Mention birthdays and all things positive – joy, happiness, laughter and merry-making come to mind.
People celebrate a year of good health and another step up the maturity and wisdom ladder. Some people reflect and reminisce on the past to visualize the successes and failures so as to build better roads and bridges into the future. For me, besides all of these, there is a deeper significance to my birthday. It is also my grandmother’s death anniversary.
Two years ago, on this very day, I received an overseas phone call from my family. Unexpectedly, I heard sobbing over the phone, and my mother said to me “Daylene, Popo passed away today…”
I was just recently promoted to the third year of the postgraduate residency program in Michigan then. My grandmother, whom we affectionately addressed as ‘Popo’, had failed to recover from her second stroke attack.
A deep sense of loss and grief overwhelmed me instantly. The fact that I was not able to spend her last days with her made the anguish even harder to bear. Popo was to us, the embodiment of Mother Teresa. She was kind, selfless, compassionate, benevolent. She was a virtuous wife and a loving mother. She was a woman of few words, but we knew she was always supportive of her husband, children and grandchildren in many ways tangible or intangible. I know it’s cliché to say people often do not know how precious someone or something means until it’s lost, but it’s so true.
To my grandmother, I want to say, “We love you, Popo. You are always in our thoughts.” To everyone out there, Carpe diem! And to myself, happy birthday to me.
‘Dance like no one is watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like no one is listening,
Live like there’s no tomorrow.’
Dr. Daylene Leong is a Dental Surgeon with Specialist Dental Group and a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. She received her basic dental training at National University of Singapore and advanced training in Periodontology from the University of Michigan, USA. For more information on Dr. Daylene Leong , click here