Kor Kor....I want iphone.
Children tend to ask incessantly for things they want. How was I to know there would never be another chance to hear it again? Jayden Tan passed away on April 7 at the tender age of 4. He was Wendy's youngest nephew, and my friend.
Friends are normally people we can talk to, people whom we can relate and communicate with. Jayden was 20 years younger than me, but I count him as a good friend. Though I never saw him as often as Wendy, every time we met was a time filled with joy and fun for both of us. He'll be happy because I let him play with my iPhone, and I'll be happy because he lets me bounce him on my knee and carry him all over the place. No one else's phone has as many games as mine, so I quickly became the favourite 'Kor Kor'. And since he was the youngest and the one I saw most often, he became my favourite kid too.
A friend is someone we have things in common with. Jayden liked blue, which I highly approved of, since I like blue too. He was a naughty boy at times, stubborn and a whiner, but there was never ill intent because in his heart he was a good little boy. I understood all that because I was just like that too. Probably still am today... =)
Oh but we shared other things in common too. Jayden started out as a car fan (he always knew which one was Kor Kor's car), but when daddy bought him his first train set a whole new love blossomed. I loved seeing Jayden play with his Thomas the Tanks. It reminded me so much of myself growing up. One of my fondest memories is when daddy set up this big oval track across the whole dining table and Jayden would watch the trains go round and round, excitedly pointing all the trains. (He loved causing collisions too, but that was not encouraged. =P). I wish I had more years to share our love for trains. I never got the chance to show him my own collections, a regret that I will carry.
But I'm glad we gave Jayden the chance to drive a real car! We'll never forget that time we finished dinner at Desa Park City, and on the way back to San Kor's house he wanted to follow my car. So on the way we stopped by the big empty car park, and I put him on my lap and let him drive around and around while I worked the gas pedals. The look of joy and fascination on his face was amazing, the look of disbelief on his face when I asked him to drive so amusing. If I had to choose one moment where I made him the happiest, that would have been it. And I'm glad I gave him that experience. =)
But most of all, I loved Jayden for being my rock in a hard place - literally. Anyone who has been through meeting your in-laws / girlfriend or boyfriend's family knows how nerve-wracking it can be, what more when your girlfriend has 2 parents, 3 siblings, and a brood of nieces and nephews! It was never easy in the beginning, feeling awkward about where to stand or who to talk to during the family occasions when Wendy was busy with others. But it was always easier with Jayden around. I could entertain him, talk to him, make him smile. I could play toys with him, carry him around, or chase after him. That's the beauty of being a baby - it doesn't take long to trust someone new. And since as a baby he always "had a preference for men" (according to mummy), I seemed to be the perfect fit. I will be eternally grateful to Jayden for all those times. I doubt my meet-the-family sessions would have been half as enjoyable without Jayden around. =)
Jayden will always have a special place in both our hearts, because he was born the same year Wendy and I got together. The first time I met him it must have been around his first birthday, and since then we have watched him grow up year by year, just as our relationship has also grown over the last 3+ years. For every tender step he has taken to standing on his own 2 little feet, so have we taken more steps in our relationship. For as many times as he has fallen down and picked himself back up again, so have we gone through ups and downs and still try to work them out. Though he may no longer be with us, his memory will always be a bond that we share. I have lost a dear friend, and Wendy, a nephew. But we count ourselves blessed that we had the opportunity to be a part of his short, but happy life.
(Jayden Tan Liang Fung passed away on Saturday, April 7 at 12.05am. He was only 4 years old. This is my eulogy for him. The below is Wendy's note to him which she wrote on Facebook, reproduced here as a tribute to him on our blog.)
To Jayden; my sweet, handsome, precious nephew Jayden,
Though you’ve only been with us for only a little over four years, that’s more than enough to make us love you for an infinite number of lifetimes.
It doesn’t seem real. Even after midnight today when you left us, it didn’t feel real. The pain, the tears, they were all there, but I felt almost like I was on the outside looking in. Like this all never happened. I kept on turning to Adam and say to him, “this doesn’t feel real”. I keep on thinking I should wake up to the sounds of you laughing outside my door.
Last week before I went away, you told me you wanted me to buy you a t-shirt, “with a horse, like daddy”. I got you two, and you were over the moon. You waited impatiently throughout the week so that you could wear them both over the weekend.
That was only last weekend.
And then, it was just only Monday where you started to contract this hand foot and mouth disease. It was only Thursday night where I still saw you and talked to you, right before your breathing got heavy and mummy took you to the hospital. It was only yesterday morning where things went downhill and you had to be transferred to the ICU. It was only this morning where you left us.
We come home to an empty house, and I almost expect you to come bounding out of a dark corner like the little ball of energy you’ve grown to become. “Harro Wen Kor!” you would cheerfully shout, almost a little cheekily, as your little feet run towards me as fast as you can.
That was the pure ray of sunshine you were. Still will be in our hearts.
I don’t know why this inhumane virus can take you away from us, taking this boy with so much exuberance, so much life, at such heartbreaking speed. I can’t fathom why the virus could have made its way to the back of your precious brain, why it had to make your heart beat abnormally fast, or why I had to stand by watching helplessly at your door while the doctors tried their best to jolt your little chest alive, but I know I must be happy for you must be in a far brighter, happier place right now, one where sorrow and suffering don’t exist.
I know I must be happy with the priceless treasures you have left me - the smiles, the way you like to wink, the cheeky laughter, the way you must blow out the candles on everyone else's birthday cakes, the way you pull me into your room to watch Transformers with you, the way you like to take pictures, the way your face would light up everytime you heard we were going kai kai - the memories.
You are sorely missed, my boy, but greatly loved and forever remembered.
|Jayden's last birthday - Feb 2012|
|One of the last pictures of Jayden, wearing the blue polo with the big horse that Wendy bought from Bandung. =)|