Tuesday, 21 April 2015

My Journey Home With Dad

An Eulogy To My Father 

Nothing could ever describe the helplessness I felt as I watched Dad's condition rapidly deteriorate at the hospital as he succumbed to pneumonia on 17th April.  I had no choice but to accept a Do Not Resuscitate order as he was not responding to the antibiotics and his blood pressure was rapidly dropping.   

Nothing could ever describe the extreme pain and grief felt with the loss of a man who had shaped me to be who I am today.  I had no choice but to accept the duty of the eldest child, go through the motions of managing his funereal affairs while managing my Mum's and my brother's grief.  

If I could give my entire life for anything, it would be to just hold him again for one more day. For the past 5 days, I visualized him in my mind, and saw myself shaking him while screaming, "I can't do this! Why are you making me do this?"  Dad however, was not one that would subscribe to such silly, idealistic talk. He was a practical man. If he was alive now, he would have slapped me at the back of my head, dismissed my moment of over-emotional balderdash and said, "Oh, just get on with it!"

So I will listen to my Dad.  I will just get on with it.  As Dad took his last walk on his journey to his forever home, he would have wanted me to celebrate his life instead of mourning my loss. He would also have wanted me to thank  those who were part of that journey that included a lifetime of amazing experiences, friendships, joy, and sadness, which I wish to recall today.

As a daughter, I grew up with a father who had a sunshine personality beneath that erudite exterior. As you may remember, Dad was a big joker. He laughed at everything. He regaled stories of his university life where he played pranks on his friends.  He always had a joke up his sleeves. More often than not, the jokes were aimed at the establishment or particular government officials whom I may or may not  name here. Even as Dad laid at the hospital bed drawing his last breath, I could hear him say, "Kuan Yew, it's my chance to come after you now.  You see how far you can run?"

Dad was a straight shooter who never minced his words. He held on to his ideals and vision in spite of that dark period of our family's life when he was detained without trial under the Internal Security Act.   These ideals centered very much on his firm belief in free speech and thought.  Although Mum and I struggled  with Dad's absence at that time, I was very proud of him for the sacrifices he made, and the lessons he taught me about authenticity and the importance of always standing by our personal values. 

More than anything else, Dad knew where his priorities were. They were his family and close friends.  He loved to be surrounded by family and close friends and actually made that happen this week. You see, his death saw the reconciliation of family members whom we had not been in contact with for years due to past disagreements.  We made peace, the way Dad would have wanted it.

I also believed that by the grace of divine intervention and my having been inspired by his life, that led me to pen that blog post The Harder Truth, which saw the reunion of his old colleagues from the company he had worked in many years ago, the Goodwood Group as well as acquaintances who had lived and perhaps played with him as a child when he was living in his childhood neighborhood of Geylang.   We also saw the coming together of old friends from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church where he had served as a warden, from his days at the then University of Singapore, and even from way back, his Siglap Secondary School days.  

I now came to realize that my highly practical Dad had truly made it happen for himself.  He  took his last walk on his journey to his forever home with the people who mattered most to him.  

So today I would like to not only celebrate the wonderful man that he was, but also the wonderful life that he had, only because of the family and friends that had been part of that journey.

Postscript: This post is dedicated to my hero of a father, Lawrence Ong Bock Chuan, 1 March 1941 - 17 April 2015.  On the family's behalf, I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our family and friends for the well wishes, condolences, wreaths, gifts, contributions, your presence, prayers and thoughts.  I would also like to specially thank Rev. Father Edward Seah and the Ministry of Consolation at St Anne's Church and the St. Joseph Dying Aid Association for being part of my father's last journey home.

About The Writer

The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years.  Due to her love for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing MMA-related articles to several sports media.  She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from www.singaporemaven.com.  She is passionate about Boxing and Muay Thai and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her.  She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot.  This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled  “the bloke with ginger hair”.  


  1. Nadim van der Ros21 April 2015 at 07:37

    Perhaps your father held on long enough to see you come to terms with what happened to him, and let go of that struggle in yourself. With that settled, he could move on without a worry for his daughter. In any case, strength and fortitude to you and yours during this time.

    1. Thanks Nadim. Yes, perhaps so. On many levels, the entire family and even friends who had lost touch with him for so long, seemed to have come to terms with a lot more than we had bargained for. My dad is so clever.