Nine years ago, I received news that my Dad had suffered a cardiac arrest and needed a bypass. Or was it a stem implant. I don’t know. The details are fuzzy. My hands were shaking and I was at a complete loss. To fully appreciate the situation, you have to understand that this information was relayed via text and I was living in another country. I was also in a media van, chaperoning a client to the local telly station for an early morning business talkshow interview. Icing on the cake? The text ended with these words, “Just letting you know, don’t worry.”
It was 6.35 in the morning.
In retrospect, I now see that my mum was attempting to downplay the situation so I wouldn’t freak out but the way she broke the news to me? I went into hyperventilate mode instantly. I almost had a heart attack then and there. Pun fully intended. That night, we took the evening flight back home to see my Dad. After thoroughly smothering him with hugs and love, I realised the man was a cardiovascular catastrophe just waiting to happen. He ate unhealthily. He no longer worked out. He’d become so terribly sedentary, it was shameful (I love you, Dad). I mean, this was a man who trained in Silat (Malay Martial Arts) and emulated Bruce Lee right down to, yes, Jeet Kun Do. This was the man who would weigh his meals (typically raw eggs with tuna flakes) and who used to do countless chin-ups just for the fun of it.
Thus began the mission to saving Mr Goh.
I have to give props to my Mum here. She did everything in her capacity to nurse him back to health. From cooking healthy meals and shushing him whenever he protested that they tasted bland to, as the weeks passed, dragging him out of bed in the morning for what would become their daily routine of park walk/jog sessions followed by a nice, light breakfast.
Almost a decade later, my Dad is healthy and happy. He no longer evokes palpitations of fear in me :) he’s come a long way and that’s pretty cool.
So, Dad, have a heart and keep taking care of your heart so we can have you around for as long as possible to love you? So you can witness how your only grandchild is growing into a strong, confident, beautiful person. So you can continue to be there for your son and your daughter who have never ever stopped respecting your thoughts and your opinions. So you can continue to say, “Night, Ling” to your wife every single night, as you have been doing for the past 44 years.
Because, you know, we kinda love you.
Love, your princess