Monday, August 24, 2009

An extraordinary ordinary individual

Last Wednesday, a dear aunt of mine passed away. She was only 61. She had battled breast cancer for 7 years and during that time, we saw the extraordinary lion heart that she possessed - determined and spirited to the end.

I wanted to pay tribute to her publicly through blogging but the task choked me up. So I asked Kenneth to guest blog about her instead. This would not be the first time that he had written about my Aunt Pat. In 2007, he wrote a letter to The Straits Times in response to an article about the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF)'s dragon boating team, which was published in Mind Your Body (click on the down arrow on the top right to increase size of article).

The article turned out to be a huge source of encouragement and comfort for Aunt Pat, as we learned from family and the BCF members who attended the wake and funeral. And here's the guest post from my dear hubby.

Aunt Pat was a breast cancer survivor who succumbed to her condition when her cancer returned in 2007, after a 5 year remission. Although we are naturally deeply saddened, we are greatly inspired by the pride and joy with which she led her life. So today, I write this not to lament her passing but to celebrate her living.

Patricia Lim was a remarkable woman.

She was hugely courageous in her steely and quiet resolve to fight her condition, no matter the odds. She never let her illness define or limit her. She was fiercely independent and in spite of her condition - never wanting to be a burden to her family or friends, she continued to live life to the fullest, with much determination, optimism and cheer.

In fact, just a few months ago, she even went to KL despite her deteriorating condition, to attend a regional dragon boat meet with her team, the Pink Spartans. Due to her condition, she was not able to row but was the drummer.

She returned proudly with 2 medals, her joy palpable as she showed us her medals and recounted her adventure.

And yet, her story is not unique.

At her wake, many of her friends (fellow cancer survivors) from BCF came to pay their last respects. They are strong, independent women who are not afraid to confront this disease and stand unflinchingly in support of their sisters sharing the same condition. One especially poignant moment, was when a friend (whom I later found out was with Stage 4 breast cancer), came with her young daughter, who could not be more than 10, to say their good-byes.

Theirs are such remarkable stories – stories of pain and suffering, of acceptance and hope, of sheer courage and optimism, of victory and loss, of friendship and support, of compassion and love.

These women, and many others like them, are such blessings to their families and friends, no matter what the outcome. Their lives and stories are an inspiration to all.

Dear Aunt Pat – you will be forever in our hearts. You have fought the good fight, rest in deserved peace.

We will miss you dearly.


Lilian said...

A touching tribute from Kenneth. Remarkable Aunt Pat and her Pink Paddlers are an inspiration to all of us.

My deepest condolences, dear friend. I know how much she meant to you.

elan said...

Dear Monica,
My condolences on your aunt Pat. I do remember the article you put up.
My mum died of breast cancer too and I know how much pain and discomfort was involved as well as how helpless we as relatives standing by can feel.
Your aunt is truly an inspiration! May she find Peace and Joy in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Wow, your aunt and the team are amazing women, the energy in their photos leave no trace of sickness in their bodies, so very impressive. She is truly a role model indeed and I believe she has inspired many and continues to be blessed in Heaven.

Condolences to all at home.


Tan Li Leng said...

I have known Pat for 3 years. Despite her illness, she was at almost every exercise & dance class I conducted.

She was always cheerful and fun, never bitched nor griped.

She is a great loss to many of us, and will remain in our hearts and minds forever.

We love you Pat, rest in peace

Tan Li Leng
(Exercise & Dance)

Anonymous said...


My deepest condolences to you & family.

Your aunt is in a better place right now and her fighting spirit will be an inspiration to many.


eunice said...

Oh am so sad to hear about your aunt. Condolences to you and your family. She sounds like a remarkable and courageous woman.

monlim said...

Thank you all for the good wishes, very much appreciated.

breve1970 said...

My deepest condolences to you and your family, Monica. Aunt Pat was one amazing woman.

Veronica_L said...

Hi Mon,

My deepest condolences regarding your aunt, and I am sure she will find peace and happiness in Heaven. I'm very sorry to read about her and I wish you all the best!


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