Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Good bye Daniel

Last saturday afternoon SO and I went apartment hunting again. This is something we do most Saturdays and we have seen quite a few apartments.

Anyway, this particular posting is not about that...more on apartment hunting....some other time.

One of the agents I met was someone I knew from long ago. We used to work together in an insurance company many years back. That time, I was a new rookie and he was a sales manager. Anyway, we worked together for a few months or so, before he resigned to go into a career in property, which he still is in now.

Anyway, I have been hunting for this Mr A for such a long time. The reason was Daniel. Daniel was also a sales manager in the same insurance company and he was initially my supervisor for the first few months. Daniel died on 2 April 2 years back and frankly, I did not have the opportunity to attend his funeral or his annual memorial.

And it has been eating me up all this time.

Daniel and I were not particularly close either but he was nice to me when I was working there...He was the one who recruited me an chance and a job. We worked together for the first few months before I was transferred to another unit due to the company restructuring. I worked in the new unit for about 6 more months before I resigned cos I dun think the insurance industry was my cup of tea in the long run.

We had numerous chats in the office and I found out a few things about him...I remembered that he was the youngest son in a family of 10? and tat as the baby of the family, he was really doted on...and that he lived in the eastern part. And that he has been seeing someone for the last 5 years or so.

I remembered one incident as if it happened last week. When I first joined the insurance company, I had to open a bank account in a specific bank so that my salary would be credited into it each month. But as it was my first few jobs, I was broke and my other liquid cash was tied up in 2 other accounts. But to open a new account, I have to cough up $500 minimum for deposit. I remembered I panicked a bit cos I dun have that extra money and I dun think I should tell my new company then that I dun have the money as initial deposit to open a new bank account. So I delayed passing the information of the account number to the accounts department.

But finally, I told Daniel that I would only have the money in 2 weeks time when my other contract job finally paid up. Daniel was very understanding and he offered to lend me the money questions asked. Frankly I dun know him very well yet at that time. I was just a new employee ...still on probation. In a way, I was touched. But I dun borrowed money...ever! I told him I got money coming in a week or two. He insisted on lending me the money. I refused and told him thanks. He asked me to come to him if my money did not turn up by then. He also helped me extend the deadline by 2 weeks. Luckily, I got my cash from my contract job sooner than expected, opened the bank account and pass the information to the accounts department. AND also got my month pay late.

As my supervisor, Daniel gave me job orientation for the first month. He showed me around, personally drove me to places where I need to go for work related matters etc. And it was those times, we really bonded.

I remembered a few times grabbing his shoulder and arm...and what surprised me was how warm and smooth his fleshy arm was.

One particular chat that I recalled vividly was one we had about some one we both knew - Ralph. Ralph was a local actor who went to Hong Kong to further his career a few years back. However, he never did make it big or famous and instead he got married there and went into insurance. However, he contracted cancer and soon died of it. We started talking about Ralph because news of his death was in a small section of the newspaper. We both lamented that he died awful waste.

And we would never know that in a few years time that Daniel himself would died of cancer also...

I read somewhere that 1 out of 4 people would die of cancer and that 20 people are diagnosed with cancer every day. A scary statistic.

The last time I met Daniel was a few years before his death. After I resigned, we promised to keep in touch but then work and life got in the way. So that weekend, I was coming out of a shop from HMV and I bumped into him. H was with his partner. He seemed tired..a bit bloated and his eyes looked a bit dull and well...dead. He was Daniel but he looked older and more tired. I now wondered if he had contracted cancer then. We said hello...made small talk and he told me he had since left the company and now doing private insurance. We chatted a bit more and then said good bye. We did not exchange current contacts he did not asked nor offered

And the next time, I knew...I was staring at his obituary in the papers and he was dead and that was the last time I saw him in HVM.

Frankly, I did not expect him to die so young.

Anyway, back to that day apartment hunting.

I told SO that I thought I knew A. I knew A and Daniel were very close. Closer than me and Daniel, though A and me were not that close, being that we dun work together much and that he left the company soon after I joined.

And I thought that A might know how Daniel really died. SO gave me a "are u crazy and are u sure?" look. And before SO could said anything, I popped the question.

I asked A, if he remembered me but he's not sure. I told him we worked in the same insurance company many years before and then I asked him ...How did Daniel died?

I apologized to him for the very sudden odd question...he paused a while and told me Daniel died of cancer and he had chemo for some weeks. He even said he has a photo of Daniel in his wallet,after which he said he had forgotten to bring. I asked if Daniel died on 2 April. He said no..actually it was 1 April.

I asked if he attended the memorial every year at the Church near Daniel's place and he told me regretfully that he had to work and thus missed it.

Anyway, A and I made some some talk while SO and another agent looked over the place.
After which SO , I and the agent left, leaving A in the property he was in charge of.

I never did traded contact number with A. And he never asked or offered. Maybe it was just too awkward and we had lost that ex-colleague association and are nothing more than agent and client now. Maybe we are just friends of Daniel and not really friends between us.

But at least I get to find out exactly how Daniel died. Something that has been bothering me since that day, 2 years ago when I flipped open the obituary page to see his pic staring at me. The time then was 11am and his funeral started at 10am.

I was not sure that even if I rushed down that day, I could make it on time. And there was no contact number on the obituary. I did remembered that date though and the next year, I woke up early to read the papers...

But I was sick with the flu and running the fever. And so last year, I did not turned up.
And this year April, I waited for the papers in the morning. Frankly, I was not sure there would be a memorial for Daniel again this year. I asked SO if we should go. SO said no.....there's a viewing that day...which was a Saturday. How well do u really know him? Especially in the last few years? SO asked

Hmmmmm....I dun know how to answer him. Frankly, till the last moment, I was torn between going and not going. How well did I know him then

I was grieving and mourning for Daniel and I really wanted to know how he died. I saw his partner before and I thought I could tell Daniel 's partner how much he loved the partner.

But then I really dun know anyone there. I would only be a strangers amongst friends. Would I be intruding into this grieving moments

Finally I decided not to go. I went to the viewing with a heavy heart. But I did thought of Daniel all this time. And I was determined to know the cause of his death.

SO called me crazy and a busy body. I dun think so. SO thinks I am simply obsessed with all things past. I dun think so. SO thinks i am too emotional!

I suppose I finally have some closure now that I know how Daniel really died. I certainly hoped that he was happy till the last moment.

And maybe, ...I just might attend Daniel memorial next year.

Thank you Daniel and good bye.