I'm back. And I wasn't even near to a tear. I was surprisingly calm, guess I'm not such a sissy after all. I even managed to smile when I met Madam Cheung, glad I managed to do that; the last thing she needs now is everybody going up to her all emo and teary. My hands were shaking and I couldn't light the incense, Madam Cheung helped me.
I looked at Mr Lim one last time, and he is still like I've always remembered him; looking kindly, and about 10 years younger than he really is, those cheerful laugh lines still etched on his face, only darker. I was told by Mr Lim's son that his father was as fine as ever, and did not suffer from any illness before his death, he has high blood pressure, but that's all. He fainted one day, slipped into a coma and never woke up again. Somehow I feel glad he went this way, although it's a bit cruel he didn't get to have his last words, but at least he went without much pain. I'm truly glad of this.
I also got to meet some of my teachers again; Madam Li Rong Hua the kind and always helpful secretary, Miss Lai, my form 1 class teacher who'd always been stern with me, and called me "Mr Blur", because I always seem to be unaware of what's happenning in class, but she is ultimately caring, she even jokingly fussed that I did not notice her, even when she had been calling my name since I walked out after looking at Mr Lim. Then there's Mrs Ng, who while isn't a very reasonable English teacher sometimes, was quite fond of chatting with us, making classes lively. Then there's Ms Chong, my Chemistry teacher who was so frustrated at me for always not doing my homework or bringing the wrong books to class, that she always sends me to stand outside the lab during classes, until she gave up doing that to me too; I was a lost case, hopeless. This also the teacher who cared so much for the class that she hid herself, crying when she's too worried about us not getting through the GCE exams. Then there was Mr Wong & Sam, my form 2 and form 5 class teachers, respectively, who were fun people. I also saw Wu Li Hua my form 3 teacher and a few others. Looking back to when I first met most of them nearly 10 years ago, they've changed so much, yet remained so much unchanged at the same time, it's paradoxically funny. There's this sense of distant familiarity with them.
Mr Lim's funeral procession is a great one, no doubt; Scouts, Red Crescent, Brass Band, teachers from Poi Lam and other schools, friends & family, they're all there.
I did not send Mr Lim on his last journey all the way to the cremation centre; I left after the coffin was closed and paying my last respects, but that's enough for me. I am glad that he went without much pain and sorrow, that he was happy and still had things to look forward to when he went off. He will never make it for the vacation with his family in conjunction with Madam Cheung's retirement, but he'll always be there in their hearts. And heart is where the love will always be. I'm hoping I could at least say this to him, once more, personally. He'll know. 再见，林老师。