If you’re going through hell, keep going. 

– Winston Churchill

One more week and the month of March will draw to a close.

And what a month it has been.

Winter seems reluctant to go, hanging on to parts of Eastern Washington, a visitor overstaying its welcome, while Spring waits patiently at the door. And as though all living things are crying for rebirth, the clouds have been overzealous with their gifts.

I’ve put off trying to pack our winter clothes (temperatures dipped below zero yesterday!) for another week, and look longingly at our brand new beach umbrella, four gigantic bottles of sun screen purchased at Costco on an overexcited whim. Lokes is breaking out our shiny new gas grill this weekend, rain or shine.

As if to justify all this rain, March has also been a sorrowful month, marked by the deaths of two friends, tragedies that remind those of us who are left behind of the fragility of life. That despite our best laid plans, there is much we have no control of. And that there is really no better time to appreciate those we love than the present.

Before Lokes and I became parents, I used to worry ceaselessly for his safety. It was a paranoia of the worst kind: Without basis or reason, fate would rip from my side a person most important to me, just to fuck with me.

And if it was God, He meant to teach me a lesson about not loving someone too much. Especially not more than Him.

Lokes traveled often and extensively for work and I would haunt sites like www.flightarrivals.com and all the news sites, checking every hour to see if his plane had landed safely. I would click on CNN.com and close my eyes, opening them slowly to see if NW8 CRASHES INTO PACIFIC OCEAN is on the landing page.

Scary? Read on. 

Once, when he was in New York and had forgotten to call and was not returning my IM messages, I literally wore a bald strip on our bedroom carpet, crying with panic, but unable to make too much noise because we’d been living with his parents. I was sure he’d been robbed and stabbed, and was bleeding in a gutter in some dark alley full of prostitutes and the homeless.

When he called around 2am Malaysian time, I was beside myself, this wreck of a woman, doubled over in bed with fear. I screamed at him, sobbing, calling him an inconsiderate SOB and after a fifteen-minute tirade, made him swear to never, ever do that to me again.

Of course, my fears about crime in New York might have been grossly unfounded. Then, I had never been to the US and all I knew about America was what I’d seen on CNN and CSI. Can you blame me?

Now that I have two kids, my obssessive paranoia over whether my husband is dead or hurt has lessened significantly. Now, I worry about whether my kids are dead or hurt. Although I do still check www.flightarrivals.com whenever Lokes travels, these bouts of obssessive behaviour are kept for the times he fails to SMS me when he ought to have. When he does call two hours late, he is simply subjected to a nag about keeping his promises.

“I have bigger fish to fry. Please, just take care of yourself and remember to SMS me next time,” are my usual last words.

I guess most wives do it, take their husbands for granted when kids come along, although this is a fact rarely discussed in mass media. Ads with husbands or boyfriends buying jewellery are abound during Valentine’s Day, but there is never an ad where the wife buys her man a power saw to celebrate this commercialised day of love. We complain when birthdays and anniversaries are forgotten, but rarely do we recall the times when we used to be more concerned about our figures because let’s face it, men enjoy looking at nice buns as much as we do. And when was the last time you put a great meal on the table just because?

Sadly, these facts only become apparent when the loved one of a friend is tragically taken away. Some may even say that this is the purpose of someone else’s unjust tragedy. Suddenly, we want to give our husbands and boyfriends the appreciation they deserve. In a few weeks, it will wane, again.

Until the next time tragedy strikes.

I cannot imagine what my friend Kenny’s family must be going through today. The same with Lavendar‘s family. As such, I wish you what Winston Churchill once said. That if you’re going through hell, keep going.

One day, you too will heal.