child sitting across her in the MRT. Her smile is ever radiant and genuine that it warms even the coldest person in the room.

That’s how she stole my dad’s heart.

My mum is originally from the Philippines. She’s the baby of the Po family who grew up as a young, intelligent woman who later went to medical school with the plan of becoming a doctor. However, little did she know, my dad, her penpal for 14 years from Singapore, was to be her soulmate and life partner.

The first time my dad went to the Philippines was for a practical reason, to go on a holiday. He was choosing between the USA and Philippines but figured Philippines was nearer and cheaper. And he had a penpal who was excited to meet him for the very first time. My dad and mum always recall the faithful day with laughter. She was so excited about his arrival that she was jumping in the crowded airport to catch his attention and welcomed him with a beautiful smile.

That is the smile that stole my dad’s heart.

And that smile continued to radiate in so many people’s lives.

The friends, family, neighbours and colleagues who have stepped forth during the past few months to comfort her, console her and even care for her.. are the fruits of the seeds she has sowed in their lives over the past 56 years of her life.

When she was first diagnosed with cancer, she told the doctor, “I have no regrets. I think I have lived my life well.” Now I can’t help but agree.

As my father and I experience the love, care and concern from everyone during this journey, we truly understood the unconditional love my mother gave out of herself to those who crossed paths with her.

Today, in the presence of everyone, we want to say we are very proud of her – of the many things she’s done in her life, big and small.

And …

We thank God for being with her in this ardous battle against cancer.

We thank God for the victory she has had.

We thank God for making her a blessing in so many people’s lives.

We thank God that He has received her with open arms.

She fought a good fight in her battle with cancer and remained faithful of God’s love and grace.

What holds for us tomorrow is a mystery.

But my mum always says, Trust in the Lord.

And in the Lord we will trust.

We will dearly miss Lucy, a great mother, a loving wife and a faithful child of God.

We will always love her and remember her for who she is and she will always be in our hearts.

Before I end, I’ll like to share with you an SMS my mum sent me on Valentines’ Day.

It goes like this, “Love is d greatest Healing Power – at d end of our lives after all our successes n failures the value of our lives is determined by how much we have loved – :-)”

I hope we’ll always remember her unconditional love for us and remember to love others unconditionally as well. Thank you.

—End of Eulogy—

In memory of Lucy U Po, my dearest mother