Almost a year after my dad passed away, I received a letter from the Straits Times ads department encouraging me to place an “in memorium” ad to mark the first anniversary of his passing.
I didn’t do it, not least because — although the obituary was taken out in my name — it was my eldest brother who had instructed the original announcement to be made. As the eldest son, he was the OC of all the funeral arrangements and we, the other children, merely executed his instructions.
As he lives mostly overseas, I didn’t want to bother him with the “In memorium” request. Further, I’m not sure my father would have approved of the pointless expense of remembering. All his children and his loved ones remember — or forget — him in their own ways. Those who needed a reminder were obviously not related to him, whether by blood or emotion.
Furthermore, I also thought that those of us who loved and constantly think of him might find a stark reminder in the newspapers of his death a needless needle in our healing wound.
My father died almost a decade ago.
Today I got to thinking about death anniversaries not least because a good friend’s grandson passed away unexpectedly today, a year ago. He was barely 10.
I know my friend continues to grieve over the loss as do his parents but I didn’t call them to express my solidarity. Instead, it was one of the family members who text me today to remind that the traditional Christmas Day gathering at their home would be on as usual.
I was, and still am, terrified of inadvertently waking any pain that had been dulled.
That’s also why I never raise the topic of the loss of a young niece two years ago on Boxing Day with her parents. This despite the fact that we have been doing things together since that terrible tragic event, in memory of the departed girl.
Come to think of it, I’m not sure whether my squeamishness over remembering the departed has more to do with my desire not to upset myself and less to do about fear of upsetting those who had directly suffered a recent loss! 😦