Monday, October 24, 2011

The many miracles behind Charmaine’s passing

On Sunday evening, clad in Charmaine's favourite colours of yellow, pink and green, we set off balloons of the same colours flying up into the sky. We sent Charmaine off with smiles amidst tears. We told her to fly... like a fairy.

She had always wanted to be one.

Somehow, the balloons all flew towards the sun and a friend told us it was a sign from Charmaine to tell us that she is fine. We were in tears but we felt a sense of peace knowing that Charmaine is in a better place now.

The logical side of me actually wondered about why balloons float towards the sun but a search on Google warrants no results. I must say that the spiritual side of me is telling me that it’s really a sign and that not everything could be explained by science.


Charmaine’s miraculous smile

For people I know who visited Charmaine at her wake or rather Celebration of Life party as what Cyn mommy termed it, I made it a point to tell them the story behind Charmaine’s phenomenon smile when she passed on. The New Paper (Saturday, 22 October 2011) did not have a report on her smile. Only the Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News ( 新明日报) on the same day had a little section on it but since they wrote Cynthia’s Chinese name wrongly in that little section, some people read that portion with some doubt and actually asked me if the reporter was exaggerating.

Ever since Charmaine was brought home from the ICU to say goodbye (Monday, 3 October 2011), new tumours had been popping up everywhere on her little body. The cancer was spreading at an alarming rate but yet, she still fought on in immense pain. By then, she was rendered almost immobile. Her body was degenerating by the days but still, she continued her battle in spirits.

The last tumour popped up on Thursday (20 October 2011) in Charmaine’s mouth on the inside of her cheek. It was raw and bleeding nonstop till her whole mouth was full of blood. With her little lung failing and her mouth full of blood, she could not even close her mouth.

On this very same day, Cyn mommy for the first time was begging the heavens to take Charmaine away for she did not want her to suffer anymore. She hoped for Charmaine to be free and be the happy girl she had always been.

As if knowing that cyn mommy was finally ready for her to go and only upon the arrival of her beloved gong gong, po po, ku ku and godma, Charmaine slowly left us with cyn mommy hugging her and sobbing. All this while, Jase kor kor was lying face down on the bed, holding onto Charmaine and wailing for her to come back. He slowly cried himself to sleep while still holding onto Charmaine.

Much to my sorrow, Charmaine’s mouth was still opened when she passed on. To put it very graphically, her mouth was like a little O-shape. I wetted some gauze while cyn mommy used them to clean the blood inside her mouth. Cyn continued hugging her and talking to her in a soothing voice. Well knowing that she’s gone, some of us family and friends alike continued stroking and talking to her too, saying lots of positive words and at times even joking amidst tears.

About an hour later, a good friend of ours told us that Charmaine seemed to be smiling. True enough, she was indeed smiling! Her mouth seemed to have relaxed and the little O-shape actually transformed into her usual toothy grin while her lips slowly pursed into a smile! It was AMAZING to have actually witnessed such a phenomenon with my own eyes!

Could this be explained by science? I guess so but I prefer to think of her smile in the abstract way.

I really have no idea how it happened but I must say that I’ve actually witnessed many miracles in Charmaine’s short life story.


The last miracle

Today, Cyn mommy went to collect Charmaine’s ashes and to her utter delight, three relics were found in Charmaine’s ashes! Being a Christian, the first time I ever heard about relics in ashes was when my hubby’s paternal grandma passed away. She was such a good person and if I remember correctly, she had a few relics! According to Chinese Buddhism, saints or very highly practiced monks may have them. Special people or people with very good karma (basically a very good heart) may have them too. For Charmaine to have 3 in her little body is truly amazing.

Charmaine is really a special girl and I’m not bragging about it just because I'm her Godma. I could go on about Charmaine’s legacy that she has left behind and how Charmaine is such a courageous, loving and thoughtful little girl even right up to her final moments but I would probably leave that for another day.


Some digital articles on Charmaine's passing

The New Paper online version:

No more pain as little fighter dies with a smile 

Don't mourn her death, celebrate little Charmaine's life

I'll look at photo when I miss her

Full story available only for the print version.

Feisty Char needs bullets to fight!


  1. I have read Charmaine's blog when you posted that passed away, and it broke my heart when I read your friend's post about Charmaine's new tumour growth. I was tearing up as I read the blog, even though I don't know her personally, I could feel the pain she was going through seeing her little girl bravely fighting the "monster" in her body. Yes, you're goddaughter is with the angels now, and she's finally free from her pain. She was a very brave and tough little one though, and for that I admire her. She has more strength and courage than most adults do. And she has touched so many lives with her smile, that's probably why many were so reluctant to let her go the moment she finally passed away.

    Again, my prayers and my thoughts go out to you, and the family.


    A Single Girl's Musings

  2. My eyes were literally filled with tears as I was reading this post. I just couldn't imagine the pains little Charmarine had to go through and the pains her mother endured while seeing her small child suffering. Both of them are phenomenal and exceptional. Her mommy will have a lot to adjust after this, I am sending well wishes and encouragements her way.

  3. Hey Jo...

    It's been such a long time. My condolences to you and Charmaine's family.

    Charmaine sounds like such a wonderful and strong girl. Though it may be hard to let go... it's good to know she is no longer suffer and is in a better place.

    RIP Charmaine.

    <3 S.

  4. I think that was Charmaine's last little gift to all of you: a smile. She passed away surrounded by her friends and family, and though it's sad that she had to go, she's left you with a memory of the wonderful happy little girl she has always been.

    As for the balloons floating toward the sun, some things are just not to be explained. I remember, at my gran's funeral, it was such a rainy day, but all of a sudden, the sun came peeking through the clouds. Eventhough I'm not religious, it was a very intense moment, as if she was watching over us and comforting us. This to say that I do believe, somehow, Char was there watching over you too.

  5. I cried while reading this post. Charmaine went through so much. I'm glad her suffering is over and that she's at peace. She's an angel. Jo, you and your family should be comforted to know that. What a beautiful tribute to release balloons. I think that is so beautiful! ((HUG)) I will continue to pray for your family.

  6. Jo, I have no words to describe the way i feel after reading this post. I'm very sad, but as you mentioned Charmaine is in a better place, a pain free place where she can bounce around with a huge smile on her face. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  7. Jo, I only came to know about Charmaine through your beautiful blog posts about her. And each time I read, I end up in tears because you do more than a fact-by-fact post, you paint a picture with your words and share a real life story that is tragic but inspiring. I don't have much that I can say in the wake of her passing, except that Charmaine's little life has impacted people on other continents, which is something not many people can say. Thank you for sharing her with us and I wish you & Cyn peace despite the grief.

    Mandy xx

  8. I don't know what to say. Such a sweet little girl. Reading your words made me think maybe she saw Heaven and that made her smile.

  9. Dear Wi, Nelah, Serena, Bibi, Kim, Sharon, Mandy, Rick,

    Thank you so much for your words. I think I've gone past the crying stage as of now. I feel a sense of peace actually though I miss Charmaine a lot.

  10. Uff..can't read without tearing up. I know her spirit is surrounding you all now..she will live on in your hearts and even ours now from you sharing her with us. It's never easy loosing someone, but she is with you always!! BIG BIG hugss xx

  11. I cried while reading this. I have two kids and it just broke my heart.

  12. Jo, I really cannot find the right words to say, but I'm really sorry to hear about this.

    It was rather unexpected for me as even though I've regularly read updates on Charmaine from your blog, it never occured to me that this day would come. I don't know her personally and can only imagine the pain she has gone through, but from what you wrote, I gather she was a very sweet, strong young lady. This post and the last made me cry and it feels strange as I've never even met Charmaine.

    I know she is in a better place. Like you said, a pain-free place.

    I hope you're ok *hugz*

  13. Thoughts and prayers with you, family & friends...but it seems that Charmaine is indeed in a better place with no more pain!


  14. I don't have a smart phone, so I use the commuting time on the train as my quiet rest or think or whatever.

  15. The Dainty Doll's House, PAPS, Joey, Ling,

    Thank you dears!


    Charmaine has managed to touch the hearts of many strangers from all walks of life not only in Singapore but from overseas as evident from all our supporters and readers. I think she's such a special little girl. =D


    I imagine you using these quiet moments to think of the next blog post to craft!

  16. I'm so sorry to hear about this turn in events Jo. You and Charmaine's family must be devastated by this...I wish there was something I could say. I'm not very good with the passing of loved ones since I haven't experienced it much in my own family. My deepest condolences go out to Charmaine's family though. I hope that they will be able to get through this. I'm not a religious person by any means, but I've always wondered if there really is a higher being watching over us, then why do innocent children and good people pass at such a young age. Sometimes I really think it's unfair how things in this world turn out.

    I'm not familiar with the relics in the ashes, but from what I read, it sounds like Charmaine truly deserved them. Although I have never met her in person, from what I read in your blog and on Charmaine's blog, she sounds like a genuinely kind hearted person. It's very upsetting to learn that she is no longer with your family, but I have no doubts that she has passed on to a better place. My thoughts will be with you and Charmaine's family.

  17. Rinny,
    Thank you, dear. Well, some people explain that the very good pass on as they are actually off to a better place. It makes sense but it's also quite contradicting coz the very good are also rewarded with longevity. It works both ways I guess.

    The relics provided cyn mommy with a closure to Charmaine's chapter on earth. She was really at peace seeing the relics. Some of our supporters mentioned that the 3 relics represent Cyn mommy, Jase kor kor and Charmaine. Christian or not, I would like to believe in that too. =)

    PS: I like your new profile picture!

  18. Copied & pasted from tagboard for remembrance:

    26 Oct 11, 00:59
    passer-by: After clicking about your blog and reading a few of your older posts, I must say that I'm seriously impressed with the way you write. Thank you Charmaine for bringing me to this nice little blog of yours. I hope you and Charmaine's family are ok by now. Please send my regards to Cynthia and Jase as I do not have a blogger account to leave a comment on their blog. Thank you so much Jolene for sharing with us stories about Charmaine.

    26 Oct 11, 14:17
    Jo to passer-by: You have no idea how much your words make me smile. I'm always very appreciative when people read what I write instead of just glossing over my posts. We are all ok. Just cracked some silly joke with with cyn over sms just now. I think we're really ok for now. I will definitely send your regards to cyn and family. Please leave a pseudonym next time for me to remember you by.

  19. From tagboard:

    27 Oct 11, 22:25
    A Mommy too: Hey Jolene, I spent the past 3 hours reading all your entries about your godkids. I just want to say that you have been an amazing godmum and a great friend to Charmaine's mommy. You are really a true gem of a friend. You have really earned my admiration. I also have utmost respect for Cynthia for being one of the greatest mommy ever and of course our brave feisty warrior princess Charmaine. I read about your journey here and also some of your other post when you mentioned you want to close down your blog. Please please don't close down your blog. I'm sure many of us get many insights and updates about Charmaine and family here too as can be seen from comments. Whatever you have been doing is great. Please keep it up. Hope you're feeling fine now. I would love to hear from you.

    Hi A Mommy too,
    I've decided to reply you here as cbox has limitations in space. Thank you very much for your comments. You have no idea how much your words mean to me and how they made me smile. I'm really touched by your words and I was practically beaming in my heart.

    Actually I didn't do a lot. I merely did what a good friend is supposed to do. Char has got many many people around her doing so much for her and her family too eg Char's other godma, many uncles and aunties, kor kor and jie jies and also supporters and readers like you. All of you kept us going by giving us encouragement and love.

    I would love to see you around more often. I don't think I would close down my blog in the near future since I've already contemplated a few times and have finally made the decision not to go private or to close down my blog. I would embrace this newfound readership cum friendship from 3rd degree friends, readers and supporters of ourfeistyprincess and many other good people stumbling onto my humble little space. The blogging world could be such a warm and fuzzy place and I've made many great friends by continuing to stay on.

    We're feeling better now. At least I know I am but cyn mommy is sick with cough and bad throat. If you have a blogger or FB a/c, you could reach out to cyn mommy from or

    Thank you for your heartwarming comments!

  20. @Jo: ahh I see, yeah you bring up a good point there. I'm glad to hear that seeing the relics provided some peace to Cyn. I think it's very coincidental too that there were 3 relics, so your readers' theory sounds like it may have some basis :)

    And thank you so much Jo!

  21. Rinny,
    Yup everything all fits and make sense. =)


I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)


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