"The sharp knife of a short life

I've had just enough time..."

- "If I Die Young" The Band Perry

I see Beauty in many things. And like the ghosts that only speak to you if you notice them, they tell me wondrous tales. With my camera and my thoughts, I captured these as faithfully as I can to share with you. And by doing so, they gave me the reasons. And though the thousand reasons may not all be sweet and some indeed bitter; they are still reasons to live. Come to think about it, that is Life, isn't it?

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Thoughts on Dying and Death.

I've had just enough time to...   mourn the passing of a friend

Death in the Cycle of Life in the lotus pond in Taiping Lake 

Last night (this was written before my trip and posted after) I attended the funeral of one of my friend’s mother. We who were a closely knitted group during high school, now meet as a group only on weddings and funerals. I was the youngest and had left the group though some members still meet regularly for badminton and suppers twice a week. Thus, I have not much to add to the free-flowing conversations but listened with interests. They are good friends but I was always sort of an outsider within, then and now. The trouble was and is with me - a loner of thoughts, a dreamer, impractical and more than a little odd. They on the other hand were regular guys out for a good time, uncomplicated.

Our conversation was not a happy one that night. Not because of the passing of our friend’s mother. Most of us in the group treated death quite casually. The aged have lived their life. They died. It is meant to be. There is nothing particularly sad about it. Death is accepted with resignation, more than sorrow. We may recalled some episodes that involved the dead, felt a few tucks at the heart but generally accepted that death is inevitable and that dragging on just create suffering all round. In this, we are surprisingly similar in thoughts and feelings. Thus, there is very little sadness felt in the funerals we attended of the aged.

We were sad that night because our conversation is not about the dead but the dying and it concerned one of our gang. We learned that one of us did not make it that night because he is terminally ill in hospital with pancreatic cancer, last stage.  Four chemos in a month, the unbearable pain, the despair. In the end, it did not make a difference. He is dying. Why are we talking like he is a piece of bad news? Why are we not feeling it like a blow that floored us? Why are we not on the floor?

Many leaves and flowers have fallen leaving the branches bare...

So many memories. More of his idiosyncrasies than his virtues. More of his embarrassing behaviors than the quiet conversations we had. It made me sad that I did not express any of this to my friends. Why didn’t I? Is it because grief is a very private matter and cuts too close to share it honestly without devaluing the purity of the emotion? Maybe my friends are feeling the same but they are not showing it either. I asked his brother-in-law how was his emotional state. The answer pained me and I wonder (not for the first time) how I would feel if it is me.

One friend remarked that if I wanted to see him, I should visit soon. Again, the thought what I would want if I were him circled like vultures over my head. I know I would hope for a dignified death but if I cannot have that, I would not want others (including my friends) seeing me in a pitiful wasted condition suffering from pain from which they are helpless to release me from. I would not want that. I think it will make me feel worse if my friends visit me. But then, that is me. How would he think? What would he think of me as a friend for not even coming to say the last farewell? What would my other friends think, all of whom will do what most will do? Because they are my friends, what they think of me do matters but should I do what is expected of me or do what feels right? There is no right or wrong, that much I know. But do I follow my heart and my thoughts of doing what is best for my friend or what is best for me? I know if I did not see him before my trip to China, I will probably not see him again after my return.

On my first day in China, I received a text message informing me of his passing...


  1. ineedathis, saoret58, Dot Online, and 3 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1000 Reasons
    The passing of a friend is always a painful affair...

    Lotus Lotus and more Lotus, those seed pods will deposit next years crop for sure,
    Did you know some of the seeds can stay up to 200 years dormant? amazing!
    I hope all is well my friend.

    Onasill~ Current
    Excellent shot, nicely composed and captured Thou


    henrhyde (gill)
    Thought provoking and clever

    People come and go my dear friend but those special one will live in our heart forever .


  2. ineedathis, ΞSSΞ®®Ξ, and 1 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    Lovely patterns Thou! talking about death a friend of mine lost her beautiful cat,

    Onasill~ Current 12 hours ago | reply
    Excellent use of the back light for the effect. Kudos

    Love this silhouetting

    Very deep sad mood in this photo.

  3. I whish you a lot of strength to deal with this Thou San. You are right: Death is part of life. But it is tough to lose a friend...

    Greetings from the Netherlands,


  4. gracious.tony.NZ
    Great sharing !!
    very passionate indeed

    GlobeTrotter 2000
    Wow ! Superb shot !

    Rebecca Ang
    I read your blog post with much interest. Indeed there is sometimes tension between the public and private, the social and personal etc. Sometimes we do not express pain/grief in ways that are socially and publically accepted, but that pain/grief is no less real/authentic. It is about dying, but perhaps, it is also all the more about living. An excellent piece of reflection.


  5. Patricia Speck
    The sadness is for ourselves....in that we miss the person who has passed over.
    Their smile, their laugh, their kindness, their being here when we need an ear to listen..
    .....all these things and more .....is why we feel sadness. We can rejoice though in having
    the privilege to have known them and shared some of our life with them. Not to feel sad
    is not to have loved.....and that is NOT good.
    Their is a tinge of sadness in your photograph.....because of your words.


  6. bloodybee
    beautiful pattern. i like the reflection

    How the times turn ;)
    Sweet thoughts !!

    Kim's Pics :)
    This image really does seem to convey the situation you've spoken about......sad but somewhat hopeful too!

    Though provoking. Wonderful capture.

    october blue
    Captures the mood of dying and sadness in a poignant way . For the passing of a friend ...I whisper a prayer of thanks for the joy they brought to this world ...a prayer of gratitude that they are released from suffering ... & a prayer of hope that they are now in a much better place .

    vignettes_IND 41 minutes ago
    Very sad to hear....but one has to move on.....the old have to make place for the new...that is life...


  7. Eyemdreaming
    So sad is the parting....but hopefully happy are the memories that it calls back to our minds.

    Beautiful composition.

    Beautiful image! Wonderful silhouettes.

    october blue
    A beautiful tracery of branches and leaves ....the complexity of the silhouette seeming to symbolize the complex issues of living and dying that you discussed so eloquently in your writing . Thought-provoking and deeply-felt ...


  8. vignettes_IND
    Very sad to hear....but one has to move on.....the old have to make place for the new...that is life...

    Anna Kwa
    many people avoid talking about death...
    but it is inevitable...but many people feels the pain of losing....and never to see again!
    And...the way to lose a love ones....also affects our reaction...perhaps already prepared for this parting....knowing that it will be down the path of death...when you witness the sufferings....and wish for it to end....as in contrast to a sudden death...the reaction would be a more dramatic one...in my opinion.
    Beautiful capture!

    Steve Taylor (Photography)
    We all return in the end

    Anna Kwa
    beautiful intricate silhouettes...
    thought provoking words..but feelings of different people are just like your intricate leaves...
    perhaps some people can accept death in old age as natural...some people will still feel a strong emotional tie to the love ones....but the memories are what lives on...in the heart...

    Steve Taylor (Photography)
    A wonderful silhouette

    oola *
    the images are perfect for what you have said...
    tough questions and thoughts
    but I have not regretted being at the death beds of people that have mattered to me...
    I think I would have regretted not being there


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