How often does one get a second shot at life?
In all seriousness, Sharon and I may not have been alive today. And of course, there will not have been any cheekiemonkies if that had happened.
It all started in the rather typical manner. We both met each other during university days while staying in the hostel and hung out together in the same group of friends. We took short holidays together during the school term breaks, and gradually got to know each other better as the days progressed.
One fine day in June 1999, I plucked up the courage to ask her out and she agreed. We became an item and to put it simply, I could never have imagined life without her since then.
In September 2001 after my graduation, we went on 2-week holiday to Australia. Or at least that was the plan. We spent the first few days in Melbourne, putting up at Sharon's relatives' home. We then took a domestic flight to Alice Springs, with the intention to gawk at the majestic Ayers Rock.
We got a rental car and everything seemed progressing according to plan. Then it happened.
To be honest, the exact details as to what really happened remains hazy even til today. But what I remembered was a rather large animal - bird or kangaroo, I can never recall - suddenly appeared in front of my vehicle and I swerved. Really really hard. I guess the heavy lunch and dreary hot weather must have played a part in slowing down my reaction as well because apart from the swerving, I have no recollection as to what happened next.
When I regained consciousness, I tried to get up but my body would not budge. I was trapped in the car and I could not free myself no matter how hard I tried. I desperately called out for Sharon and thank goodness, she replied. She had been flung out of the car - she did wear her seat belt - but could not move an inch.
“So this is how you die," I remember thinking to myself.
I don't know how long it took, but help soon came. But when you are trapped in a car, even minutes seemed like years and boy, did it feel like an eternity before I was extricated. From then on, I was straddling between the realm of consciousness and sleep as I vaguely recall being airlifted to the nearest hospital.
It was only the next day that I found out what happened. Apparently, our car had veered off the main road, onto the desert and slammed head-on into a tree. The car overturned and I was trapped in the car for at least 3 hours before help arrived.
But the most amazing thing was that Sharon and I survived. Apart from the multiple cuts and bruises all around, I fractured my C7 vertebra, part of my cervical vertebrae positioned at the top of the spine and immediately below the neck. I was still mobile, but had to wear a neck brace for the next 2 months. Sharon was slightly worse off - she fractured her pelvis when she was flung out of the car and was bedridden for the next 1 month.
We spent a good 1.5 weeks in the hospital in Alice Springs before we were deemed able to fly back to Singapore, where a further 1 week worth of hospital staycation awaited us. As I laid in hospital during that time, I realised how incredibly fortunate Sharon and I had been. The car could have caught fire after overturning and we could have easily perished in the accident.
I blamed myself heavily for getting Sharon and myself into our 'immobile' state but through it all, she was the one who stood by me and offered support whenever I needed. So something did come out good from the accident after all - it made me realise that I can never ever live without her and, that I will cherish her for the rest of my life.
Four months after the accident, I proposed.
|Taken at Labrador Park, wouldyoubelieveit?|
To my monkies, you three are truly lucky to have such a wonderful, loving, thoughtful, and compassionate mother to love and nurture you throughout your life. She will be there to hug you when you are having a bad day, kiss your foreheads to make you feel better, understand when you are frustrated, as well as be your moral compass when you look for guidance in tough situations. She is undoubtedly one of a kind, and she is all ours!
Sha, you have been absolutely amazing throughout our dating, marriage, journey to parenthood, and now as a wife and mother. We have our ups and downs but through it all, you will always be the one person I can always count on to be there for me with an ever present radiant smile on your lovely face, and an open mind and heart.
I am one lucky guy.
Happy Valentines Day, Dearrie! I love you so very much.