Cleo’s final journey and some reflections about life and death

Jia-Wen popped over to pay his last respects to Cleo.

He’s all bundled up because he has Covid-19, just diagnosed yesterday, and it’s his second time. Sigh.

Jayden and Gerald

Pet Memorial staff collecting Cleo’s remains.


Goodbye, dearest Cleo.

Gerald providing some comfort.

Funerals and last rites are for the survivors. It gives us a chance to say our final goodbyes and do something for the our loved one. And we take comfort in performing the rites, rituals and let ourselves be comforted by the hymms and support from friends.

LIFE NEVER DIES   by The Wayfarers

Life never dies, although we live.
In midst of change and death,
Only the forms shall pass away.
And not the spirit’s breath.

The consciousness can never die.
Although it seems to fade.
It doth but pass to other forms.
Which thoughts and acts have made.

“There is no death” all nature cries.
The rose will reappear.
Its petal will more perfect be.
After the winter drear.

The tiny bird that lifeless falls.
A victim to its prey.
Returns again in higher forms.
Upon its upward way.

From life to life more high and free
The myriads forms evolve
O may we learn to know the truth
This mighty riddle solve.

Even after having lived for 60 years now, I still do not understand what happens after death. It is, as the song above says, a “mighty riddle” of life. We comfort ourselves by creating places like heaven and Rainbow Bridge, which are beautiful concepts as it brings us hope and solace.

Is everything in the lyrics of this song accurate? Well, not exactly, “consciousness” dies. Of course it does. It dies with the brain. “Consciousness” is totally a brain function. So that dies. Maybe it’s energy that doesn’t die. The Law of Conservation of Energy says that – Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it merely changes form.

So, it’s our energy that lives on? I think so. Our energy changes form once we die. Our physical body decays and goes back to the earth as dust. We fertilise the earth and encourage new plants to grow. And eventually we become stardust, which is what we are made of. Then, the earth dies and we remain as stardust and we wait for the next Big Bang and evolution all over again.

From stardust to stardust until the next Big Bang!

This much, I’m sure of, as it is backed by science.

But what about that tricky “other” energy within us? Our feelings, our intelligence, our emotions, our knowledge, our intentions, our joys and sorrows, our values, our memories. Do all these also encompass some sort of “energy”? What do you call it, spiritual energy, perhaps? Now, where do all these go when we die?

That would be a mighty riddle which we have not solved!

Here’s what I think: I think all these spiritual energy lives on in the lives of those whom we have touched while we are alive. As the Mexicans believe, you must always remember the deeds of your ancestors, otherwise, they “disappear” in the other world. It’s something like that. So all our values are passed on to the next generation and the next, and that is how we continue to live on. That is how this spiritual energy lives on and on….

That’s my theory…and it will remain just that, a theory!






2 responses to “Cleo’s final journey and some reflections about life and death”

  1. Charmaine Nyam

    Don’t be sad Dr. Chan. I understand perfectly how it feels to lose each and every cat. We all think it will be easier as times go by but it never worked that way. Each departure brings pain and sadness, we can only console ourselves that they are in a better place. But inevitably, we miss them very dearly and life without them is never going to be the same. But we must move on as we have others to care for. We can only save our memories to savour on them as time goes on….

    1. chankahyein

      Thank you for your kind intentions, but I beg to differ on the score of not being sad. Being sad, for me, is part of the grieving process and it is human to feel sadness. So for me personally, I will allow myself to feel sad, to cry even, then finally come to terms, to acceptance, which I have reached now. I have accepted it. And not to worry, I moved on even last night, to do AnimalCare work and yes, I am taking care of all my cats, my grandsons, my children and my mother.

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