Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Memorial Service - Shin's last word

The overall service consisted of 1) the paddle salute and song from her dragon boat team, 2) The Eulogy from Tony, 3) Eulogy by Alicia, 3) A poem read by Ella Brady, Ciara Brady and Josie Raza, 4) a word for thanks from Ms Kwek, found of the Breast Cancer Foundation in Singapore, 5) Michelle reading her final letter to Shin and reading Shin's letter to everyone, 6) the photo slideshow, 7) the balloon release.

Below is the letter from Shin to everyone:

My friend Michelle asked me to write a letter that she can read aloud to friends and family at my memorial service. She’s full of good ideas, my Shelly.

As you know, I like telling people what I’m thinking and feeling, and I have so many things to say to all of you individually. I wanted to write each of you a letter. I especially wanted to write letters to your children telling them things about their mom or dad that they may never hear from anyone else. I want your children to know what impact you’ve had on my life and what part you played in restoring my faith in humanity.

But I’ve run out of time, so I’ll have to say as much as I can to all of you in this letter.

I know it’s sad that I’m gone. I’m sad about the things I won’t be able to do for Josie and Toby as they grow up. I’m sad about the tough days ahead for Tony. What’s he going to do when Toby throws a tantrum, demanding to see me? How will he feel when Josie cries for me in the middle of the night after waking from a bad dream?

I’m sad about the pain my illness and death have caused my friends and family. Losing people you care about and the thought of never, ever seeing them again, or hugging them, or hearing them laugh is heart-breaking. Trust me, I know. You’re only losing ONE of me. I’m losing ALL of you.

But here’s something even more sad – what if we had never met, never gotten to know each other, never laughed together or cried together or learned from each other? Sure, we’d have saved ourselves some heartache, but we’d have lost a great deal more than that.

I’ve learned so much about you all these past few years – your selflessness, compassion, strength of heart, generosity, vulnerability, innocence, resourcefulness, humility, forgiveness, loyalty, faith, and so much more. Each of you, in your own way, has shown me something about human nature and the human spirit that fifty more years of life might not have shown me.

And many of you have told me that I’ve taught you a thing or two. You’ve said I’ve been an inspiration, a role model, a source of strength, even a gadfly. Just hearing these great compliments from you made me want to live up to them and deserve them. That’s what kept me going during some of my darkest moments. You had put so much faith in me, I just couldn’t let you down. You saved me.

It’s a shame that it took terminal illness and death to teach us all these lessons, but I think my death was worth it. I know that sounds terrible, but I wouldn’t trade in these past two years for a hundred more years of living an ordinary life, not knowing what amazing creatures we humans are capable of being.

That sounds selfish. I have two young children who will grow up without their mother. But the tears I can’t wipe away, the birthday parties I can’t throw for them, the motherly advice I can’t give them are nothing compared to the legacy you’ve all helped me to leave behind for them.

I know that Josie and Toby will grow up surrounded by my friends and family who will be surrogate mothers to them and provide them with the love and security that I won’t be around to give them. I’m not too worried. I feel confident that I’m leaving them in good hands and they’ll grow up to be happy, kind, responsible people.

But as they grow up, they’ll hear stories about the last few years of their mother’s life. The life lessons they’ll learn from what all of you here today have done for their mother, will be lessons they might never have learned otherwise. I think that’s worth any pain we may have suffered. Please think of that when you start to feel sad about my death.

I have one last request to make of you: Don’t forget what we’ve learned from each other. I think we’ve all surprised ourselves these past few years with inner strength and compassion that we didn’t even know we were capable of.

Time and the business of everyday living can make us forget a lot of important things – we let the mundane tasks of daily life get in the way of even thinking about the people we love, especially those who are gone or live far away, but sadly, even those who live in the same house with us.

Josie has told me she’s afraid that she’ll forget me someday – forget what I looked like, forget to think about me, and someday stop loving me. I have the same response for you that I had for her:

You may forget me someday. That’s just normal brain function. But you should never feel bad about it, because as long as you remember the things that were important to me, you won’t ever really forget me.

Thank you for teaching me so much, caring about me so much, and showing me and my family that I had a life worth living. Thank you for showing me what a lifetime of religion couldn’t – that there is a God, God is within each of us.

Love, Shin.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Michelle! :)

Shin really live up to what she's deserved and she had spoken a lot of points which are very valid and true! Reading her letter makes me feel like she's alive and she's really a "genius" in so many ways! :)

She can read and understand and make sure everyone is prepared, she still able to console us knowing so well that we will be sad esp Tony, and her 2 treasures' "responses"...

I can feel her sad for Tony,etc, but also feel really relieve that she knows her 2 treasures will be well taken care and grow up to be happy,etc. :) Tony, whenever you are sad or helpless,etc, there are many ways you can draw strength from: Shin's letters, words, smiles,etc, and Michelle,Alicia, your family, Shin's family, and even us here (as long as you are willing to tell or post here to let us help you even just to listen to you,ok? :)

Reading Shin's letter is comforting and she's still able to demonstrate her humour. Yes, she has short live but she had so much which many of us don't even have throughout our whole life (avg 70 and above, I mean)! :) She has given or share a lot but she has received even more, if not less which is often not the case in our life. Because either we give and don't get or get less OR we get but don't give as much. But for Shin, there's not so much of weighing just she just give and share and live and give and share,etc and her love ones are also doing that to her, that's not many can have. She is really remarkable and positive and strong in her will, yet she never hesitate to admit that she's not perfect! :) Shin, I am sure Josie and Toby will not forget you,esp Josie since she has more memories of you and of course Tony and all of us. We may not consciously remember but you will NEVER be forgotten because of what you are! :)

Tony, must take care ok? Shin is right that if given a choice :
1.not to know her so won't need to feel sad about her death or
2.know her yet have to face such emotion,

I am sure EVERYONE would choose no. 2,right? :)

Anonymous said...

Dearest Shin,

How to forget you??? You'll always have a space in our heart.

God, please blessed this blog that it will never be 'wipe out' by some computer virus...that we can still 'talk' to Shin and see that Tony, Josie and Toby are doing fine...

Missed you, Shin
Mandy & Kim

a very sad creature said...

her words..
such clarity

it's impartation..
deeply seeded

i shall regurgitate..
when i need them

and it shall aid me..
i know, through all of

life's harshest..
come what may

..dearest shin

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

I am not going to write about Shin... Just want to say something to Josie.

Josie's birthday is in Feb. Not sure whether it has passed or not. I just want to send my well wishes to Josie...
Happy Birthday Josie!

Best wishes

Jasmine said...

Dear Tony, Josie and Toby,

I have been faithfully following Shin's blog ever since I saw the documentary on Channel 8 about her. Although I have never met her before and all I know about her is through her writings, I too grieve the loss of this wonderful woman, wife and mother. Many people will be telling you to be strong and not to be sad. Personally, I feel that sadness is part of the grieving process. It is normal. But amidst this grieving, perhaps we should also celebrate Shin's life. We should give thanks for the gift of this wonderful lady who has touched and inspired the lives of many. Indeed, quality of life is not defined by one's lifespan of Earth, not the fortune that one amasses... Shin's lifetime on Earth might be short. But she has accomplished many things that others have not. She has taught us many things, touched and inspired many of us through her thought, word and deed.

After reading her blog entries, I often ask myself what it means to be a good parent... Is it only providing food on the table, clothes, shelter, monetary resources? No. Shin has shown to us that being a good parent is about being a positive role model. The legacy that she leaves behind, her values and attitudes towards life, her generosity, her resilience, her courage, her thoughtfulness, her sensitivity... all these have created a deep impact on Josie and Toby's life. It may be true that after many, many years, Josie and Toby's memories of their mummy might fade. But her spirit lives in them, through their thought, word and deed. We will be able to experience 'Shin' once again through her family.

Josie and Toby.. Always remember the many things that your mummy has taught you... Always remember that she loves you and she will always be there for you... in your heart!

Like many others, I hope that Tony will continue updating this blog.. to let us know how you guys are doing... to discuss issues of life and parenting like Shin always does.. and perhaps, when Josie and Toby are old enough, they might want to carry on this legacy which their mummy has started...From time to time, I like to reread some of the older posts by Shin, to remind myself of the inspiring lessons that Shin has taught us... So, please do not close this blog...

And lastly to Shin. Thank you for your generous act of donating your body. You will change the lives of many others through your act. I pray that, no matter where you are, you will always be happy, at peace and comforted knowing that your darlings will be well taken care of...


ALI KATI said...

A huge heart, forceful personality and wonderful smile. I really wish I knew her more.

Anonymous said...

Tony, thanks for letting us read all these and thanks Michelle too.

I agree that being sad and grief is part of the normal process, and Tony and all should let yourself grief for a limited period, the process that Shin posted before. I am sure Tony will be able to but that will take time.

We will never forget Shin! Josie may have deeper impression of Shin compared to Toby but I am sure they won't forget because Shin has wanted to do what she will do for them by preparing presents & things that they can feel, touch, read & listen to, I really think that's really great and her love for Josie and Toby is unlimited.

I feel that Josie is a "mature" girl but hope Tony and Michelle, Alicia,etc, can pay more attention to her even if she appears ok. Because I remember Shin posted about how sad Josie was feeling and "hurt" ...... I think she maybe just like the young me who will feel "hurt easily" but yet will keep inside me, I may appear ok and may not...That's to say, kids emotion is not to be taken for granted but need to be understand inner...That's what make parenting hard but love and concern are the key! :)

Happy birthday to Josie and I am sure your mummy will always be in your heart! You and your bro will be loved by all of us and hope both of you can be loving sibling and take care of each other and your daddy when you all grow up and most impt, must always rememeber your mummy! :)

Maybe it will be better if Tony can still keep talking to them about their mummy (as and when casually) so that they (even Tony) don't suppress their feelings for Shin and also the kids won't "forget" their mummy? But I am not sure if that is good, maybe some of the experts/counsellors can give advise on that?

Anonymous said...

I also have been following faithfully the next day after I watched her on the chinese documentary show. I also have been posting comments (encouragement and "advises" and even asking her questions which I have)to Shin and she always answer them . But instead I feel very bad when I see that many of us are asking her a lot and start to worry for her. So I stop asking and ask her not to reply because we will understand that she open this blog for Josie and Toby and also I feel that she has a lot to deal with herself too (both emotion and physical). She is such a helpful and thoughtful person and not to mention about her strong determination, her love for her children and husband,etc.

I will always remember you and still rewatch the clips and shows and reread your posts and the comments...find a lot which I may "missed" after I reread again...feel that there more understanding of you and what you said is very real and not just talking about idealistic things which many ppl are capable and doing thesedays. You are very frank , just like what Michelle said, she love everything in you, even the bad,etc, but I am sure the bad is not really bad just that you are frank, right? though I only know you here but feel like I know you for long time and is really great to know you and I would choose to know you even I know you will leave us. Shin thanks so much! You will be remembered!

Thanks Tony and I am sure many of us really hope that this blog will be opened but hope there won't be anyone who is "harsh" here. I feel very pain when there are quite a few comments "attacking" (which Shin didn't feel offended at all but I am sure many of us will feel angry) and making so "harsh" comments. Shin handled them very well and I believe that's what all of us can learn from her. I also want to thank Michelle especially for being there for Shin and her love ones and letting us have the opportunity to read her last words to us.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony

I was preparing for work around 5am this morning as I read Shin's letter on my laptop ,I felt goosebumps all over me and its not due to fear or anything sinister but rather out of deep amazement and admiration

Shin,even after passing on still continues to inspire and enlighten, her words are like beacons on a dark foggy night ever ready to show the way to anyone who shares similar circumstances as herself

I must admit that I have absorbed more truth from her blog than in lecture halls and classrooms

Our world have indeed become so much poorer without her pressence

She will be missed immensely
I share this song to all who miss and love her

The way we were

Memories, light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories of the way we were.
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
smiles we give to one another
for the way we were.
Can it be that it was all so simple then
or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
tell me would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
what's too painful to remember
we simply choose to forget
So it's the laughter we will remember
whenever we remember
the way we were.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tony, will you be posting the clips?

Anonymous said...

Hey Tony
I think you look quite cute.

You're quite cool too.

But Shin was cooler than you, cos she had a blog.


Mathilda said...

It felt familiar reading this post, those words from Shin. It was like reading her blog entries once again. :) Thank you for sharing these with us.

I admire Shin for her amazing positivity and she will always be someone special I look up to.

Take great care Tony, Josie and Toby!

Warmest regards,

icecubes83 said...

I will always remember Shin. She is a great fighter. Hope all those battling for their lives will stay strong and fight to the very end..

Do take care too, Michelle, Tony and Shin's love ones