April is the month where Qing Ming Festival (Tomb-sweeping day) happens. Each year, tonnes of people make their way to clean up tombs of loved ones or make trips to pay respects and offerings within the month of April. On one of those weekends, the husband went to pay his respects to his grandpa. He left the kids with my mum because my mum didn’t want the very young kids to go near cemeteries and columbariums.  I was stuck at home as I have been really quite sick the entire month and was told to stay home to rest.

The J-Brothers in my mum's place.

The J-Brothers in my mum’s place.

Just as Der was leaving my mum’s place, this conversation happened.

Jerry (J): Papa, where are you going? 
Papa (P): To visit my grandpa.
J: Your grandpa is sick? 
P:: No, he is dead. 
J: What is dead?
P: Dead means the person die already. 
J: Why die? 
P: Old already, then die. 
J: Is it like Mr. Lee Kuan Yew? 
P: Yes. 

When the husband told me the story, I was really quite surprised that Jerry remembered our founding father and is able to relate correctly that he has passed on. I never quite know how to really teach a young one the concept of death, but I think LKY’s passing has taught him quite a lot. Through the media, the school teachers and activities, through us when we talk about it at home, and also, the day we queued 4hrs to pay our last respects.

Till today, he still talks about that particular day occasionally and every time he spots a poster of Lee Kuan Yew, he would point it out and tell me who it is, followed by questions, “He die already right? Why did he die?

I would always try to explain it again, just to make sure he understands. Most times, I just wonder what really goes on in that little mind of his and if he is processing any of what I have said before.

Amazing how little brains work.

Lately, I am trying to teach him how to appreciate people more, value their presence around us more and not to take them for granted. Give hugs. Say thank you for the small little acts of kindness. Say thank you for dinner. Be appreciative. Make an effort to spend time with everyone whenever we can and talk to them. Every time the kid asks for an ipad, I’ll tell him I would prefer him to talk to me and spend time understanding me.

Do you make an effort to really spend time with the people around you? It’s something that I am constantly trying to do myself as I grow older too. I used to be really detached from my family members and I am trying to play catch up now. It’s so difficult to make up for all those lost years, so if you have been like me when I was younger and don’t really care.. don’t. Hang out with your family more, because in time to come, they will be the ones that will always be around. They always will. And if they aren’t and have passed on, there is no regrets that you didn’t spend enough time with them.

Make every day count. Make memories. Accumulate a wealth of special moments that we can hold on dearly to.

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