Sunday, January 8, 2012

Carolyn Quek has passed on, too (31 Dec 2011)

Less than 3 months ago, I wrote an entry on Liz Mah’s passing on {Liz has passed on (6 Oct 2011)}; this time, I am putting up this entry for Carolyn Quek’s passing on. It is NOT my intention nor do I want to, make it a ritual to do this, putting up articles on people who passed on; but because Carolyn Quek, Liz Mah and I, had been engineered by God (I believe) to cross path, and be “intertwined” for a time longer than days or weeks, I feel it proper to put up an article for Carolyn, as I did, for Liz.

If you read the entry on Liz (the link given above), you will know that, despite Liz was resided in another country, Malaysia, I came to know her, in 2009, without meeting her; through her blogging. A year later, some time, towards the end of 2010, Liz had wanted to come to Singapore, where I am residing, for a short holiday, over a weekend. I emailed her on the possibility of dropping by at my church so that I could pray for her, in person. I emailed her the map and direction to come to my church, but I had NOT, her telephone number. That weekend, I waited in church over 3 services, over Saturday and Sunday, but Liz, her husband (Henry) and their 2 sons, did not turn up at the church. The surprising bit was this:

A lady, with her husband, and 2 boys were in one of the services, and they were seated right behind me. I was seated in the 1st row of the pews, and these folks, as visitors, surprisingly sat right behind me, in the 2nd row (many people do NOT like sitting so near to the front). At the end of the service, as the congregation was leaving, the 2 boys took turn to ask me questions, one each, tough questions, I remember; questions that most Christians do NOT ask. Because of the depth of the questions, I tried NOT to give “simplistic” answers. When I have finished answering the boys, the mother of the kids said that the reason the kids were asking those “tough” questions was because she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. When I heard that, it was like a light bulb suddenly lighted up, as I thought about the similarity - the 4 persons, a mother with her husband, and their 2 boys (although {later I learned} Carolyn had 2 other sons, {much much older}, but were NOT at the church). You see, I was expecting Liz Mah who was also diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (her case, she was diagnosed in 2009), coming with her husband and their 2 boys. So, I believe in place of Liz and her party of 4, God has engineered Carolyn Quek and her party of 4 to come, instead. This was how, back in 2010, I first met Carolyn. I subsequently explained to Carolyn about Liz Mah of Malaysia, and connected the two. Carolyn followed Liz’s journey even as she travelled hers. Liz, as I have said in my entry (link given in the first para.), was really steadfast in holding onto the faith and trusting God, and it was reflected in her entries in her blog, which Carolyn, in Singapore, followed. Liz Mah was an encourager for Carolyn. This was evidence that Liz, in her own affliction, she had encouraged, and aided another in the same tough journey of life.

Recently, when Carolyn was first hospitalized, because the cancer had spread from her lungs to her brain, I visited her. Her husband, Anson, told me that, because of the widespread cancer growths pressing on her brain cells and taking up spaces in the skull, Carolyn suffered loss of memory, and she could NOT recognize or remember many people. She could only remember and recognise a handful of people. Anson said she was able to remember me, and indeed, she could, when I was there in the hospital. It seemed somehow, when Carolyn could only have a few names she could keep in memory, she was able to select those dear to her, her immediate family members, one or two church people (I am greatly honored she had kept me in), and Liz Mah, even though Liz had passed on! Anson told me, she remembered Liz, and kept talking about her. Carolyn was much older than Liz, but she took Liz as her model (because Liz’s longsuffering, perseverance and faithfulness), and she did lament that Liz had to go (passed on) so young.

Now, Carolyn has joined Liz in Heaven; yes, my faith tells me both of them enter Heaven, to be with their Lord.

Actually, both women, Liz Mah and Carolyn Quek exhibited longsuffering, perseverance, and faithfulness; they remained steadfast unto the Lord even though their days were numbered. The examples of Liz Mah, you can read from the entry I made on her, given at the beginning of this article.

Carolyn, too, was steadfast; her husband, Anson, who was NOT a believer before the discovery of her cancer affliction, was touched by her steadfastness, and opened himself to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and received Jesus into his life. Anson told me that Carolyn then made use of the time she had left, and reached out to her maternal family side, and members there received Jesus, too. Anson, when I talked with him, and in one visit at the hospital when I asked him to lead in prayer for Carolyn, I realized, for a young Christian, Anson sure understood things well, and prayed well; Carolyn had continued to encourage him to continue to attend classes at church, even when she could not go with him (because of her hospitalization).

Carolyn continued also to further her own understanding of the faith, and would go to church services, and attend classes, as far as possible. I remember Anson said, she would insist on sitting just behind me, a couple of rows behind, and I often prayed for her in church. Carolyn would ask me things of the faith she did NOT understand well. For short answers, I would answer her in church; for longer ones, we would exchange emails. From the emails, and through the questions she asked, I learnt too, that, during this time, Carolyn was also teaching her kids about the faith.

Just as in the case of Liz, in their final days, it was difficult for them to be coherent; Liz’s husband, Henry, said so, from reading the uncompleted last blog entry that Liz was doing; and for Carolyn, the cancer growth in her head reduced her to be like a small child. So, when asked, what they (Anson, and the children) should do for Carolyn, I thought about how steadfast both women were, and I felt that helping Carolyn to stay steadfast unto the Lord, was the best thing to do, and so, I agreed that praying by her bedside, reading Scriptures to her, and letting her hear Christian songs through headsets (in hospital), were the best things to do for her, to help her to “stay in the Lord”. I visited Carolyn at the hospital for the last time on Christmas morning; and on New Year Eve, she passed on.

Even in their cancer afflictions, both women, Liz and Carolyn were beautiful in my eyes, despite their then physical state; in them I saw the longsuffering, the perseverance, and the faithfulness and steadfastness unto the Lord. No matter what they have failed in the past, in their final lap, they possessed the important attributes of a man or woman of faith, finishing their races with thumb-up.

Carolyn has now joined Liz. These words I uttered in my heart, “Sisters, be at the Heaven’s Gate to welcome me when I come.”

[Added: 1 Feb 2012 - Last Sunday (29th Jan 2012), I witnessed Carolyn's husband, Anson's baptism in the church.  I was happy to see him and his 4 sons at the service.  I am happy for Anson, for he has continued with the faith, even though he came into the faith subsequent to Carolyn's cancer diagnosis, and Carolyn was NOT divinely healed; in a way, a test of faith, he, Anson, has passed].

Anthony Chia, high.expressions – Lord, you know that in Carolyn’s last days, it was difficult for me to pray with her and her loved ones, for I had encouraged them to be positive to continue to live life. Yet, I still went, be there, in their difficult moments of life. I thank you that you have seen me through those times that I thought it would be awkward to face the sick and their loved ones when the inevitable was coming for the sick, for I had been praying with them for healing. I will continue to pray and minister to the sick, only I ask of your grace for me to know how to carry myself in such inevitable scenarios, where the sick would pass on, Lord. Amen.

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