Grieve (part 1)

“You don’t truly feel a loss until you have truly lost whatever, whomever. This is a lesson that you’ll never be able to learn because each time, it hurts differently.”

Flowers in a glass vase, arranged by Calista.

If you ask me what grieve feels like, I will probably tell you that it feels like morphine mixed with sleeping pills and a really huge ache within your entire body. Most of the time, you feel numb because shutting off your feelings is better for you right now. It’s hard to fall asleep but your eyelids are heavy and the migraine doesn’t help. Throughout the day, I’m just spacing out. Floating away somewhere in my mind where this past month was not real. Maybe…it was all just a really, really bad dream.

It hits me in the morning, when I wake up. I think and murmur to myself, it was a dream. It’s not, because my 6 year old son reminds me while cupping my face gently, wiping away my tears. Unknowingly, I was crying.

“Gong Gong is really dead mummy, it’s not a dream.”

– Mikhail (6 years old)
Grandfather carrying Mikhail

The whole process of processing, still feels incomplete to me. Yet, it seems to me that life is hurrying me to move on. I can’t, but I must? The first thing that I noticed after the funeral, was that life has carried on. The world did not stop, neither did life. Work resumed, bills still came, covid-19 continued to traumatise businesses, travels. I felt annoyed. I know it is ridiculous to expect a pause but somehow, I was upset that there was no pause at all.

I did drop everything the second I knew he have left us. I dropped every aspect of life, including my kids. I left them with friends. I didn’t even text my friends to check in on the kids. I couldn’t. It was as if at that point, all my usual fears of possible harm while my kids are not with me were trumped by my fear of not ever seeing him again to say goodbye properly.

Mum, me and dad

I have never handled a funeral before, much less handled a repatriation during an on-going global pandemic. Might I just tell you, it was not a walk in the park. I think I broke down over the phone multiple times with various people just trying to figure out how to get my dad back from china to Singapore before his body turns to nothing. In my mind, all I could think of was the condition of his body. I remember a phone call with someone who told me that the paperwork needed would take 7 to 10 business days and then once all the paper work are in place, it would take another 7 to 10 business days to transport him back home.

I broke apart and had to call my friends in for help. Thankfully, they managed to get things sorted out for me and we got him home in 5 days instead of the possible 20.

After getting the repatriation sorted, it was time to get the funeral and wake sorted. It was hard. I hyperventilated for 30mins outside the funeral director’s office and decided I could not walk in. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like once I walked in and planned that funeral, I had to admit it was real. Don’t ask me how was it still unreal to me at that point after all the repatriation process and handling. I don’t know.

Dad’s Wake at Singapore Funeral Parlour

My friends literally had to hold my hand, lead me into the funeral director’s office and without them, I would probably not have managed to settle much. I chose Direct Funeral because they are experienced in handling repatriation and I have also read many good things about their company. I will leave you to find out those good things on your own. I will, however, share my own thoughts on their service.

I am really glad to have engaged Direct Funeral because the Funeral Director assigned to me (Mr.Sim) was very professional and patient. He also assisted in many things where changes had to be made last minute for whatever reasons. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend would be the florist they use. If you have the bandwidth, find your own florist.

Dad’s Message Tree

I want to thank Dawn and Ethan from khoocoon for helping me with my dad’s funeral flowers. I knew what I wanted and I also knew, realistically, I can’t pull it off by myself especially in that state. I have always liked their work and I know, if anyone could pull off what I had in my mind, with little to zero brief and in such a short turn around, it would be Dawn. She did not disappoint.

Before anybody gets any wrong idea, I do not have any part in their business. Infact, they are fellow florists. I just want to thank them because through this, I have made new friends who really helped me out in a time where I really really needed it. I was a total mess. When I was talking to Dawn, I don’t even think whatever I said regarding the flowers were coherent.

and…if anyone was thinking why would I not use my own company, well, my team was jammed packed that weekend with back to back installations and my partner was already drowning. I couldn’t.

Casket Floral Arrangement by Khoocoon
Hedges by Khoocoon

I’m going to abruptly stop my blog entry now because my eyes are feeling tired and my mind is starting to fall apart. I will continue this another day.