Tuesday, June 7, 2011

25 years ago today...

At Kuala Lumpur Wesley Methodist Church on June 5 1986

Amidst the dark clouds, a very special silver lining...

On June 7, today, my wife and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It is the Silver Anniversary and it reminds me of that most common saying that behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining.

I wonder how many of you have actually seen such a silver lining. I have seen it many times because looking upwards is something I do quite often – be it to appreciate a sunrise, a sunset, the clouds or simply the clear blue sky.

I realize that it is hard for those who know me to equate my current battle with the Big C as a dark cloud. After all, those who have visited me have remarked often enough that I look perfectly okay. Save for the bald look, no one would know what I am going through.

Through my generally positive writing in public, people do wonder if I have my dark moments. It seems you are always swimming upstream, a friend commented.

I wonder how many of you have read our book, Face to Face with Cancer, with the blow-by-blow account of my earlier two journeys.

I note one thing – those who are cancer patients, or the immediate caregivers, are the ones who have read it cover to cover. I suspect that the majority of those who have a copy of the book, but where the Big C is not real to them, have just given it a quick browse.

Which is a shame. The chronicles will reveal that it is never up and positive. Like a rollercoaster, as my wife puts it, my emotions can run wild at times. The book is not so much a journey with cancer, but a journey with my Soulmate.

It is the same with this journey. Just the other day, I was really down and was in effect telling my wife that I have lost faith in people. I felt all alone as the visitors have dried up, as have the letters, the cards, the SMS… No one seems to want to hug me anymore.

Being home-bound out of medical necessity, I could not be proactive in seeking out company, as I was able to when I was fully well. Dear friends in hospitals, and I could not visit them. Nor could I drop in on old, lonely people to have tea or a chat. I could not run around doing errands. It seemed the world has moved on.

But of course, the reality is not as bleak as I have described. Funny how chemo drugs can play havoc on your mind as well. The sense of loneliness is exaggerated. Which is why my wife will just smile when I am in this mode and say, “Don’t worry, you never lose faith. You never lose heart.”

And then, true enough, I will spring back the next day.

My wife is like that. She is indeed the silver lining in my life, and I know God will not feel slighted because He is in a different plane altogether.

But surely, on this side of Heaven, who can compare to my dear wife? In the 25 years we have been married, she has walked alongside me every step of the way. Through good times, through tough times, she has been the steady anchor in my life.

It has been an interesting life for us certainly. I have done well in my career but I still count the years when I stayed home as a full-time homemaker to take care of my two boys to be the most meaningful. It takes a special wife to be able to stand up and tell the world that the man of the house is indeed the man in the house. (Click here for a special article about our special kind of parenting)

And what about my journeys with cancer? Not once, not twice, but three times? Through it all, she is that special caregiver par excellence. I get a lot of support from many friends, relatives and neighbours but only she can be there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on, or when I wake up in the middle of the night, anxious and frightened, wondering what tomorrow holds.

I had made some plans to celebrate this 25th anniversary with something big, but my current health situation does not permit me to do so. And then it dawns on me that for us, every day has been a celebration.

We don’t need to mark out a day to officially celebrate.

I wake up each morning in the arms of someone who truly takes our marriage vows seriously. And she does not have to join the Obedient Wives Club to prove it. She is not only a great wife, but my friend and my soulmate.

After 25 years, we still talk to each other like the time when we were courting. And as a mother to our two boys, I find no one to compare her with.

Whenever she is asked her why she chose me over the many other admirers, she would say, “I knew your heart!”

And so did I. Our two hearts came together as one because they were in synch with each other. As much as she loves me, her heart is much much bigger than that. Her love extends into areas that seek to bless others.

She has always been that essential reminder for us to be in the world, and yet not of the world. The material prosperity has always been there for our picking but we are thankful that God has blessed us with what we need, no more, no less.

I met my wife on May 2 1985 and we got married 401 days later. It was a whirlwind courtship certainly which hardly gave us time to really know each other deeply before we committed ourselves to spend the rest of our lives together.

These past 25 years have been a journey of discovery and every moment, every decision, have made it such a joy ride.

For many of us, we may notice a silver lining once in a while. I am thankful that there is this silver lining in my life all the time.

So whether we celebrate our Silver Anniversary, our Golden Anniversary or our Diamond Anniversary, it is indeed very special that we do not regret a single day that makes up all these years.


Amidst her caring for me in this current journey with the Big C, she found time to paint this to celebrate our 25th. I, on the other hand, enlisted the help of a dear friend, Sharon, to paint this for her.


And my better half responds...

Darling, my thoughts on our anniversary. Feel free to share with friends... XXX

I have on occasion been referred to as the Proverbs 31 wife by Ewe Jin. The fact is there can be no Proverbs 31 wife without a Psalm 1 man – he is like a tree planted by streams of water, he yields fruit in season and prospers in whatever he does.

I have been so blessed to have spent the last 25 years – half of my life – with this wonderful man, who flourishes like a well-watered plant, always offering the good fruit of loving kindness to everyone around him, and prospering in the eyes of God, with treasures that moth or rust cannot destroy.

I looked right into Ewe Jin’s heart from the day we met and I was swept off my feet by what I saw – a heart that was kind and selfless and big enough to accommodate everyone, both friend and foe.

Wine and roses quickly gave way to nappy changes and drippy noses. Teething problems, growing pains, teenage angst – these are enough to faze anyone. But with Ewe Jin beside me, parenting was every moment a joy. Indeed, it has been my great joy and privilege to be a very ordinary woman married to such an extraordinary man.

Ewe Jin is a man who thought nothing of downing tools (and mind you, he is very good with those tools) to stay home and be full time father to our boys for many years. He is also always the first to volunteer help to those in need. And above all, has an infectious enthusiasm for life.

In 25 years, there have been as many birthday surprises! I have been so very loved and cherished. And as we continue to journey together, in sickness and in health, I know that the best years are yet to be. Happy anniversary to my Soulmate. I love you!


evylin said...

...lovely! indeed it touches my heart so deeply. Happy 25th Anniversary to both of you, i wish every happiness there is in this world to both of you and may God continue to bless you & family with all the beautiful things life has to offer.

pckk said...

Jesus is always stay close to us! Happy 25th Anniversary to both of you. Your journey with "C" help me to be inspire with more positive thinking. There is light in our "C" journey. Our journey is to have a close relationship with Jesus.
I am nose cancer survival too. Completed 6 chemo and 35 radiation in August 2009. Now, it recur again and spread to my lung nodules. Need 6 chemo, waiting 3 chemo on 1st of July.
Jesus give me hope, faith and love.

God bless.