But how many times do we hear a true story, be touched by it, choose to therefore live a more fulfilling life then few days later, totally forgot about that story, how it had moved us to lead better cherishing lives and went back to our usual decadent ways?
My colleague from KL popped by for a 1 week business trip and spent many working days with me in February. It was just after the Chinese New Year season, we took the time to not only do some catching up with work, but also on each other's lives.
She told me about her Primary schoolmate, whom she did not share a name. Let me call her Sara (for her race is Indian and Sara is my favourite Indian name). After studying medicine, Sara moved to London to be a pediatrician and there she met the love of her life, her husband Alfred. They got married in a beautiful place in France (where Alfred was born) and bought a house there, had it renovated and ready to be moved in.
Being a native Malaysian, Sara wanted to hold a wedding reception in KL for her family and friends to meet her husband, she took to Facebook to rally all her old friends and my colleague was one of them. They had so much fun chatting online and deciding on a hotel to hold the wedding. They talked about what kind of sari should Sara wear. what jewelry should she choose, what kind of food to offer and where to host her husband's family. In order to make planning easier, one friend created a group chat on Whatsapp.
But just 3 days of researching and planning, Sara abruptly texted that the wedding in KL would not be taking place - she had had a bad cough for many days and being a doctor herself, decided to go for a blood test to find out the reason for her unceasing illness only to find out, she had stage 4 lung cancer.
Everyone on that groupchat went bonkers, some asked her to go for chemotherapy on the double, others wanted her to see an Indian witch doctor for help. Sara thanked all of them and their advice and well-wishes. She also added being a doctor herself, she knew what would be in store for her and chemotherapy was too late a remedy for her. She said, "If I can't live through this, the only regret I would have is not being able to have my own children."
An impromptu trip was planned for London to visit her, some of her friends who stayed in neighboring countries did fly down to see her and Sara gladly took time to receive them at the airport. She looked tired but all in all, she seemed fine. She took them to tea and said her plan right then was to see what time had in store for her.
2 days later, Sara complained of breathing difficulty and typed in the groupchat that she would be going to the hospital to check on her breathing. Her friends all wished her well and waited for her to return which everyone figured, would probably only take a few hours. Hence, they waited and waited, but Sara did not reply to their texts.
She had passed on in the hospital.
Though the cancer did not take her, her lungs had failed her. And she died on the 7th day she announced the cancellation of her wedding in the groupchat on Whatsapp.
I had wanted to give this story more life and feelings, put more emotions into it and give the readers more in-sights to how Sara had felt and what went through her mind. But I did not want a true story like hers to be on par with Shirley on So This is Death because I want to present Sara's story as how I have heard it from my colleague, nothing more, nothing less.
And Sara's story got me thinking - what is it that I want in my life so that before I should die, I would smile to know that I have accomplished all that I had wanted? My life right now is almost at a standstill - my job and my relationship (although he has promised me that it would change), I had wanted more before I had my operation a month ago but now I stopped to think, are those what I had wanted, all there is to life? I recalled how someone once told me when I asked him why have a baby if he was not in love with his wife that he was merely going with the flow. I didn't know what 'flow' he had meant but now I do. It is the natural progression of life : from being single to looking for a partner, from being a partner to making plans for a marriage and saying your vows, and then to having a child or many more to complete your family.
If you are merely 'going with the flow' would you be disappointed if your life should end so abruptly like Sara's?