Monday, November 24, 2014

A final tribute to Uncle George

                          Mr.George Anthony : 3 June 1920 - 22 November 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
 The death of Mr. George Anthony at the ripe old age of 94 is indeed a sad new for me, my family and many old residents of Batu Gajah. To many in Batu Gajah he was fondly called Uncle George. He used to be known for his cheerful look and moving around on his bicycle wearing his typical Mexican hat.
I knew him since I was a child in the late sixties when I used to follow him to visit the sick in the hospital.  In fact it was these trips to the hospitals that had inspired me to take up medicine as a career. Uncle George played a very influential role not on me alone but many of my friends too in our church at that time as he was a senior member in the church then. After I left Batu Gajah, I used to meet him on and off whenever I went back home on vacations.

It was one these meetings about 10 years ago that brought me and my wife close to him. We bought him a simple breakfast one day and that opened a new chapter in our relationship. He was so grateful for the way we treated him that he wrote a letter thanking us for showing so much care and respect for him, who was old and unemployed then. In fact he had written about70 over letters since then.

 Soon he became a regular guest at all the functions in my family. He even became close to my in-laws in Ipoh who had lot of respect for him.It was during these 10 years that I learned much more about life from Uncle George. 

I was particularly impressed with what he said on 2 important issues, love and aging. After being married to his wife for nearly 60 years, he said, “Love grows with age. I think I love my wife more now than ever before”. He was 85 and his wife 82 then. These words came from a man at the final phase of his life and they are so real and meaningful. Yes, Uncle George was right; beauty, vitality and youth will die but love never dies contrary to what we usually tend to believe.

The second important lesson from Uncle George was about the fear of loneliness. He said the greatest fear as one  grows old is loneliness and this he really experienced to the fullest after the death of his only daughter and later his wife. His words, “It is not money, food or gifts we need now but the company of children, family and friends that we need most”.

The perpetual cheerful look and his loud laughter were trademarks of Uncle George that remained with him till the end. Today he may be gone but images of him cycling up Changkat hill daily wearing his trademark Mexican hat remains vividly in our minds. His vast experience is a treasure that we value so much.

Uncle George we will miss you dearly especially during our family gatherings but knowing that you have gone to a better place where you will be happier with your wife and daughter, brings us some comfort.

May you rest in peace  

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