The choices we make haunt us forever. That’s one of my mottos. No matter what you do, your past will always come back to haunt you. Your embarrasments (hoped I spelled that correctly), your hopes, dreams, bitterness, disappointments… It doesn’t matter that you’ve fulfilled something you set out to do. Something will always come back and make you regret it.

Unlike the song, I have a few, and they are not too few to mention. The pain, the regrets, but most importantly, the people I met whom I never gave a chance to know. Losing a chance to meet them… These were people I only knew when they were gone.

I’ve had two deaths on my mother’s side, both of whom were rather important to the family. One was my maternal grandfather, whom I did not associate much as he spoke Hokkien and I didn’t speak a word of it. Well, just a little. I liked him because he was nice, but he never hugged nor held me. Coming from a conservative and traditional Chinese family, that was to be expected. I think his greatest regret was that he never had a grandson. You see, though I have a brother, my brother carries my dad’s family name and not my maternal grandfather’s. There was talk of perhaps changing my brother’s name, but that too was scrapped.

My gradfather passed away when I was 10. It’s been nine years since his death. We were blessed about two years ago with finally, the heir to the family name. He gave a scare during his early years as he contracted a disease that had killed a lot of children in Sabah and Sarawak, but now he’s fine and making us run around when we play with him. He has two cousin sisters who are in their middle and early twenties, a cousin who is 19 (that’s me!) and her 16 year old brother, and lastly, a cousin who is very much closer to his age, eight years old. With the exception of my brother, the rest of us are all girls.

My youngest female cousin on this side also has a sad story. Her mother passed away about three years ago, shortly before my cousin brother was born. She was in her 30s. She had had brain tumours appearing now and then. I still remembered holding her daughter in my arms during those dark, last days. Death is never, ever a pretty thing!