The last few months have been quite a rollercoaster of emotions and events that I felt the need to do a proper write up of the events from the last 2 and a half months.
There’s been so many things going on in both my personal life and LEGO hobby that it’s been really crazy and things have gone from really bad to really good and back and forth. I haven’t been feeling well lately but I’m hoping by writing this down, I can clear my mind of some things and move forward.
Notice: This is a really crappily composed article. It gets emotional after June so be forewarned.
Late June 2017 – Post JBF and ToyCon PH 2017
This was the post Japan Brickfest period and was still mostly still hungover from going to Japan and having attended Japan Brickfest and channeled all that into the last event for June. ToyCon 2017 would be a continuation of the yearly Philippine Toy Convention held in one of the biggest convention venues in Manila. It is a 3 day event starting Friday and I had the privilege of piggybacking with a friend’s table (Thanks Tamago’s Cases and Bases!), giving me the chance to display a sample of what I had brought to Kobe just a few weeks back.
ToyCon 2017 was actually my first ever event that I was selling so it was huge learning experience. It was also the 2nd time I was exhibiting in a toy convention that wasn’t purely LEGO (the first was ITGE Macau 2015). It’s different when you’re among many other toy stalls trying to grab attention to your product. Most people who passed by our booth just glanced at my builds not really knowing they were LEGO. A few people who had taken interest leaned in nearer and suddenly realized what they were made of. Some of those inquired, others took photos, and some just continued with their ToyCon exploration. I was able to sell all of my 5 reFrame V3 kits and a few reFrame V3 instruction manuals over the 3 day period so I was really happy!
Again, a great learning experience. I’ve noted down the things I could improve on in terms of my setup like making sure each model gets better exposure and lighting and also taking note of seller things like packing enough change for buyers 😛
July 2017 – Never going to be the same after this point
I’m actually having a hard time write this part as it was the most heartbreaking July of my entire life. I’m still writing it however as I’d like to narrate the events of July as a reminder to myself and people who read this to not let the stress in your life eat you up, something I’m constantly reminding myself lately.
The first 2 weeks of July was just spent on entertaining inquiries about my reFrame kits and manuals, looking forward to both FFXII remastered and the Destiny 2 open beta on the PS4, and taking care of the plans for my moving out to a new place.
Then on July 19, my father was confined to the hospital for the first time in his life and after 3 weeks of being treated, he eventually succumbed to hospital acquired pneumonia along with multiple organ failure. Things happened so fast and no one in my entire family or his friends expected this to happen.
This is probably the first and only time I’ll ever discuss about my family / personal life.
My dad was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease back in 1998, a mental disorder that is progressive, has no cure as of writing, but has medication to remove the symptoms and effects of the disease temporarily. The #1 thing about Parkinson’s is the lack of Dopamine, a chemical that helps with movement in the body. In my dad’s case, he became rigid when the medications wore off, greatly preventing him from doing daily activities.
In the last few years, my dad’s condition had gone from manageable with medication to just unbearable. In 2015 when his condition severely worsened, we flew with him to the US to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation, a surgical procedure that would implant a device in my father and through electrical nodes, would assist in the brain’s supply of Dopamine to my dad’s body. Things looked good and he recovered substantially and as he’d say “found a new lease on life” after the operation.
Going back to the morning of July 19, 2017. I received a call from my brother-in-law who lived across my dad and was informed my dad was being delusional. My dad had been extremely stressed by certain unmentionable events that previous week and when I arrived 20 minutes later, I found my eldest sister with my dad who was trying to calm my dad down who was clearly suffering from hallucinations, was highly delusional, and was visibly shaking and suffering from tremors, a Parkinson’s state that we rarely see him in. Something was definitely off. Unsuccessful with our attempts to calm him down and hydrate him, I brought him to the Emergency Room where he was initially being treated for dehydration. Our family was later informed that he was suffering from Rhabdomyolysis where his muscles, after being so used up for an extended period of time from the tremors he had been suffering for hours, had flushed all their toxins into his kidney which caused this to shut down and also affected the liver. He would be confined to the ICU for the next 6 days and would need hemodialysis to help his body remove the toxins. This was an extremely difficult time for our entire family.
After the 6 days of ICU stay and several hemodialysis sessions, we were given the clearance to transfer him to a private room. Upon transfer, he had acquired Pneumonia and things just quickly went downhill from there. On the morning of August 5, he succumbed to the physical strain of both the Pneumonia and all the toxins that was in his body that couldn’t be extracted.
He was 66 years old. He spoke French, Mandarin, Fukien, English, and Filipino. He was a bodybuilder for 30 years even with his condition and greatly idolized Arnold Schwarzenegger. He loved French wine and food, listening to classic Rock, Jazz, and Classical vinyl records, was an excellent Table Tennis player, hustler in Billiards, and all around great guy. The last photo I took of him was in the hospital with him trying to smile and pretend everything was fine when it clearly wasn’t.
Ultimately, I still believe what really caused my dad’s passing was something you’d never see in lab results. My dad had been extremely stressed out for the longest time. He’d overthink a lot of things, most of which were things that no one could control. He lost sleep over them and this really took a toll on his physical health. My dad never knew how to resolve issues sadly. They just lingered until they were forgotten and this time, there wasn’t enough time to forget so many issues.
My dad was my greatest idol. I’d credit him for getting me into LEGO as he bought me all my LEGO sets when I was young. I’d eagerly await him to come back from a trip abroad with some new LEGO and on one trip, he bought me a Spyrius 6949 Robo-Guardian and that set forever changed my LEGO life. Just a few weeks ago, I was telling him all about Japan and ToyCon and showing him pictures of the events. I regret not being able to tell him more. I miss him badly.
Like I mentioned at the start of this article, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for me in the last few months. I’m at the point that I feel like I can’t have a good moment without a really ugly follow up.
The rest of August after my dad’s passing had been a mix of things. After we buried my dad on August 9, I flew out to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to cheer my GF on for her X45 Crossfit competition. It took my mind off things for a while and was able to build my first mech since June that was a rebuild of an old 2014 design. I would bring this redesigned Lancer with me to Singapore to meet fellow LEGO Mech addict and Brick Mecha Division (BMD) founder Kelvin Low / Chubbybots and watch Foo Fighters live with my Girlfriend as they were playing on my birthday (Aug. 26)! We were also able to visit the Yayoi Kusama exhibit which was excellent and even got to check out the Piece for Peace UNESCO world heritage LEGO exhibit so the Singapore trip was a good distraction.
Both of these trips were planned months before and I’m glad I had them as a way to take my mind off things, even if temporarily.
The rest of August was spent just trying to move forward and deal with things concerning my dad’s passing and it hasn’t been easy for reasons I can’t really mention here. Honestly, it gets tiring having to answer people how I’m doing as I really never know what to say. I’m currently a mix of being okay and falling apart like one of those dank memes.
A few months back, we had a post in BMD asking about something concerning lacking the drive to build. Honestly, I felt that way for two months but realized that building LEGO mechs for me is my safe place and my coping mechanism for all my frustrations. I found it natural to just come back to it especially nowadays when I’m ready to move forward again. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without my mech building and I’m glad to have it in this difficult time in my life.
I’m still preparing to move out to my new place and hopefully start fresh somehow. I’m also getting back on track with my LEGO things, processing orders for both kits and manuals, and building mechs again. There’s also getting back to having a healthy lifestyle, working out again. And most importantly, I need to focus on the people that matter to me that are still here. Shoutout to my Girlfriend Eds who has been with me through these hard times and has given me more than a guy like me deserves.
To end this crazy update, I’d encourage you, the person on the other side currently reading this, to do 2 things:
- Cherish those who mean a lot to you and tell your parents I love you before it’s too late. You never know when they’ll go and do the things you want to do with them before that happens.
- Don’t let your stress consume you. Find a way to address them. It’s not enough to just forget about them and leave them lingering as they’ll definitely come back.
Peace out and until the next post.
Lu Sim / Messymaru
My condolences sir. I have been a fan of your work for about a year now.
I know that we cannot understand the feeling of loss the same way you do, but we, your fellow Lego builders, are here rooting for you in this hard time.
May you always see the good things, even more, the memories your father left you. And as we too will gratefully follow your advice in spending time with our families while they’re still with us.