Happiness is... finding the road to recovery

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 05, 2021
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I came across this quote recently and found it to be very true. It means that life is like a cup of tea, it won't be bitter forever but it will be bitter for a period of time. It might sound negative at first glance, I know. But on deeper thought, it helps me think positively because it is a reminder of the fact that life can be tough at times but once we overcome the hardship, we can taste the sweetness that comes after.

On a societal level, it's like how we are trying to turn the pandemic into endemic instead. We need to come to terms with the hard truth that since we can't eradicate the virus, we just gotta learn to live with it. Things are going to be tough, uncertain, fluctuating and even scary. But if we are strong enough to persevere and brave enough to keep fighting, we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

On a personal level, I am slowly but surely accepting the grief in my heart. Time heals all wounds, they say. While I don't think most wounds heal perfectly, I do believe they get better and less painful over time. At least, time made my miscarriage hurt less even though that scar is always there. It still hurts and breaks my heart when I think of my beloved Popo, and I can't even count how many tearful late nights I've spent on my own in the past month after putting the kids to bed. There will always be a part of me that is sad but I am trying let the happy memories take over and remind myself that she would want me to be strong, cheerful and live my life in the best way I possibly can.

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about being on the road to recovery and in order to do that, we must first find this elusive path that somehow has a magical power to lessen grief and create joy.

The start of August was a heavy and depressing one for me. It was my grandma's wake and cremation. For every of the four-day funeral, I brought the kids there and even let them skip school to be at the cremation with us. Why? Because I wanted them to know that family is more important than school work and even though exams were coming, this still took priority. We don't shun from morbid topics or avoid talking about death now that the kids are getting bigger. Instead, we talk it out, we go through it hand in hand, we cuddle and we hug, and we process our grief together.

The wake was their last few days to spend with Tai Po, to look at her fondly and to bid farewell to her. As for the cremation, I did think of letting the girls skip it since they had school but they were the ones who voiced out "I wanna go and send Tai Po, Mama." In my heart, I fully believe that if they skipped this, there is a good chance that we will all end up with regrets in the future. So, I wrote letters to explain to their teachers who were all very understanding and we made our way to Mandai together with the rest of my family.

I was a wreck the entire week but especially on that day, and I guess having the kids there gave me strength to go on. I remember how I clutched on to the casket at the final moments and wept my heart out, saying "婆婆,下辈子我还是要当你的孙女!" 

You see, just writing that down makes me cry at this very moment. I am a very emotional person, I know, and when someone so precious to me gets taken away, it really shatters a huge part of me. But yes, I am trying hard to mend the broken pieces and tell myself to let go of all the regrets I have and move on. I have to and I will, it's just that recovery takes time and in my case, it might take a while longer even if I put on a strong and happy front every day. I still have yet to finish up my video collage of Popo because my eyes get misty each time I try to do it. But I will get there, somehow, some day.

Popo's demise reminded me to cherish my parents more while they are still healthy. Honestly, the pandemic does the same. It makes me worry for them yet reminds me that nothing good stays forever so I'd better do my part to treasure my blessings before they are gone.

Even though both of them and my in-laws are fully vaccinated, we still remind them to be careful when they are out, to stay home when they can and to eat healthily and boost their immune systems. 家有一老,如有一宝. Never take anything, especially life, for granted, yeah? 珍惜眼前人.

You know what is one thing that always makes me happy? Well, weekends! That is because we always spend time together as a family and we take the kids out for some fun and relaxation. For the past few months, we have been staying away from crowds but we still love to visit the parks and nature reserves now and then.

August marked our first visit to Bukit Timah and I still think it was incredible that we conquered that steep, steep slope and made it to the summit with all the kids, including the baby. It was definitely the most challenging walk we've done so far but I'm glad we persevered till the end.

In fact, we even made it to a second park in the same afternoon and that was Hindhede Nature Reserve, which offers a picturesque and breathtaking view of the quarry. The kids also had fun playing at the playground and Ansel even went on the swing for the first time.

Such simple joys fuel me, top up my love tank and make me feel more motivated to face whatever tomorrow may bring. Yup, ironically, hiking trips exhaust me yet recharge and rejuvenate my soul. It's one of the ways that help me to heal. What's your way?

Talking about the baby, he is the one who keeps me busy 24/7 and now that he has started eating semi-solids, my life is even more occupied now with the need to cook his meals separately from ours thrice a day and the extra washing up to do after each meal. Still, I wouldn't change this for anything and I am glad that he has become my focus and distracts me from doing anything else. In fact, I'm usually so tired nowadays after putting the kids to bed that I seldom find time to blog, write or make videos. Seeing him growing up happily makes everything worthwhile. Everything.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I can neglect the other kids and I am still learning to juggle the needs of four kids in four different phases of growing up. Other than the clingy baby, there is also my firstborn facing PSLE, my secondborn becoming a tween and my thirdborn who is graduating from kindergarten. Right, those who have followed me long enough will remember how Asher was born and how he grew up over the years. Just look at this boy now!

He might still a baby to me in some ways but seeing him all dressed up in the convocation gown, it's a reminder of how fast time flies when you are a mum. This little prince will be heading to Primary 1 next year and that is a huge milestone for him. I hope he knows how much I love and care for him even though my time with him has been greatly reduced since the baby came. He is truly an awesome Korkor who has never shown signs of jealousy, who loves his Didi to the max and who writes sweet notes to tell me how much he loves me. Awww, love you, dear Asher boy.

One Sunday, we decided to have a workout by cycling, scooting and running in our estate. Wait, how did I do that? Well, I buckled the baby in the pram and pushed it along as I ran! It took us half an hour to get to a kopitiam where we had our dinner in pairs, then we made our way to the neighbourhood playgrounds one by one for the kids to have some relaxation and fun. It was already nightfall when we got home and everyone was exhausted but that will be another precious memory tucked away in our hearts, right?

We love to go outdoor as a family. Yup, I'm the type of mum who doesn't like to be cooped all day long. I have always found that going out makes it easier for me to care for the kids without flaring up rather than having them test my patience limit at home all day long. Alas, lifestyles have to adapt accordingly due to the pandemic and I don't think we should complain as long as we are still coping well as a nation.

Still, this makes grocery runs very precious because it is the time of the day that we get to breathe in some fresh air and take a short walk. Yes, I keep these outings very brief just to be safe and I usually do it after sending the boy to school since the supermarket is just nearby. On the days that the girls have HBL, they are always very happy to head out with me, push the baby in the stroller and pick the brother from school. And for me, I am always glad for the extra pairs of hands from my girls who are my best helpers!

They are the ones who help me so I can go to the loo in peace, have my hands free to cook or even be able to take a quick nap at times. It's so important for my sanity at times, you know what I mean? 

Oh, by the way, the baby can now face out in his Tula carrier and he was pretty excited about it. In fact, he knows that the carrier means gai gai these days and starts jumping up and down when he knows that we are bringing him out. I am so happy to see that you are happy to see the world, my dear. There is so much more that I wanna show you, let's just enjoy each day and look forward to a better future, yeah?

Keeping myself busy and leading a fulfilling life is one way I deal with grief too. Besides being a busy stay-at-home mum, it also makes me feel more accomplished whenever I get to do any 'jobs' that I like. By that, I mean media reviews and giveaways that you see on my social media. I've been cutting down on the number of projects I commit to so those that you see are truly things that I think will benefit my kids and my readers.

It's tiring doing these photoshoots because I still have a baby who usually isn't cooperative for the camera and wants me to carry him, yet I find joy in the exhaustion and I enjoy the process of editing the pictures and writing the reviews. So, I guess I am lucky to be able to do something which I enjoy in life. Have you found yours too?

I looked through all the photos we took in August and realised that there didn't seem to be as many as what I usually have. I guess on most days, I was still trying to find the road to recovery and tell myself to move on. Nonetheless, photos are precious to me so you bet I will be taking more very soon. Meanwhile, here are some updated shots of the baby who is growing up just too fast!

Some passers-by call him Meimei, you know, he really looks like a girl mah? It must be the long hair, right? But guess what, I've already cut it three times in six months! Yup, add hairdresser to my occupation list, please. Haha. Happy to see you getting so strong, chubby and talkative too, my baby. Your smile makes my worries go away and you are my best medicine too.

Oh, I also brought him for his 6-month vaccination and despite taking one jab on each thigh, this boy took it in his stride and cried for merely a couple of seconds before he flashed his toothless smile at me once more. 

If anything, he reminded me that when life gets you down, you gotta be strong enough to get back up. When the bitterness comes, just hang in there for a while and it will be over soon.

One thing that helps is knowing that you are not alone. And yes, we are never, ever alone because we have our loved ones, both around us and inside our hearts. 


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