Different stages of grief.

Hi All,

It has been some time since the demise of my mom in Hong Kong Government Hospital on May 22 mid-afternoon. Cannot believe that her mortal body is gone forever already, as she was being cremated. It has been some 5 weeks since she was gone.

So far, I have have the following different stages of grief:

Week 1-2: Numbness. There is hardly any emotions coming out of me when I saw her although she was gone for some 1.5 hours at least before being wheeled down to the mortuary. Even when I went to identify her body in the mortuary for the next day; together with the policeman for procedural process some 5 days later, as hers was a coroner’s case since she passed away within the hospital within 24 hours with operations being done on her; and also picking up her body to be sent to the Hong Kong Funeral Home for embalment purpose the next day as her wake is some 1 month later.

Week 2.5- I am her only biological daughter, so must be the one to write the life story of hers. It is only when after completing her story that I realized that she is gone forever in my life; looking at her photos everywhere in the house is making my grief very difficult.

Week 3- Just arranged her funeral matters etc. Did not see her body at all. So really no emotions, though there is some kind of anger and denial, when I realized how the private hospital HK and Sanitorium 24 hours outpatient clinic misdiagnosed her the night before when she was unwell, misread the left heart valve blockage as gastric pain and sent her home.

Week 4- Monday night was her wake, and Tue morning was her funeral and noon was her cremation. Before her wake, our family members had to arrive at the HK Funeral Home 1.5 hours early to put on her clothes for the last journey and to look at the make up being put on her. Again, myself being her only biological daughter and my husband had to make the decisions. We decided that her lipstick was too strong, thus asked the artist to make it lighter, and that to put a bit of colour on her face as it was too pale already. She just looked like she was sleeping soundly. She was viewed from a small freezer room at the side of the hall. Occasionally when some of her relatives cried uncontrollably such as my UK uncle’s wife, I was being led to cry as well. Otherwise, most of the times, I hardly have any emotions.

On Tue morning, before she was put into the coffin, there was a ceremony for it. Some people looked really sad when viewing her mortal body for the final time. As for me, guess too much sadness inside me, that when the whole family viewed her for the final time, I still had no tears come out. I went back to view her for a second time, but still no tears. I guess that my mind just not registered the fact that she was gone forever. Even when pressing the button for her body to go down in the Cape Hill Crematorium, I did not have a single drop of tears, which was really strange.

Then the following days of the week, I went to sleep with my dad’s first secretary in the hotel in North Point that she was staying at in Hong Kong at night time, as my husband due to his new job, must really relocate to Shanghai, though I am unwilling to go somehow……… So must go for their health check before they can process his practising license in Mainland China. The registration likely to take a month at least, so he most likely need to start the job in August this year. I went to spend the afternoon with one of my childhood friends, and night time with my dad’s former secretary, for 2 days. After she left for the airport on Friday morning, I went back home. Had late lunch with my best friend and also classmate from university and then my babysitter’s daughter came over to stay the night at my place. She stayed all the way through Sat after dinner, as that was when my husband was gonna come back from Shanghai. His Cathay Pacific flight of 4 pm was delayed for close to 6 hours, so he arrived home at 1:30 a.m.

The next day Sunday in the afternoon, I went to pick up my mom’s ashes in the HK Funeral Home. We are storing it there for the time being till her sea burial some time in October this year. Still there is no emotions even when the funeral home staff put my mom’s ashes into the urn that we bought for her. That evening, had dinner hosted by our family friend who assisted us with my mom’s funeral arrangements in one of HK’s famous restaurants in Wan Chai, my late dad’s kitchen for lunch and dinner every time last time. My primary 2 maths teacher was also being invited. Some of the managers and captains in the restaurant asked me about my mom, when I told them she departed this world already some time back, they all looked shocked and with disbelief.

Week 5- Monday I came back to Singapore with my husband that afternoon. I had been feeling sad, cried easily on the way to the taxi, in the Airport Express Train; just felt so sad after I came home as footsteps of my mom were everywhere, in her empty bedroom now, our dining room, and our sitting room etc. Some flashbacks occurred. On Tue afternoon, we went to the agency to sort out the maid’s new contract, luckily only internal transfer in Singapore. Again, inside the car, just sitting on her favourite car seat made me cry uncontrollably, even my husband asked why like this since my return to Singapore. I deep down know that I cannot carry on like this, so went to consult a Chinese Dr yesterday (Wed)noon. He said that what I am feeling now is completely normal, though completely over board. He thinks that I am hitting depression. He felt my pulse and said that I have suddenly lost the pillar of my life, thus felt completely lost, and thus what I am feeling now. He believes that the uncertainty surrounding the impending move to Shanghai in August plus the grief I am enduring now is what caused me to have even more and more stress than I can bear. He prescribed me with 2 weeks of herbs so that I can sleep better at night, and to get out of this grief shadow quickly. Before I saw him, I just felt trapped and it was really awful. I just could not explain the feeling, just that as if my heart is jumping out of the window or that there is a heavy piece of rock pressed on top of my heart. Luckily I quickly realized that what I am feeling does not seem to be at all normal, and sought help quickly, before it turned into something worse and full blown.

Hopefully with the passing of time, my heart pain will ease. It is almost impossible to forget about my mom completely, as she was in so much of my life since the passing of my dad some 9 years ago.






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