Singapore—Losing a parent is never easy, as can be see in the tribute that Louis Pang, whose mother, Josephine Puah Geok Tin, died in a kayaking accident, wrote on Instagram on August 31.
And yet, Mr Pang and his family have sought to find comfort and peace in the assurance that “Mummy is Home.”
Mr Pang posted a heartfelt narrative on the social media site of the events that happened from the time that they found out that Ms Puah went missing, on National Day, August 9, until her remains were found.
The whole country was shocked by the news that Ms Puah, age 57, and her friend, 62-year-old Tan Eng Soon, had gone missing while kayaking in Endau Islands, Malaysia, as part of their vacation trip late in the afternoon of August 8, in the midst of rough weather and sea conditions.
The family only learned that their mother and Mr Tan were missing the following day.
Ms Puah stayed hopeful for many days after the incident, since Ms Puah was known to be strong and athletic. However, on August 14, Mr Pang himself was later asked to identify a body, which he immediately knew belonged to his mother.
Mr Pang took to his Instagram account to tell the story, entitling it, “Mummy is Home.”
At the start of his narrative, Mr Peng wrote that his mum had asked him to help her prepare for the coming expedition, even bottoming his army outfield equipment. He wrote, “During this period, I knew it was going to be a slightly tougher expedition than the one she usually went, but knowing mummy’s physical abilities I knew she could overcome any obstacles.”
Ms Puah left for her expedition on August 7, with her family looking forward to hearing all about it when she got back.
However, two days later, while Ms Puah’s husband was watching the National Day Parade on TV, a family friend called Mr Pang. He had heard about the two missing Singaporean kayakers and wondered if one of them was Ms Puah.
He answered “I don’t think it will be her…her survival skills are off the cart…can swim, can dive, can climb, can run marathon (better than my timing in her younger days), shouldn’t be her la. UD it’s he she (sic) sure will come back.”
When it was confirmed that their mother had gone missing, the family rushed to Penyabong Jetty at once, with Mr Pang’s brother staying in Singapore as an emergency contact.
Four days later the missing kayak was found in Kuantuan, more than 200 kilometers from where it had originated. At first the family stayed hopeful, since the paddle was still in the kayak and Ms Puah and Mr Tan’s water bottles were not, suggesting that they had survived somewhere.
However, by the following day the family was told that the body of a woman had been found in the waters of Kuala Kemaman, whereupon Mr Pang and some cousins made the 3-hour ride to identify it.
Upon seeing it, Mr Pang identified his mother at once. He said he shouted, “Mummy, come back home with me. It’s time to come home, I’m here to bring you back.”
At the end of his tribute, Mr Pang wrote that sometime after identifying the body the family went to the beach at Kuala Kemana, where her body had been found.
Even in the midst of grief, Ms Puah’s family found things to be grateful for.
“The priest did a ritual together with us, to bring Mummy’s spirit back home.
The place was absolutely stunning, peaceful and free. As much as I felt pain to lose her, I took comfort to know that she was being found in such a beautiful location.
It had all the natural elements that she loves. The Sun. The Sand. The Sea.”
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