Monday, September 27, 2010

What the Wise Old Man Said

"Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it'd be easy, they just promised it would be worth it." 
~ Author Unknown ~

Today I was covering Rej in running her Youth Marketing Conference. I accidentally met a speaker from New Zealand at the Crew Management Conference that my other fellow producer colleague was running. Sometime last year, I invited this speaker to speak at my maritime-related conference. He is a very senior Sea Master in his seventies who now very much involved in the maritime education and training industry.

I perfectly remember when I invited him to deliver a presentation in Singapore, he requested an accommodation for his wife as well as she usually accompanied him and would be assisting him at conferences. I said no problem with that. Unfortunately, that conference was canceled due to the poor number of delegate participation. Needless to say, I never got the chance to meet both of them in person.

When I saw him mistakenly going into my conference room this afternoon, I quickly greeted him and introduced myself personally. He still remembers me although all this while we only communicated through email correspondences. I then walked him to the correct function room and joyfully asked him, "So, where is your wife?" "Oh, my wife passed away in last May." I was startled. He noticed the confused look on my face and repeated,"Valerie passed away last May." For a moment, I thought he was joking but someone can't be joking on stuff like this, can he? Especially for an old gentleman like himself. I was speechless for few seconds trying to digest what he said.

After processing this news rather slowly, then I kept on saying "I'm sorry to hear that..." to him. He just smiled and said "It's okay." many times. I continued, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I just thought that both of you always travel together for conferences and...".

"Yes, yes. We always traveled together. Always together when traveling and at home. In fact, we just came back from our Dubai trip." "Huh? When?" "We came back from Dubai in last April and in May, she passed away". My tongue was frozen again and said "I am so sorry to hear this" (again). He smiled and said, "So, just make the most out of it!"

He threw another smile at me and proceeded to the function room to join the forum. I wish tomorrow I could catch his presentation.

I admired him for taking this speaking opportunity when he was grieving. My colleague invited Valerie to speak at this conference back in June but her husband was the one who, in the end, accepted the speaking opportunity in honor of his deceased wife.

Whenever I saw him today, I just felt so sad. An old man. Now alone. No more traveling partner. No more beloved one to share his heart and life. My colleague commented, "Yes, it is sad, but usually in this case, it is just about who goes first, isn't it?" "Yeah, but it is just so sad. Poor thing", I replied.

I never met Valerie Short personally but I bet she was a nice lady. May she rest in peace.

"Life is too short, make the most of yours today."
~ C. Pulsifer ~


  1. Life has all the surprises for us. Everything that goes up, must come down. Everything that comes, must go... Live the moment because today is the PRESENT :)

  2. Hi Jamie,

    Yes, agree! Life goes on. Live the moment. Carpe diem! :)

  3. They sound like a really close couple. Like your blog, I'm following :)

  4. Thanks Jothi, I dropped by yours too! :D


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