Decades ago, I heard the story about a woman with a 12-hankie weepie life who passed away on Dec 25, Christmas Day. Her siblings went to inform her in-laws (she and her husband were separated) of her passing and instead of grieving on hearing the news, the bringers of the sad news were told: Early don’t die, late don’t die. Why must die on Christmas Day?
While one can empathise with the displeasure on hearing bad news on a day that’s by tradition supposed to be a good news day — what a pall that bad news must have cast on the celebrations planned or being carried out!– can blame be put on the deceased for dying on Dec 25?
Indeed, while one can select an auspicious day to give birth (eg elective Casaerian) or marry, can one avoid dying or falling sick on an auspicious day, and inadvertently cause grief or incovenience to others, as the case may be?
I’ve been forced to reflect on this in recent days because on the evening of Christmas Day, I developed chills and body aches all over. It had started as a small soreness in the throat the night before which I put down to talking too much. I upped my low regular V-C intake by 200mg and thought it would pass.
Alas no! On Saturday, Dec 26, when I should have been dressing to go out for lunch, I was sitting at the doctors, along with a dozen others. Still, with no more fever and only a slightly sore throat, I thought the muscle relaxant and tablets for inflamation the doctor gave would be mostly left untouched and I would be good as new.
Alas for my optimism! Saturday and Sunday saw me hacking away like an old saw, and sore and feverish saw me back at the doctors on Monday, with a mask on my face, so as not to scare the other patients.
I left with five types of medication: cough mixture, double dosage of anti-inflammatory tablets, phlegm busters, anti-biotics and muscle relaxants. Would have been six types if I had accepted Doc’s suggestion of some steroids to speed up healing of my larynx.
Of cos, I could have felt sorry for myself as this is year-end and I’ve appointments to keep that won’t be kept now.
In particular, I regret to be the cause for HTK and CK to postpone their Jan 1 dinner “till you get better”.
Our regular but infrequent get-togethers are much looked forward to by the rest of the group, as HTK demonstrates his flair for cooking, CK his wine collection and LW her dessert repertoire. The remaining 3 of us just eat, drink and ooh-n-ah.
And we have a tradition of always meeting at least once in December which was already broken by mutual consent to fit everyone’s calendar. And the date moved to Jan 1. By my untimely cough and cold, I’ve caused the date be moved once again, hopefully not into infinity.
While I feel bad about the inconvenience I’ve caused to others in the group, yet I’m secretly — all right openly — pleased that HTK n CK want my presence enough to warrant their not going ahead with their dinner without me.
Yup, that’s one consolation for falling ill. You find out who your friends are!
And, really shouldn’t I consider myself lucky that my body didn’t succumb while I was visiting the other TK in Melbourne? Imagine the upset. And shouldn’t I be glad that I didn’t succumb when mum had her mastetomy in July 08? Imagine how doubly stressful all would have been. And aren’t I really lucky not to have had a cough or cold since early 2007, according to the doctor’s records?
So, counting my blessings, let me share the picture of the sweet ending which Daffy my sis and b-i-l serve up every year when we eat the Chinese Winter Solstice (Dec 22) dinner with them. It’s a pair of Tang Yuan- glutinuous rice balls, one filled with sesame paste and the other with peanut paste, swimming in a light syrupy soup.
May everyone’s 2010 turn out to be as sweet, tasty and complete as Tang Yuan!
PS: Part of the reason for this post is to allay HTK’s fears when he emailed half in jest “if we ever see pictures of you at any New Year’s parties appearing on your blog, you’ll be in BIG trouble..haha