Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The blogsphere's comments on Shin

The blogsphere is wide and diverse. I've received a lot of links to blogs that talked about Shin after her passing. I spent a fair bit of time pondering what it takes to affect so many people of different ages and backgrounds that you have never met. I found it interesting to go through some of the links and I thought I should start to compile some of the ones I've seen into a post.

When the Stars Go Blue

Bored Gorgeous

Little Gems Unravelled


Pheonix’s Wall

Simple Complications


Back off Cancer

Weifs' whimsical writings

Glimpses of my Life

Huggies Discussion board in India




Taking up the Challenge


Beneath Skin Deep



Traces that you Carry



writerinresidence said...


My friend S
Ever since I discovered that someone I know, a woman I used to work for eight years ago for just four months, had a resurgence of the cancer she had previously battled so succesfully, I have been reading her blog religiously. She is 41. She has a husband, a daughter and a son. The children are under the age of six. And despite a mastectomy, the cancer has returned to her body - her liver, her lungs and her brain.

She is a master blogger - posting every day, Monday through Friday - despite her illness, the various combinations of medication, oxygen tank sessions and chemotherapy, not to mention the journals, recordings and scrapbooks she is preparing for her children, so they will have communication from her after she is gone.

It is possibly one of the most difficult blogs to read due and there are more than a few posts that have brought me to easy tears. S is a humanist in the traditional sense. She believes in the power and the goodness of human beings, but despite being the daughter of Christian pastor, she most emphatically, does not believe in God. God, she says is nice to have, but He is a fairy tale that human beings have created because they are simply not strong enough to accept the truth that life is just that, and when it ends, it ends, and there is nothing more.

I read this blog every day, and even post comments occasionally. I do not make the mistake, as other blog readers have done, of trying to get her to see God. I know her too well. She will not let me get away with that. I worked with the woman as my editor for four straight months, and the work part of it nearly drove me to my wits end. She was and remains incessantly intense in the putting forth of her opinions, demanding explanations in the manner of a human bulldozer. But there would be moments outside of work, when we would talk of my K and C or when we would have lunch, when she would have unexpected softness that would surprise me and win me over, if only for that moment.

I also read her blog to make sure she is alive, to read her impressions and opinions which are less bulldozing on the internet page than if verbalised face to face. I pray for S every day, for her healing and for her peace and for the continually amazing courage of the members of her family. S is one of the most courageous people I know. The fact that she can be like this despite her disease all the while believing in nothing eles but herself is amazing. It is true that death will come to all of us. But S lives with its grim reality every day, like bread and butter at breakfast. More than anyone else, she lives with its certainty and manages with grace and courage to keep it at bay with every passing day.

Yesterday, I read that she will no longer blog five days a week but reduce it to three. She says she can no longer get to it these days...and she apologises to her scores of readers. "You have all the time in the world, but I do not."

writerinresidence said...


And just like that...
...S is gone.

Peacefully in her sleep. After a week of letting her best friend and her husband post four blog entries. In the end, it was not the cancer in her brain. It was not even the cancer in her liver. It was the cancer in her lungs. That made it difficult to for her to breathe. And till the last, she kept on breathing...slowly...and then more slowly. Until she could not.

I guess I expected something to happen. I know I hoped and prayed for it.

On the other hand, her blog is very well-paced, as a result. Oh I know she had more to say. She always had a lot to say. And if she was quiet for awhile, most people knew it wouldn't be for long. How I wish she had been able to say more.

Now, all I hope and pray is that as right as she believed herself to be, I pray she was wrong...and that she is now, happy and rested and healthy, eating her words, and watching over her kids the way only a mom can. I pray that in those few days when she was unable to speak, unable to blog, when it took all her strength just to take in four breaths a minute, that He was speaking to her, and holding her in gentle, accepting, reassuring embrace.

Leighbee said...


Shin hated "labels" as we all know, but having just referred to my Chambers dictionary for confirmation that the word "Saint" does indeed refer to someone who is worthy of everlasting praise, a very good and kind person, greatly respected etc, I feel that its a very appropriate word to describe her and I doubt even she could deny herself the title?! It is extremely rare for any one person to do something this amazing - through her illness and strength of character she has managed to reach out and touch lives all around the world in a multitude of ways - truly incredible and very inspiration. I reckon Shin is as near to a modern day "Saint" as any one is likely to get...?!

Christina said...

Hi Tony,
I'm so glad that you made an effort to maintain this blog. After I heard that Shin pass away, I wonder what will happen to this blog of hers. To me, this blog is a source of encouragment. This blog is a footprint from how Shin fight against cancer till now, now her family cope with death. I must say you really did a very good job. Well done Tony.

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