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Life gets better with age

I appreciated Tee Hun Ching's column about ageing and greater acceptance of life's challenges in Greying But Grinning (Sept 11, Life). Her thoughts resonated with the experiences of my family.

The first big crisis hit us when my mum was diagnosed with cancer when I was 25.

I had just joined a new company as a sales engineer. She had surgery and was undergoing chemotherapy. I was the sole breadwinner, feeling stressed and worried for her.

I confided in my boss and he told me that his mother survived the same type of cancer. I saw hope in his words. Fortunately, we pulled through and mum became well again. She even surprised us by wearing a dress on my wedding day. She looked more beautiful than the bride.

That same year, a second crisis almost cost me my job. I was traumatised by a car accident. If not for my then-boyfriend-now-husband's encouragement, I would have given up driving and my sales job.

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The biggest blow hit us in 2014, when dad was diagnosed with stage four nose cancer.

Besides chemotherapy and radiotherapy, we tried everything to cure him. He fought till his last breath.

The most touching moment was the night before he died. He hugged and comforted my mum, saying: "Don't worry, I'm not dying."

That night, he died peacefully in his sleep, embraced by the four women he loved with all his heart.

It has been almost 11/2 years since dad died. Each time I think of him, tears well up in my eyes.

Each time I see my mum, love fills my heart. We often chat about dad, how much he loved us and how much we miss him.

Mum's love for us is beyond words. She does not shed tears in front of us because she does not want to worry us.

She spends her time playing mahjong, exercising and socialising with her friends.

Life seems to get better as we grow older. At the very least, we learn to cope better with whatever life throws at us.

We can surely turn grey and grin at the same time.

Ally Ng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Life gets better with age'. Print Edition | Subscribe