They say that time heals everything — sorrow, pain, anguish and agony. I think the saying shares a common feature with legal rules – it is generally applicable, with certain exceptions or caveats. Certain powerful memories from the past, however distant, have a way of clawing back at us and haunting our minds forever.
A few moments ago, I felt a bout of melancholy. My mind wandered back many years, bringing to mind someone who was a really close friend. I used the past tense because he has passed away. He passed away ten years ago, in a tragic accident, while heroically trying to save his drowning friends. I was 17 at the time, but the memory of our friendship and his death still features so strongly in my mind.
We got to know each other when I was twelve. He was two years younger than me, but we really got along. He was really mischievous as a kid, always thinking of creative ways to pull pranks on others. Some of the things he thought of and did – seriously, you couldn’t make them up. Imagine frozen slippers, toothpaste-decorated leather shoes, coffee seasoned with soy sauce, tea infused with chili sauce, etc. A very good-looking boy, he was always flirty with the girls (usually older than him!). The worst thing I could do to him was to ruffle his meticulously-gelled hair at a social function – he would go berserk. But really, deep down inside, I knew that he was a kind, gentle and perspicacious boy. At times, he was childishly naive, but that made him all the more unique.
We shared some amazing times together. He really was like a younger brother to me. We used to arrange for our parents to have supper together at random restaurants and stalls, so that we could see each other and talk nonsense. He enjoyed annoying and teasing me, but was splendidly gifted at making me laugh when he apologised. I always knew that he looked to me as an older brother – I deeply regret the fact that as I became busier in secondary school, I had less time to mess around with him. A very talented and almost self-taught pianist, he inspired me to pursue my own musical interests more vigorously. By dragging me to his church youth camp when I was twelve, he was the first person to properly introduce me to Christianity.
Today is the tenth anniversary of his death. I find myself shackled by powerful emotions as the memories from our past swerve through the recesses of my mind. I recall my horror and grief when he died. I trembled and wept as I delivered an eulogy at his funeral. But yet, somehow, I am not entirely surprised by the circumstances of his death. I could totally see him risking his life for his friends, and that was exactly how he died.
My dearest brother Kyyern, I miss you so much and I shall never understand why were you taken from us so soon. I can only pray for God’s blessings upon your soul.