Leaving Behind A Twenty Year Load

Sunset over Relau
Sunset over Relau, Penang.

Dad have never asked me why? Mum never asked me why, too? They steadfastly stood by me, providing all that I needed. They never once asked. Did they not want to know? I knew why. I had the answers. It would have taken the load off my chest had they asked. Perhaps they did not want to make me feel guilty. Perhaps they accepted that it was my fate, and theirs. It is a wonder how a single “why” could weigh me down so.

They have never openly displayed their grief to me. I am sure they have silently shed tears by themselves and together untold times. I have always wondered when they would ask. They never did. At times when I looked at them, I was very tempted to say, “Pa, Ma, this is why.” I never got around to doing it. They never asked, right up to the end. This is a heavy burden to bear. I need to unload somehow. Now is as good as any other time. Two decades is too long to be wondering, hoping, for something that my parents have accepted a long time ago. They are not here anymore. The time to stop and breathe is now, this very moment, here.

Pa, Ma, here is the why. I was young. I was restless. I was fearless. I was invincible. That was what I thought. And perhaps to impress the girl at the other end of the empty pool. There were many reasons. I have done that hundreds of times. It was that final dive that did me in. The gist was that I overcompensated by arching my body when I realised that I was going to slam into the surface. My angle of entry was too shallow. Then it became too steep. I went straight in. I was five feet ten. The pool was slightly shallower. The moment my head hit the bottom of the pool I felt the entire weight of my body flipping over. And all was eeriely calm after that. That was the beginning of a long ardous journey for me, for you, for us.

I am sorry, Pa, Ma, for bringing you untold grief. Your hope for me to become an engineer was dashed by that one moment of silliness. Your hope for becoming a grandfather and a grandmother was dashed when you realised that I will never be able to father children. I could not undo what I have done. But Pa, Ma, I am sure that you have realised by now that God has greater plans for me. Do you see the road ahead of me being lighted up bit by bit day by day? It is gradually becoming clear. The pieces are beginning to fall into place.

Pray for me, Pa, Ma, that I may succeed in this endeavour. I am putting the “why” down and leaving it behind now. I am looking forward to the next milestone with great anxiety and excitement. As a son, I have never done anything that you could be proud of. For once, just for once, please allow me to make you proud of me this time. Pray that I may have sufficient strength and time to carry this through. Pray that my faith will always be strong. Pray for me.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

14 thoughts on “Leaving Behind A Twenty Year Load”

  1. They understand it. We all do. You been staying strong all these while. So are your parents. God loved you more than you can imagine.

  2. Oh dear Peter. I am so touched by this post. I want to say I’m sorry, but I know I shouldn’t. Because there should be nothing to be sorry about. Well, I guess we were all young once upon a time. Youth remains a memory, and it is the Lord that we should seek. When you are in heaven, peter, you shall walk, run, jump, dance, and dive again! Just jump properly next time.

  3. Well, Peter…youth remains a memory and all this while you stay very strong, i really admired your courage so do keep it up. Me and my family pray that your faith will always be strong. God bless you, Peter. Yeah … Happy New Year 2006 to u and wish u have greater strength each day.

  4. God is Great! But in Man, God is Greatest. Because of Will. The Will to strive to Godliness. I remember the lines of a song called “Stay Gold”…”Life is but a twinkling of an eye…” The song reminded me that we will all fade away, eventually. We will all be aged and weak and gone. But all of us have a chance to make a mark and make a difference….To be “gold”, and stay gold forever.. Here’s the rest of the song: Stay gold (by Stevie Wonder) (Good if you know the tune as well…sorrylah I so sentimental…Peter, you started it!)…

    Seize upon that moment long ago
    One breath away and there you will be
    So young and carefree
    Again you will see
    That place in time…so gold

    Steal away into that way back when
    You thought that all would last forever
    But like the weather
    Nothing can ever…and be in time
    Stay gold

    But can it be
    When we can see
    So vividly
    A memory
    And yes you say
    So must the day
    Too, fade away
    And leave a ray of sun
    So gold

    Life is but a twinkling of an eye
    Yet filled with sorrow and compassion
    Though not imagined
    All things that happen
    Will age too old
    Though gold

  5. Hi, I am sure your parents will be proud of you. You have also proven to yourself that you can achieve. Working in hospitals and having in contact with a lot of inconvenienced people, you sure are an inspiration for all. Keep it up and may success greets you in all your endeavour.

  6. I’m sure they will be proud of you. May your angels watch over you as alwis. God bless You. HuGGieS

  7. It’s about twenty-five years since I dived in off the side of the swimming pool and for no reason that I know I just didn’t pull up again before I banged my head on the bottom. After I came out of the pool I went to catch a bus and suddenly found myself on the ground beside the bus stop with blood coming from my nose. The doctor who looked at my X-ray thought I’d fractured my skull, then changed his mind and decided that the signs were just the skull sutures. I didn’t have any more black-outs. You were unlucky, I was lucky. You’ve carried the burden I and my parents might have had to bear. I’m sure you more than made up to your parents for any disappointment they may have experienced.

  8. You have come a long way since that fateful day and you have travelled that road with more dignity than many an able-bodied man. Your parents would have every reason to be proud of you. All the best in your latest endeavour!

  9. Thank you all for your kind words. I needed to get this out. Now that it is out, I am very relieved. Thank you.

  10. Dearest, dearest Peter,

    To say that God has higher callings for you .. by leaving you the way you are.. seems so harsh..??!!?? it almost seems cruel..to me at times.
    But Peter, I know that our God is faithful.. ! and i know he sees the future.. and i know .. he does not test us unless he knows what we can handle.
    Thru’ you .. Peter .. I’ve seen courage beyond anyone or anything that i’ve known. Thru’ you .. I find strength, inspiration.. and most of all…… the love of God.
    I can’t see the future.. Peter.. but i know who holds our tomorrow.
    You are always on my mind.

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