Che has been putting off writing this to you because I wasn’t sure if I was able to pen down everything in my heart. I wasn’t sure if the act of writing this, and remembering everything would overwhelm me. But having said that, my dear, you’ve always wanted me to be strong and so as excruciating as it is for me to write this, I will chin up and write you the best eulogy one can deserve. This is a heartfelt letter to you, my baby brother from me, your only sister.
I want you to know that I will never trade you in for another. The day before you left for Manila, I remember sitting with you, over beers. We had a heart to heart talk and till today, I remember what you said. You told me that as far as siblings go, we’re the closest a sister and a brother can ever be. We are each other’s confidante and pillar of strengths. You are my crutch, and I am your sidekick. You said.. “I tell you all my secrets!! Which brother does that?” And I recall chuckling, just simply enjoying this deeply rooted bond that we both share. And I need you to know, that I may have not been the best sister ever, but you never complained..never wished upon anybody else, accepted me for all my flaws and peculiarity, celebrated my individuality and continued to love me with everything you had.
The days following your farewell, are days that I looked upon with a bittersweet taste lingering in my heart. Within hours of your parting, your Facebook wall was peppered with loving and sentimental messages for you. A Dennis Chua Memorial page was set up, and I had the pleasure and comfort of reading hundreds of eulogies posted by your friends from all walks of life. For days and weeks to come, you will come to know that as a tribute to you, profile pictures were changed to that of you. The following week, they celebrated your existence in KL. It made me honoured and humbled at the same time to have experienced and saw all these happening. Your photos were everywhere, your smile, the sweet, sweet smile that crinkles up your eyes, were literally all over Facebook. And there I was, thinking, yes..that’s my baby brother allright.
The day of your wake was of me witnessing masses of friends and relatives arriving to pay their last respects to you. It started with a trickle, and within an hour, I was literally gobsmacked. Man, I knew you have lots of friends, but this many is beyond my wildest imagination. You have friends flying in from Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, all within a moments’ notice to be with you during your last day. People gathered together and they celebrated your life. They huddled close by, relishing memories of you. Some imitated the way you always rubbed your nose upwards. Some recited your favourite, trademark phrases. Some told of funny and hilarious stories from way back when. Some even tried to dance the way you do. They drank with you, cheered to your memories, and sang your favourite songs. They held my hands, wiped my tears, gave me hugs and told me what an amazing and marvellous person you are. Mostly, they remembered your smile. And with that, I witnessed the births of new friendships, among all your friends, from various ages, from different walks of life. And I sat there witnessing all this unfolding before me, and for a long long time, I was encased in a cloud of pure happiness and gratitude to have a brother like you.
We stayed with you the whole night long. Your friends took care to rotate in shift, each one reluctant to leave your side. I remember crying a lot, but looking down at you, my angel, I see a picture of peace on your charming face. I feel as if a cloud of tranquillity and calmness has finally descended upon you. And I took refuge in that. I needed to believe, and please know that I do, that you’re now soaring with the likes of angels, in God’s kingdom. You’re finally home.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t angry. For a while, I was enraged. I was furious and exacerbated at the fact that you were stolen from me. I kept asking myself. Why you? And for countless moments, even now, there wasn’t a second I wish that person wasn’t me. But as I look around me at the wake, I saw raw, unconcealed feelings unveiling before my very eyes. It was painful to watch. But it was the delicate and fragile soreness of the pain of losing you that bonded all of us together. And in that instant, I ran over to Mummy and I told her..I said, “Stop crying for a second and look around you, Mummy..Nik isn’t just a son to you. He isn’t just a brother to me. Look around you, Mummy. Everyone of these people. He was someone to each and everyone of them. He is a lot of things, a loyal, resolute and staunch friend, a devoted and loving boyfriend, a cheerful and gracious nephew, a generous and helpful colleague, an esteemed and valued employee, a significant and memorable stranger..and quite honestly, I could go on and on. But Mummy, most importantly, he is love.”
Losing you. Those two words are like nails being wedged into the center of my heart. So no. I have not lost you. I will not say goodbye. To me, you dwell inside my heart and you linger on my soul. You will remain in my heart no matter where Life brings me. My first-born, if I am ever so blessed will carry your name. He or she will learn all about you and you will always remain a part of our lives. The bond between you and me is God’s greatest gift to me. It is everlasting, it is immortal, it is unbreakable.. So Nik, you can kid the World, but not your sister. I’m smiling because you’re my brother. And yet, I’m laughing because there’s nothing you can do about it!
Fly high, my angel. I love you always. And God knows, how much I miss you.
p/s: Don’t get too happy for this is only the first of my millions of letters to you. I will write you everything, chronicling every single detail. Yes, even of those you don’t want to know. I will continue to make you happy, irritate you and make you laugh. Letters to heaven. Letters for my baby brother.