A Month of Goodbyes

My brilliant cousin, renowned in the UK medical world as an accomplished spinal surgeon, passed away from Covid-19 recently. We probably met once when we were children, but we never met again.

I was made aware of his achievements by his mother. After graduating from Nottingham University in the UK, he made spinal surgery his specialty and became an expert in his field. Some years ago, my aunt proudly announced to all the relatives that he was the first UK recipient of the Medaille D’Or from Madam Chirac, chairman of EEDCM, an organization that honors people with an exemplary professional life.

He made her proud, and we the relatives, basked in some of his reflected glory. When Covid made its way across the world he became an avid anti-vaxxer. In October, he caught Covid, was fine for a week, then became breathless. He was admitted to the ICU, sedated, intubated and ventilated. In November, the family was told to prepare for the worst. Then on Dec 13, the relatives were informed that he had passed away.

In the Oct 2 edition of The Straits Times, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung reported that unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to need ICU care or die, with seniors at the highest risk. Cousin Khai was only 55, not quite a “senior”.

Could he have lived, if he had taken the jab? We don’t know. And it’s useless to speculate — there are just too many variables.

Goodbye, Cousin Khai. Deaths of friends and family members below 70 years are always jarring. After all, we’re supposed to live from 70 to perhaps 80 or more (Psalm 90:10). Perhaps it was your time to go.

May you rest in peace.