Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Andrew's dog and Christmas
October 4th, 1989
I had no recollection who I went with and how I went; or if I did the things I intended to do. I did go to Newmarket and was at the Chemist shop at 277, Broadway. Suddenly, I wanted to buy things for Andrew. I had not prepared anything for him. I grabbed an armful of soft toys, and as I was about to pay for them, a torrent of tears flowed. What was I doing? Andrew couldn’t play with them? Andrew was dying. The girl at the shop saw me and asked if I was okay. She probably thought I was sick. I held the toys to my chest. My poor Andrew, Mum hasn’t given you anything. Eventually I composed myself and chose a little brown puppy with floppy ears and big brown eyes. I gave it to Andrew and put it in the bassinet. Deep in my heart, I had a sense of satisfaction. Sweet Andrew, Mum did give you something after all.
When Andrew died, I gave away all of his things except one, that little brown puppy dog. I kept it with his lock of hair. Then I kept it with my Christmas decoration. Every year, when we decorated the tree, I have told the children this is Andrew’s dog. In my heart, I grieve for Andrew. This is another Christmas he won’t be joining us. I told nobody about this. I wonder what Chen Onn will think when he reads this. In December 2004, Gabrielle and I left Singapore for New Zealand. Chen Onn rang and asked if he could donate the Christmas tree to the students. They were raising funds for the tsunami in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. I told him, make sure you keep Andrew’s dog.
I still have the puppy dog and I will keep the dog as long as I live. Then I will bequeath it to Deborah. She knew her brother better than Gabrielle and Samuel.
The morning doctor saw the puppy dog. He said I looked much happier. He suggested that instead of dwelling all the time on the sad situation, perhaps I could think of the good things. He had noticed that I was writing a lot and I had a lot of friends.
He suggested, “You have so many helpful friends, why not write about them? It will be good therapy.”
This children’s song I used to teach my Sunday School class came like honey. Count your blessings, counting your blessings one by one.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
I couldn’t remember all the lyrics, but the words “count your blessings, count your blessings” became real and comforting. I thought of all my loved ones, my husband, even though I had threatened to leave him the day before, my two beautiful and healthy girls, and my many friends.