Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Photohunt: Empty /International ‘Wave of Light’ on Monday, 15th October

I snuck into the vestry of a church and took some photos. 
This photo has some empty candle sticks, which suits the meme of this week.

But to me, and many of my Sands/ bereaved parents' club, 

empty refers to empty arms.

Nini Tanzania was my saving grace
 when I was mourning for Andrew.
I was knew Nini Tanzania at NTU when I first arrived.
Nini gave me this set of cross stitch 
which is 1/2 meter by 1 meter.
I hibernated in the air conditioned room
 and finished it in 1 month.
People normally took months and months.

It was good seeing Nini again during this trip.
Nini had gone to Australia.
 and I had not seen her for years.
She couldn't recall this.
 This is for you, Nini. 

I put this at the corner of my living room. 
Most people who come to my house,
 ( There were many people when I 
was in Nanyang University in Singapore), 
They wow at my cross stitch. Sometimes, I tell them about Andrew.
My candles for Andrew are lit in my heart. 

This is also my silent way of witnessing that 

God is Love despite the many trials and tribulations in my life.
 Life is not problem-free. You’re either in a crisis, 
coming out of a crisis, or about to go into a crisis.” 
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things 
to work together for good to those who love God,
 to those who are called according to His purpose.

excerpt of my book.

Chapter 36 -       August 1990-July 2006

August 1990-July 2006, friends in Singapore

Genuine friends,
Are rare gold nuggets in a rushing stream.
They stand by you,
Rain or shine.

We lived in a maisonette apartment block. Kay Chiew, 
who later became my best friend, helped me ease
 the transition from temperate New Zealand. 
It was in the middle of winter when we left New Zealand.  
It was very hot in Singapore. During the early days and months, 
I hibernated in an air-conditioned bedroom.

Kay introduced me to other faculty wives and I joined 
their coffee mornings and playgroup. My friend Nini 
showed me her cross-stitch. Hers was the Indonesian 
version where instead of the expensive cross stitch material,
 they use mosquito screens. The end results were the same. 
I admired her big beautiful pieces of finished work 
which took months to do and cost a few hundred dollars to frame up.

Nini offered me a medium sized set, 
complete with the pattern and embroidery threads. 
This was a counted cross stitch with a printed paper pattern.  
One had to count the threads across in accordance to the pattern, 
to place the stitches in the correct place and order.
 It looked very complicated. I declined because I told her 
I would not be in the mood to do it, and I would be wasting 
her pack if I left it after doing just a few stitches. 
She persuaded me to take it. It had the pattern 
of a candlestick with three candles, a Holy Bible and
 the words, “God is Love”. God must have inspired Nini
 to choose this pack out of all the packs she had. 
There were scenery landscapes, fruits, flowers. 
But Nini had to give me this pack.

I took the pack, and started to do the cross stitch. 
I had never done one before. I was in the girls’ bedroom. 
I stitched and stitched, as if there was no tomorrow.
 Soon I became a voracious sewer, and the more the patterns
 were appearing, the more I wanted to stitch.  The netting 
broke sometimes, and parts of the pattern were very finicky. 
That didn’t faze me. I couldn’t sleep at night. 
Chen Onn did not call me to bed. 
It was as if I was a maniac sewer.  
I remember it was like that when I made a queen-sized 
quilt one weekend.

Nini and her other friends were shocked. 
What people normally took six months, 
I took one month. My brother-in-law, Chin Fatt 
got it framed for me in Malaysia. 
He didn’t want me to pay for the framing. 
It would have cost $600 in Singapore. 
I said it was going to be my heirloom.
It was going to be my testimony to hang up
in my lounge that the “God is Love”. 
Though at that time, I didn’t have that deep conviction.
It was coming up to Andrew’s first birthday and anniversary.

Anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby is invited to join an international ‘Wave of Light’ on Monday, 15th October, as part of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. The event encourages people all over the world to light a candle at around 7pm and leave it burning for at least one hour, either at home as a private moment of remembrance, or as part of a group or an event, to remember all the babies who have died during pregnancy, during labour or after birth. Wave of Light concludes Baby Loss Awareness Week, which takes place from 9th -15th October.

Meme for this week: empty


Vicki said...

Very nice portrayal of empty with a lot of strong images evoked from your story.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I don't think there is anything that is more heartbreaking than those empty arms...
Even when life is full. The empty spot is there.
Beautifully shared.

bing said...

those had made me feel empty, too...