23 March 2021
A Tribute to Shawn Low, BTSS Committee Member
This morning, I missed you and went to our what’s app chat where your motto “Live Life to the Fullest” greeted me. I was greatly comforted to remember how full you had lived your life although you left us too soon.
Many feel sad that your fight against cancer had come to naught. However, when I think about it, the battle for our lives, whether you are a cancer patient or healthy person, is a fight that everyone will eventually lose. It is therefore a fallacy to hold on to the motto of “Live Life to the Longest” when we cannot control when our time would be up. Perhaps, because of our fear of death, most cancer patients and caregivers tend to focus on delaying the eventual with the goal of “Living Life to the Longest”.
However, as one who works and lives in a community of brain tumour patients, I see the real fight as not overcoming cancer to “Live Life to the Longest”, but overcoming the fear of cancer and death to “Live Life to the Fullest”. Shawn, I am so proud that while you responsibly sought treatments, you never abandoned your life motto. I could tell as every time I interacted with you, you were Full of Gratitude, Hope and Affection.
You were always ready to thank those who helped you. What’s more, you never failed to follow up with an affirmation of the person…. Your voice “wow, I really have to learn from you.” Still rings in my ear and that of others whom you had appreciated.
My mind still holds images of you at our last 2 Brainy Car Rallies. You were undergoing chemotherapy then yet you were determined to champion the projects to bring smiles to our children with brain tumours. You never once complained or asked for a stepped down role. Instead, you were grateful to be able to do something to bring cheer to the children whom you felt so much compassion for.
You were wise not to hold on to the hope of overcoming cancer as your only anchor but you created hope to look forward to every day. Like enjoying meals with your loved ones and friends, planning a trip out alone on your wheelchair, buying presents and celebrating the birthdays of your dear ones. I fondly recall how you expressed hope to attend my daughter’s wedding even though it would still be a long way off.
As a hopeful patient, you made it a more joyful and meaningful for your family and friends to be with you. The opposite of hope is despair and patients who are full of despair often make the journeys tough and sad for their caregivers and themselves. This was never you although you had sometimes expressed worry and fear about not being able to recover.
You had always been generous with your affection, which you especially expressed in your last months. I recall how affectionately you always spoke of Marilyn, and your siblings as we went shopping to help you buy gifts that they would appreciate.
I felt your affection when you insisted on delivering the BTSS Birthday Blessing to me although you were in a wheelchair. I knew that you wanted to express how much you value me. In fact, from my interactions with you, I could see that you were a loyal friend to many and had never hesitated to extend help to those who needed your support.
Shawn, we are full of gratitude to you for touching so many hearts and lives through our four Brain Car Rallies. Thanks to you, BTSS managed to raise the funds we really needed in our early years.
We are grateful that you showed us how to be full of hope. It is not easy for cancer patients to put aside their fears to wake up every morning with a smile and confidence to face the world and embrace life. Shawn, you set the example for us by refusing to step back or be beaten. You fought hard and won the battle to live your best life every day until your very last breath. We are forever indebted to you for your contributions and shining example.
Because we are full of affection for you, it is now painful for us to say goodbye. We miss you dearly and grieve your passing. But we will see you in Heaven one day and until then, when we remember you, we will remember to “Live Life to the Fullest”.
Your friend & President, BTSS
PS: I have adopted “Live Life to the Fullest” as my What’s App status to honour the memory of Shawn Low. I urge every person who has been touched by Shawn Low to do likewise till his first month anniversary on 22 April 2021.