What needed to be done was accomplished yesterday evening. It took me a long time to psych myself up to make that call. What was I supposed to say to a woman who has just lost her son? It all happened so suddenly. It all happened so unexpectedly. He went to work early in the morning and came back in a coffin. I was lost. I did not know what I should say. In times like this words alone would not be sufficient.
I looked at the clock. It was eight. I looked at Wuan. She gave me a reassuring look. I was hesitant but I had to made that call anyway. My hand felt weaker than it usually was as I picked up the phone. My fingers were trembling when I pressed the numbers. I called Peter. He has been with them the whole day assisting where needed. He passed the phone to her. I told her who I was and became tongue-tied. The two silent seconds felt like two hours.
“You have to eat. You have to take care of yourself,” I continued.
Seeming oblivious to those words, she said, “Bo liao.”
I started crying when I heard her voice breaking, and we both cried over the phone.
“You have to look after yourself too,” she advised me. She had always been concerned for Mum’s and my welfare. And still caring for me at a time like this made me really lost for words.
“He has constantly been asking about you. We wanted to go see you but we did not know if you were around.”
My chest felt tight upon hearing those words. I tried to speak but all I could manage were intelligible grunts. I was bawling. Wuan grabbed some tissues from the box, removed my glasses and wiped my eyes. She had expected me to cry but not to this extent. When we both have calmed down, we spoke for a short while more and hung up. I wished I knew how to comfort her but I did not. What do you say to a mother who has just lost her child?
Death Came Suddenly