by Godma Jolene on Monday, 24 October 2011 at 23:20
On Sunday evening, clad in Charmaine's favourite colours of yellow, pink and green, we set off balloons of the same colours flying up into the sky. We sent Charmaine off with smiles amidst tears. We told her to fly... like a fairy.
She had always wanted to be one.
Somehow, the balloons all flew towards the sun and a friend told us it was a sign from Charmaine to tell us that she is fine. We were in tears but we felt a sense of peace knowing that Charmaine is in a better place now.
The logical side of me actually wondered about why balloons float towards the sun but a search on Google warrants no results. I must say that the spiritual side of me is telling me that it’s really a sign and that not everything could be explained by science.
Charmaine’s miraculous smile
For people I know who visited Charmaine at her wake or rather Celebration of Life party as what Cyn mommy termed it, I made it a point to tell them the story behind Charmaine’s phenomenon smile when she passed on. The New Paper (Saturday, 22 October 2011) did not have a report on her smile. Only the Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News ( 新明日报) on the same day had a little section on it but since they wrote Cynthia’s Chinese name wrongly in that little section, some people read that portion with some doubt and actually asked me if the reporter was exaggerating.
Ever since Charmaine was brought home from the ICU to say goodbye (Monday, 3 October 2011), new tumours had been popping up everywhere on her little body. The cancer was spreading at an alarming rate but yet, she still fought on in immense pain. By then, she was rendered almost immobile. Her body was degenerating by the days but still, she continued her battle in spirits.
The last tumour popped up on Thursday (20 October 2011) in Charmaine’s mouth on the inside of her cheek. It was raw and bleeding nonstop till her whole mouth was full of blood. With her little lung failing and her mouth full of blood, she could not even close her mouth.
On this very same day, Cyn mommy for the first time was begging the heavens to take Charmaine away for she did not want her to suffer anymore. She hoped for Charmaine to be free and be the happy girl she had always been.
As if knowing that cyn mommy was finally ready for her to go and only upon the arrival of her beloved gong gong, po po, ku ku and godma, Charmaine slowly left us with cyn mommy hugging her and sobbing. All this while, Jase kor kor was lying face down on the bed, holding onto Charmaine and wailing for his char char to come back. He slowly cried himself to sleep while still holding onto Charmaine.
Much to my sorrow, Charmaine’s mouth was still opened when she passed on. To put it very graphically, her mouth was like a little O-shape. I wetted some gauze while cyn mommy used them to clean the blood inside her mouth. Cyn continued hugging her and talking to her in a soothing voice. Well knowing that she’s gone, some of us family and friends alike continued stroking and talking to her too, saying lots of positive words and at times even joking amidst tears.
About an hour later, a good friend of ours told us that Charmaine seemed to be smiling. True enough, she was indeed smiling! Her mouth seemed to have relaxed and the little O-shape actually transformed into her usual toothy grin while her lips slowly pursed into a smile! It was AMAZING to have actually witnessed such a phenomenon with my own eyes!
Could this be explained by science? I guess so but I prefer to think of her smile in the abstract way.
I really have no idea how it happened but I must say that I’ve actually witnessed many miracles in Charmaine’s short life story.
The last miracle
Today, Cyn mommy went to collect Charmaine’s ashes and to her utter delight, three relics were found in Charmaine’s ashes! Being a Christian, the first time I ever heard about relics in ashes was when my hubby’s paternal grandma passed away. She was such a good person and if I remember correctly, she had a few relics! According to Chinese Buddhism, saints or very highly practiced monks may have them. Special people or people with very good karma (basically a very good heart) may have them too. For Charmaine to have 3 in her little body is truly amazing.
Charmaine is really a special girl and I’m not bragging about it just because I'm her Godma. I could go on about Charmaine’s legacy that she has left behind and how Charmaine is such a courageous, loving and thoughtful little girl even right up to her final moments but I would probably leave that for another day.