The thing about death is that it is so bloody permanent. He would be here one day, and gone the very next, never to come back again.
I learnt this the hard way when my grandma passed in 2001. It was the first and only time in my life that I lost my taste for food. Every night when I tried to sleep all I could see was my grandma, and on the rare occasions when I could sleep I’d dream of her.
It was then that I learnt a very valuable lesson – that a person actually dies twice in his life.
The first death is always physical – the heart stops beating and the brain stops moving. Everything comes to a halt, and the physical body is buried or cremated. Most people think this is it.
A person would die a second death when his name escapes people’s minds for the last time, and thinking of him is no longer worth the effort – even amongst his loved ones. That is the second death, the death that’s most important.
Mr Lee left us on 23 March 2015.
He was a great man who united all Singaporeans in a tough time, made even tougher decisions, and created the lion that’s Singapore from the feeble cub he was handed in 1965. Many of us wish he could celebrate the 50th National Day with us, but Mr Lee – having decided that his work here is done – has gone off to catch-up with Mrs Lee.
As he always did, when he was alive.
These are sad times. Yet from the reactions of Singaporeans this past week, I have faith that Mr Lee will never leave our minds.