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!

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