Sunday, October 31, 2010

What does your actions mean?

Standing for what You Believe In,

Regardless of the Odds against You,

And the Pressure that Tears at Your Resistance,

... Means Courage.

Keeping a Smile on Your Face,

When Inside, You feel like Dying,

For the sake of Supporting Others,

... Means Strength.

Stopping at Nothing,

And doing what's in Your Heart, You know is Right,

... Means Determination.

Doing More than is Expected,

To make another's Life a little more Bearable,

Without Uttering a single Complaint,

... Means Compassion.

Helping a Friend in Need,

No matter the Time or Effort,

To the Best of Your Ability,

... Means Loyalty.

Giving More than You have,

And Expecting Nothing,

But Nothing in Return,

... Means Selflessness.

Holding Your Head High,

And Being the Best You know You Can Be

When Life seems to Fall Apart at Your Feet,

Facing each Difficulty with the Confidence

That Time will bring You better Tomorrow's,

And Never Giving Up,

... Means Confidence.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Whatever I can do, I WILL DO

This week has possibly been the toughest week yet this year.
And next week begins with my wife's examination at the National Liver Center to see if her liver cancer has come back.
We are humans, and with a limited life span, there is only so much we can do.
But I've always believed that whatever I can do, I WILL DO!

If I can throw a single ray of light across the darkened pathway of another; if I can aid some soul to clearer sight of life and duty, and thus bless my brother; if I can wipe from any human cheek a tear, I shall not have lived my life in vain while here.

   If I can guide some erring one to truth, inspire within his heart a sense of duty; if I can plant within my soul of rosy youth a sense of right, a love of truth and beauty; if I can teach one man that God and heaven are near, I shall not then have lived in vain while here.

   If from my mind I banish doubt and fear, and keep my life attuned to love and kindness; if I can scatter light and hope and cheer, and help remove the curse of mental blindness; if I can make more joy, more hope, less pain, I shall not have lived and loved in vain.

   If by life's roadside I can plant a tree, beneath whose shade some wearied head may rest, though I may never share its beauty, I shall yet be truly blest--though no one knows my name, nor drops a flower upon my grave, I shall not have lived in vain while here.

The last lecture

Randy Pausch 47 yrs old, a computer Sc. lecturer from Mellon University, died of pancreatic cancer in 2008, but wrote a book  "The last lecture" before then, one of the bestsellers in 2007. What a legacy to leave behind...
In a letter to his wife Jai and his children, Dylan, Logan , and Chloe, he wrote this beautiful "guide to a better life" for his wife and children to follow.

May you be blessed by his insight.



1. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
2. Don't have negative thoughts of things you cannot cont rol. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment
3. Don't over do; keep your limits
4. Don't take yourself so seriously; no one else does
5. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip
6. Dream more while you are awake
7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
8. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present
11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you
12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.
Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
13. Smile and laugh more
14. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.


15. Call your family often
16. Each day give something good to others
17. Forgive everyone for everything
18. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6
19. Try to make at least three people smile each day
20. What other people think of you is none of your business
21. Your job will not take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.


22. Put GOD first in anything and everything that you think, say and do.
23. GOD heals everything
24. Do the right things
25. However good or bad a situation is, it will change 26. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up 
27. The best is yet to come
28. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful
29. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When it's getting tough to get going........

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

- Theodore Roosevelt

Life Lessons from Jim Rohn

Life is worthwhile if you TRY.

Try something to see if you can do it. Try to make a difference. Try to make some progress. Try to learn a new skill. Try your best. Give it every effort.

Life is worthwhile if you STAY.

You have to stay from spring until harvest. If you have signed up for the day or the game or the project, see it through. Don't end in the middle.

Life is worthwhile if you CARE.

If you care at all, you will get results. If you care enough, you will get incredible results.

Care enough to make a difference.

Care enough to turn somebody around.

Care enough to change.

Care enough to win.

Life is worthwhile if you PLAN.

If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan.

Life is worthwhile if you GIVE.

Giving is better than receiving because giving starts the receiving process.

Life is worthwhile if you BE.

Wherever you are, be there. Develop a unique focus on the current moment.

Let others lead small lives, but not you.

Let others argue over small things, but not you.

Let others cry over small hurts, but not you.

Let others leave their futures in someone else's hands, but not you.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thought Of The Day

Didn't realise I hadn't blogged for almost a month. 
Finished my main event for the month, and things should be running smoothly.
Alas, things are never as you expect them to be. 
Cash is missing from my cashier's drawer, and I can't get the bloody culprit caught on CCTV either.
The toughest thing to manage in business is manpower, and once you get that right, things will get better, NOT always, but you can be assured your business will run slightly better.

The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions. A chip on the shoulder is too heavy a piece of baggage to carry through life.

-- John Hancock

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

German Folk Tale

The Three Butterfly Brothers

There were once three little butterfly brothers, one white, one red, and one yellow. They played in the sunshine, and danced among the flowers in the garden, and they never grew tired because they were so happy.

One day there came a heavy rain, and it wet their wings. They flew away home, but when they got there they found the door locked and the key gone. So they had to stay out of doors in the rain, and they grew wetter and wetter.

By and by they flew to the red and yellow striped tulip, and said: "Friend Tulip, will you open your flower-cup and let us in till the storm is over?"

The tulip answered: "The red and yellow butterflies may enter, because they are like me, but the white one may not come in."

But the red and yellow butterflies said: "If our white brother may not find shelter in your flower-cup, why, then, we'll stay outside in the rain with him."

It rained harder and harder, and the poor little butterflies grew wetter and wetter, so they flew to the white lily and said: "Good Lily, will you open your bud a little so we may creep in out of the rain?"

The lily answered: "The white butterfly may come in, because he is like me, but the red and yellow ones must stay outside in the storm."

Then the little white butterfly said: "If you won't receive my red and yellow brothers, why, then, I'll stay out in the rain with them. We would rather be wet than be parted."

So the three little butterflies flew away.

But the sun, who was behind a cloud, heard it all, and he knew what good little brothers the butterflies were, and how they had held together in spite of the wet. So he pushed his face through the clouds, and chased away the rain, and shone brightly on the garden.

He dried the wings of the three little butterflies, and warmed their bodies. They ceased to sorrow, and danced among the flowers till evening, then they flew away home, and found the door wide open.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Great eulogy by Lee Kuan Yew

The last farewell to my wife — Lee Kuan Yew

October 06, 2010 —

Ancient people developed and ritualised mourning practices to express the shared grief of family and friends, and together show not fear or distaste for death, but respect for the dead one; and to give comfort to the living who will miss the deceased.

I recall the ritual mourning when my maternal grandmother died some 75 years ago. For five nights the family would gather to sing her praises and wail and mourn at her departure, led by a practiced professional mourner.

Such rituals are no longer observed. My family’s sorrow is to be expressed in personal tributes to the matriarch of our family.

In October 2003 when she had her first stroke, we had a strong intimation of our mortality.

My wife and I have been together since 1947 for more than three quarters of our lives. My grief at her passing cannot be expressed in words. But today, when recounting our lives together, I would like to celebrate her life.

In our quiet moments, we would revisit our lives and times together. We had been most fortunate. At critical turning points in our lives, fortune favoured us.

As a young man with an interrupted education at Raffles College, and no steady job or profession, her parents did not look upon me as a desirable son-in-law. But she had faith in me.

We had committed ourselves to each other. I decided to leave for England in September 1946 to read law, leaving her to return to Raffles College to try to win one of the two Queen’s Scholarships awarded yearly. We knew that only one Singaporean would be awarded. I had the resources, and sailed for England, and hoped that she would join me after winning the Queen’s Scholarship.

If she did not win it, she would have to wait for me for three years.

In June the next year, 1947, she did win it. But the British colonial office could not get her a place in Cambridge.

Through Chief Clerk of Fitzwilliam, I discovered that my Censor at Fitzwilliam, W S Thatcher, was a good friend of the Mistress of Girton, Miss Butler.

He gave me a letter of introduction to the Mistress. She received me and I assured her that Choo would most likely take a “First”, because she was the better student when we both were at Raffles College.

I had come up late by one term to Cambridge, yet passed my first year qualifying examination with a class 1. She studied Choo’s academic record and decided to admit her in October that same year, 1947.

We have kept each other company ever since. We married privately in December 1947 at Stratford-upon-Avon. At Cambridge, we both put in our best efforts. She took a first in two years in Law Tripos II. I took a double first, and a starred first for the finals, but in three years.

We did not disappoint our tutors. Our Cambridge Firsts gave us a good start in life. Returning to Singapore, we both were taken on as legal assistants in Laycock & Ong, a thriving law firm in Malacca Street. Then we married officially a second time that September 1950 to please our parents and friends. She practised conveyancing and draftsmanship, I did litigation.

In February 1952, our first son Hsien Loong was born. She took maternity leave for a year.

That February, I was asked by John Laycock, the Senior Partner, to take up the case of the Postal and Telecommunications Uniformed Staff Union, the postmen’s union.

They were negotiating with the government for better terms and conditions of service. Negotiations were deadlocked and they decided to go on strike. It was a battle for public support. I was able to put across the reasonableness of their case through the press and radio. After a fortnight, they won concessions from the government. Choo, who was at home on maternity leave, pencilled through my draft statements, making them simple and clear.

Over the years, she influenced my writing style. Now I write in short sentences, in the active voice. We gradually influenced each other’s ways and habits as we adjusted and accommodated each other.

We knew that we could not stay starry-eyed lovers all our lives; that life was an on-going challenge with new problems to resolve and manage.

We had two more children, Wei Ling in 1955 and Hsien Yang in 1957. She brought them up to be well-behaved, polite, considerate and never to throw their weight as the prime minister’s children.

As a lawyer, she earned enough, to free me from worries about the future of our children.

She saw the price I paid for not having mastered Mandarin when I was young. We decided to send all three children to Chinese kindergarten and schools.

She made sure they learned English and Malay well at home. Her nurturing has equipped them for life in a multi-lingual region.

We never argued over the upbringing of our children, nor over financial matters. Our earnings and assets were jointly held. We were each other’s confidant.

She had simple pleasures. We would walk around the Istana gardens in the evening, and I hit golf balls to relax.

Later, when we had grandchildren, she would take them to feed the fish and the swans in the Istana ponds. Then we would swim. She was interested in her surroundings, for instance, that many bird varieties were pushed out by mynahs and crows eating up the insects and vegetation.

She discovered the curator of the gardens had cleared wild grasses and swing fogged for mosquitoes, killing off insects they fed on. She stopped this and the bird varieties returned. She surrounded the swimming pool with free flowering scented flowers and derived great pleasure smelling them as she swam.

She knew each flower by its popular and botanical names. She had an enormous capacity for words.

She had majored in English literature at Raffles College and was a voracious reader, from Jane Austen to JRR Tolkien, from Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian Wars to Virgil’s Aeneid, to The Oxford Companion to Food, and Seafood of Southeast Asia, to Roadside Trees of Malaya, and Birds of Singapore.

She helped me draft the Constitution of the PAP. For the inaugural meeting at Victoria Memorial Hall on 4 November 1954, she gathered the wives of the founder members to sew rosettes for those who were going on stage.

In my first election for Tanjong Pagar, our home in Oxley Road, became the HQ to assign cars provided by my supporters to ferry voters to the polling booth.

She warned me that I could not trust my new found associates, the leftwing trade unionists led by Lim Chin Siong. She was furious that he never sent their high school student helpers to canvass for me in Tanjong Pagar, yet demanded the use of cars provided by my supporters to ferry my Tanjong Pagar voters.

She had an uncanny ability to read the character of a person. She would sometimes warn me to be careful of certain persons; often, she turned out to be right.

When we were about to join Malaysia, she told me that we would not succeed because the UMNO Malay leaders had such different lifestyles and because their politics were communally-based, on race and religion.

I replied that we had to make it work as there was no better choice. But she was right.

We were asked to leave Malaysia before two years.

When separation was imminent, Eddie Barker, as Law Minister, drew up the draft legislation for the separation. But he did not include an undertaking by the Federation Government to guarantee the observance of the two water agreements between the PUB and the Johor state government. I asked Choo to include this. She drafted the undertaking as part of the constitutional amendment of the Federation of Malaysia Constitution itself.

She was precise and meticulous in her choice of words. The amendment statute was annexed to the Separation Agreement, which we then registered with the United Nations.

The then Commonwealth Secretary Arthur Bottomley said that if other federations were to separate, he hoped they would do it as professionally as Singapore and Malaysia.

It was a compliment to Eddie’s and Choo’s professional skills. Each time Malaysian Malay leaders threatened to cut off our water supply, I was reassured that this clear and solemn international undertaking by the Malaysian government in its Constitution will get us a ruling by the UNSC (United Nations Security Council).

After her first stroke, she lost her left field of vision. This slowed down her reading. She learned to cope, reading with the help of a ruler. She swam every evening and kept fit. She continued to travel with me, and stayed active despite the stroke. She stayed in touch with her family and old friends.

She listened to her collection of CDs, mostly classical, plus some golden oldies. She jocularly divided her life into “before stroke” and “after stroke”, like BC and AD.

She was friendly and considerate to all associated with her. She would banter with her WSOs (woman security officers) and correct their English grammar and pronunciation in a friendly and cheerful way. Her former WSOs visited her when she was at NNI. I thank them all.

Her second stroke on 12 May 2008 was more disabling. I encouraged and cheered her on, helped by a magnificent team of doctors, surgeons, therapists and nurses.

Her nurses, WSOs and maids all grew fond of her because she was warm and considerate. When she coughed, she would take her small pillow to cover her mouth because she worried for them and did not want to infect them.

Her mind remained clear but her voice became weaker. When I kissed her on her cheek, she told me not to come too close to her in case I caught her pneumonia.

I assured her that the doctors did not think that was likely because I was active.

When given some peaches in hospital, she asked the maid to take one home for my lunch. I was at the centre of her life.

On 24 June 2008, a CT scan revealed another bleed again on the right side of her brain. There was not much more that medicine or surgery could do except to keep her comfortable.

I brought her home on 3 July 2008. The doctors expected her to last a few weeks. She lived till 2nd October, 2 years and 3 months.

She remained lucid. They gave time for me and my children to come to terms with the inevitable. In the final few months, her faculties declined. She could not speak but her cognition remained.

She looked forward to have me talk to her every evening.

Her last wish she shared with me was to enjoin our children to have our ashes placed together, as we were in life.

The last two years of her life were the most difficult. She was bedridden after small successive strokes; she could not speak but she was still cognisant.

Every night she would wait for me to sit by her to tell her of my day’s activities and to read her favourite poems. Then she would sleep.

I have precious memories of our 63 years together. Without her, I would be a different man, with a different life. She devoted herself to me and our children.

She was always there when I needed her. She has lived a life full of warmth and meaning.

I should find solace at her 89 years of her life well lived. But at this moment of the final parting, my heart is heavy with sorrow and grief.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Once upon a time

A young novice had entered a monastery run by a wise abbot.
One day the abbot told his monks that he was going to share a secret teaching with them that would bring them lasting peace and happiness, but if they shared it with anyone else they would be expelled from the monastery.
The next day several of the older monks saw the young novice sharing the secret teaching with everyone in a nearby town. They ran back and told the abbot what they had saw. The abbot just smiled and said, "I can teach this young novice nothing further.

He is already an abbot in his own right."

Monday, October 04, 2010

Learning as we go

Thanks to Patricia for this one.
Good reminder, that we never stopped growing (at least physically) and we learn more as we experience more of life.

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time.

You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.

You'll fight with your best friend.

You'll blame a new love for things an old one did.

You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love.

So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back.

Don't be afraid that your life will end,
ONLY be afraid that it will never begin.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Truly touching love story

Few stories can match this one, plus it's a real love story.
Cried at the end.
Maybe you will too.

Our first date was the last day of his life

When we met online, it was as if we'd known each other forever. Then came the tragedy I'll never forget

By Lorraine Berry

A photo of Yves.I woke up when Yves thrust himself off the mattress. "My head is killing me," he said. "I'm going to take some more Tylenol."

I heard him open the cabinet door, turn on the water as if pouring himself a drink. Then a loud bang startled me from bed.

Yves slumped on the floor, his back against the wall, his side against the bathtub. Tylenol was scattered on the tiles.

"Help me stand up," he said. But when I wrapped my arm around his waist and pulled him toward me, we both fell forward, my back hitting the vanity as I struggled to cushion him from the fall. His eyes fluttered. He was clearly in pain.

"I think we should call a doctor," I said.

"No, no," he said. "I just need to get back to bed. Give me a minute." Then he closed his eyes.

"Yves," I said. No response.

I sat beside him, stroking his back, letting him know that he was not alone, while we waited for the ambulance. I had only met Yves in person that day. But it felt like we had known each other for a lifetime.

I'm not sure what made me get in touch with Yves when I saw him on Salon personals. How can we untangle the mysterious calculus that is attraction? I liked how he playfully listed the languages he spoke as "French, English, and Body Language." I liked the description of the woman he was seeking: "sensualist a must. a self-confident goddess too. a mermaid is also welcomed."

I'm sure other women looked at his profile and thought "nope." But I read it and saw a kindred spirit. He lived in Montreal, and I could tell from the way he wrote that he was Quebecois. I liked the idea of the two of us communicating in two languages. "This online dating thing is well … difficult," he e-mailed me early on. "And I'm a bit 'clutsty' at it."

It was the "clutsty" that clenched my heart.

Continue reading

E-mails turned into phone calls that went way past my bedtime. Each time we talked, we seemed to find another point of connection. His desire to live in a big house out in the countryside, "somewhere the leaves would crunch under my feet when I walk with my love" (I owned such a house). Our intense devotion to our daughters, our aspirations that they grow up strong and independent and fierce. Rrrrriot grrrls, he called them.

The approaching weekend was Veteran's Day, and after much haggling about where to meet, sleeping arrangements, who would pay for what, we agreed on a plan. I would drive to Montreal to meet someone who already felt like a part of me.

I've never gotten over my apprehension about meeting in person: It doesn't matter how much communication you have with someone via e-mail or phone. Physical chemistry will not be denied.

And what did I see? A man who looked much younger than his 43 years. A dark man -- his hair charcoal, his eyes almost black but welcoming and open. He was smiling, and the only thing I wasn't expecting was that his teeth were crooked -- in every photo he had sent me, his mouth had been closed, but after the initial reaction of "I haven't seen this before," I almost immediately forgot it.

I had dressed carefully: black hip-hugger pants and thick-heeled boots that gave me a little height, a scarlet camisole and a cardigan. It was unseasonably warm for November. As we were climbing the stairs to his apartment, Yves was behind me, and he made some comment about enjoying the view as I mounted the stairs. I didn't take offense. I was already feeling a buzz from him, too.

We sat on the couch and began to talk. I turned my body toward his, one of my knees pulled up on the couch. We talked about what to do with the afternoon. He had not had time to go shopping for food, so we decided to take a trip to the market to pick up groceries. I excused myself to go to the bathroom, and when I came out, he was standing in the middle of the living room. I walked toward him, and he pulled me near and kissed me.

We kissed as if we were drowning. I threw my cardigan on the floor, unzipped my boots, kicked them off. Everywhere his hands touched, his mouth followed.

"Do you think we're going too fast?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "But I don't want to stop." He picked me up and carried me to his bed.

I know the difference between lust and love. I've had more than my share of sex dates in my life, dates in which I know the only thing I'm after is mutual pleasure. I knew what was happening between Yves and me in that bed was something far different. And he knew it, too. Yves had been alone for two years, had not gone on a single date since his divorce.

"I think I've won the lottery," he said.

"How did this happen?" we kept asking.

I was breathless with happiness. As the sun went down, and my stomach started to rumble, we set out for the market. We had only walked a couple of blocks when Yves made a slight change in direction.

"That's my daughter," Yves said.

We stopped in front of a stroller and the woman pushing it. The little girl clambered out. "Papa," she said, and Yves crouched down so that they could hug each other. Speaking Quebecois, she displayed her banana popsicle triumphantly.

Yves spoke to his ex-wife, and then introduced me. We said "hello" to one another, and then Yves gave his daughter a big squeeze and told her that he'd see her soon.

Yves beamed as we walked away. "Running into my daughter has made my day even more perfect," he said. "She is everything to me." He and his ex-wife had been having some issues; he had not seen his daughter for two weeks.

Earlier in the afternoon he had mentioned feeling a little off. He also said, maybe about 4 o'clock, that he had a mild headache. So it didn't seem strange to me when he asked to skip the market and head home.

We were kissing by the time we got in the front door. But I insisted that he take some Tylenol, and go lie on the bed. He did as he was told, took off his shoes, and lay down on his stomach. I wanted to make him feel better. I began to knead his shoulders and his upper back. I stroked his scalp, too, and he relaxed under my hands.

"Lorraine," he said, "I'm really sorry, but I think I want to take a nap for a while. Would that be OK with you?"

I dug around in my bag for the book of Yehuda Amichai poetry I had brought with me. He came back to bed, and he tucked his head next to mine, closed his eyes as I began to read to him. I stroked his hair, kissed the top of his head, held him as he drifted off to sleep, his legs wrapped around mine. I read for a while before dozing off beside him. That's when Yves woke me up. That's when I called the ambulance.

Yves was quiet, although he had begun to seize. His legs were shaking. Even though I knew he wasn't cold, I bundled him up in the duvet, told him that help was on the way. By then, I knew this was not a headache or a migraine; I somehow intuited it was an aneurysm. His breath was raspy and gargled, and I slowed down my breathing, hoping to set a rhythm he could imitate, as though he were a child and I was trying to teach him a hand-clap game.

Death was coming. I could sense it in the room. But I also felt something comforting, too. Something that told me that I could do this, that I could help Yves ease from this life to whatever was to follow. I had always thought I'd be a panicked mess in a moment like this, but all I felt was stillness. It was like watching a home movie of someone I recognized as me but didn't know.

I'm not sure how long it was before the medics finally arrived. Time is fluid in extraordinary circumstances. How long is a minute when someone's life is draining away? How long is an hour when you're making love? How long was the week that Yves and I knew each other?

The ambulance crew loaded Yves onto a gurney, pointed a flashlight in his eyes. I heard one of them say to the other that his pupils were fixed. I knew what that meant: Serious brain injury.

Inside the E.R. the tobacco-stained light frightened me. I was numbed out and hyper-vigilant at once, waiting for some word, any word about what was wrong with Yves. Two young interns came out and explained that Yves had been put on a respirator, that I couldn't see him. I felt Yves' apartment keys in my pocket and went home.

Alone in Yves' apartment, alone in his bed, I stripped down to my camisole and panties. I clutched his pillow to my face, smelling him there. The call came at 2:32 a.m.

"Is this Lorraine?"


"I'm afraid I have some bad news. The MRI revealed a massive brain bleed." He was slipping away. "Do you know how we may contact his family?"

Once again, I became still. How could I tell her that I didn't know Yves' family, didn't have a clue how to reach them? And then I remembered his cellphone sitting on the kitchen table. I fumbled through the address book until I found what I recognized as the name for his ex-wife. I gave it to the nurse and asked her to pass on my phone number to the family.

I lay in the bed, the light on the floor glaring up at me. The book of poetry I had read to Yves before he dropped off to sleep was beside it. I made a cocoon of the sheet from the bed, buried my head underneath it. I still felt nothing.

Shortly before 7 a.m., the phone rang again. It was Yves' ex-wife. She was at the hospital with Yves' mom, dad and best friend. She wanted me to come.

"I'm so sorry I couldn't have done more," I said over and over again, when I came to join them at the hospital. Yves' mouth was covered by a plug, and unlike the panting that I had heard coming from him before, his breaths now were normal, peaceful. His skin tone was beautiful: He was a luminous pink.

Someone gave me a hug. Told me I had done everything that could have been done. And then someone explained to me that the doctors said there was nothing to be done for Yves. That even if he were to wake up from his coma, he would be "comme un haricot." And I remembered noticing that where we say "vegetable," they say "bean."

The room emptied, and I was granted some alone time with Yves. I wanted to kiss him. But the medical-green plastic tube in his mouth blocked access. He had tubes in his arms, too, and I was afraid to touch him for fear of knocking something loose. So I leaned over the bed and I kissed his hand. It was warm. It didn't feel like cold, about-to-die flesh. It felt vibrant.

How does anyone prepare themselves for a moment such as this? What is the right thing to say to someone when it's the last thing that he'll hear from your lips?

I suppose gratitude was an odd emotion to have at that moment, but Yves had shown me something I had never before understood. Death terrifies me. And yet, as Yves lay dying, I felt privileged to be with him. I was going to miss him, the possibility of us. But I also knew that all that fear had been taken from me. He had needed me to be with him that night as much as I had needed to bear witness.

I whispered to him, "Thank you." I told him that his daughters would thrive and be loved. I told him not to be afraid. I told him, "Goodbye."

I left the room and did not return. I wanted Yves to be with his family when the respirator was turned off. I had given Yves everything that I could, and now, it was time for me to learn to live with everything he had left to me.

Lorraine Berry blogs on Open Salon as fingerlakeswanderer. She has recently completed a book-length memoir manuscript.