A couple of months back, my uncle (dad’s brother), who’s in his early 50s, suffered a heart attack and had to be warded, operated on and have a pacemaker installed in his chest. While he had always had some heart issues, the attack (and the fact that he almost died) came as a shock to us all and freaked us out since apparently the heart problem he has is hereditary.
Then, last week, I found out that an auntie (mum’s cousin, I think), who’s in her early 40s, had a brain vessel rupture/leak (not confirmed which yet), and would almost certainly have died if she had not fortuitously just been in the hospital at that time visiting someone else. While she’s out of the critical period now, she’ll be warded for at least another few months and even after that, the doctors said she would probably suffer some permanent damage from it. She’d be walking with a limp, for starters, for the rest of her life, which is sad, considering she has always been a friendly, vivacious and fiercely independent person who lived on her own.
And then, just about half an hour ago, my mum called to tell me that another uncle (dad’s cousin), who was 39, just dropped dead while in the PGP’s gym, despite being rushed to the hospital, couldn’t be resuscitated. This was especially shocking because I always thought he was the healthiest one around. And it’s especially sad since his kids are so young (daughter is 5, son is 3), not to mention the fact that he himself was not only young, but also a brilliant man (he was the assoc dean of NUS science) and a very nice person to boot. In fact, just a few weeks ago, he’d sent me some emails regarding scholarships I could take up and he’d always been an ardent supporter of me trying out for the USP programme.
It’s just seems such a shock. I mean, I know heart attacks and what not are becoming more and more common nowadays but it only really hits you when it hits so close to home. Plus, all three of these relatives are relatively young and in the prime of their careers and lives.
While I’m not prone to philosophy and I’m not going to wax lyrical here, all these events (creepily close to each other while still detached enough to be coincidental) does make one stop in the hustle and bustle of life to briefly think about what is really important eh? What happens if we drop dead tomorrow?
I guess this is what they always mean to not get too caught up in a hectic, busy lifestyle but to occasionally take time back to enjoy yourself (not that I have much trouble with this), to not stress out over every small thing and also to lead a healthy lifestyle, which I’ve been totally neglecting these few weeks (with exam mugging as my excuse).
So, to all my friends and readers (and to my own temperamental, stressed out self too), don’t get too caught up in succeeding in life and getting great results yeah? While results are great, they aren’t everything and sometimes, we just have to take a breather and appreciate the smaller things in life. After all, we never know when we’d be going or at what age we would be struck with serious ailments.
Rest in peace, Uncle Roland, and I’ll see you up there someday.
eta: Wow, my uncle’s death actually made it to the news.