Friday, February 25
Some of you might have known about this already, but my best friend passed away yesterday afternoon. We knew about him being admitted to hospice the night before and we were meant to go visit him this monday. I was going to knit him a beanie or a scarf. I know I am just a beginner knitter and can't possibly knit a scarf in just under 3 days. Let alone a beanie. But my best friend, he loves his scarves and since his cancer 2 years ago, he's been often seen with a beanie. So I told myself, it's ok. I will knit it as fast as I can, God will watch over me and I will be able to knit one up. Will stay awake to knit it even if I have to. And so, I packed my knitting needles, notebook and off to the yarn store I was going to go. I was still trying to decide a blue or red one would suit when I received a call saying his condition has worsened.
So before we knew it, my friend, Darren and myself just rushed off from work yesterday late morning and sped all the way up from Melbourne to Bendigo. The last time we drove there with family, it took us over 2 hours, 3 in fact because we got lost. But by God's grace we reached in about 2 hours. In fact slightly under 2. I was still alright in the car, but I knew it was time. I just didn't want to believe it.
We reached Bendigo just in time. I wanted to speak to him and tell him so much but he was in so much pain, they had to sedate him and he couldn't hear. So I just kept quiet and spoke to his sister instead. But it was just so hard standing there looking at my best friend lying there in bed. He was so tiny, so frail and just gasping for air. His heart was pumping air so hard to his lungs, with every breath he took, it was just such a pain to even watch. I left the room after that thinking well, might be the last time I see him alive. But maybe not. But you know. I was right. It was the last time. We were waiting around in the lounge room. His dad and mum came to speak to us and we talked about his condition and how it was either going to be heart failure or lungs collapsing. In my heart I knew very well, his lungs would be the one to give way first. Knowing my best friend, he wouldn't give up, not until the very end. So I am sure his heart was going to make sure it just keeps going. And yes, I was right again.
I remember his parents and us, we were talking about Vietnam and other stuff non-related to Xuan Dao.. I guess it was good in a way, took their mind off for a while but then suddenly, the nurse came and they had to rush to his ward. I knew maybe it was time maybe not. So we just waited. Along with a small bunch of other friends. Things after that was just a bit of a blur. I don't really want to talk about it.
But anyway, my best friend Xuan dao passed away shortly after. His lungs collapsed. I knew it. I knew his heart would keep working. He is a fighter and always wants to win. So that was the last time I saw him alive. We were told we could go into his room whenever we were ready. But to be honest, I never was. For the past two years, I have been living in denial. I never wanted to believe it was real and never wanted to face the whole fact of what he was going through. It is just so hard. He told me he wanted to be treated like a normal person. So that was what I did. I called him every week and asked him out for iced chocolates, fishing trips, lunches, parties, invited him to my show openings, etc. Whenever I'm in Carlton or Brunswick, I'd call him and ask him if I could pop over. He lived just nearby. I start my residency at Harvest next week. It's in East Brunswick and I don't know how I will feel. Knowing for the past few times I've been there, I always call him, but this time round, he will no longer pick up my call. Not anymore.
I have so much to tell you Xuan Dao. I can go on and on. It felt so strange to sit next to you yesterday, telling you about Darren and our cooking adventures. About our pineapple tart, bak kwa and peanut cookies. You haven't even got to try my homemade roti prata. I always thought a dead person's hand would be really icy cold. But no, your hands were cold but still warm. It was like you were still alive. I looked at you as you lay in bed. Somehow your jumper still seemed to be moving ever so slightly, as if you were just sleeping and breathing. But I know I was just tired and imagining things.
Xuan Dao, everyone says we should be happy for you, but it takes time. I couldn't sleep last night and I just kept waking up hoping it was all not true. Will you just come back? So we can go have ice creams and iced chocolates and you can scold me when I make you pay for $9 parking? Why did you have to leave us so soon. I still have so much to tell you. Now that you're gone, I won't have anyone to hang out with in the afternoons. Apart from Darren, you are the only person who knows everything. My best girlfriends who are always my rock and pillar of strength, they are all in Singapore. So it's just Darren now. I know I have a bunch of other good friends but it is just different. Xuan Dao, I know you wouldn't want me to be sad. I should be happy that you're safe now in God's arms, but I miss you and I just want you to come back.
I haven't even knitted you a scarf yet. I was thinking I could knit one and place it in your coffin on Monday but I don't even want to look at my knitting basket. I haven't even taken out the knitting needles from my bag. I just feel so tired and so worn out. I feel so sick just thinking of knitting because it just reminds me that it was just about 24 hours ago when I received a call telling me to rush down. Xd, I was going to go to the yarn shop. Why didn't you wait for me. Anyway, thanks for waiting for us to arrive before you went to sleep for good. You must be happy now. I will see you in heaven soon alright. And then we can go back to our endless teasing of each other. Xuan dao, my dear best guy pal in the whole wide world, my brother and crazy friend. As as usual, being the competitor you are who always wants to win, you've reached the finishing line just a tad too quick for my liking. Anyhow, you have fought the good fight, and finished the race while I am still panting away here like a tortise. I can imagine you at the end laughing at me going " Ah don! Ah don!" Just you wait till I get to the end and meet you again.. Just you wait..
PS: I will be taking a couple days off from this space and my inbox. I just need some time. Thanks.