He was five, skin-and-bone, and perpetually blue from lack of oxygen. His lungs did not function well enough to pass on oxygen from the air to his blood, and consequently, his breathing was always heavy.
Shane was always excited about company. A curious little boy, he would begin his interactions shyly and cautiously. But as soon as he found his comfort space, he was a barrel of fun! Marbles caught his attention, so did cars and toy robots. Despite the need to be very careful at the swimming pool, he wanted to splash around and swim. It made me feel extremely guilty about being perfectly healthy and able to run, jump, swim, chase after, and be chased without falling suffocatingly short of breath. Even his excitement caused his breathing to turn into gasping.
Annette, his "big sister", loved him as much as he did her, and was she was very protective about him despite being only eight years old herself. They fought over toys like normal siblings did, but she generally gave in to love. He always turned to her for help, especially to climb onto the airbeds or the noodles in the swimming pool.
Aunty Merle and Uncle Cletus considered Shane a gift from God, and truly he was. He gave them all the joys a child could, and whether despite of or because of his medical condition, he was showered with all the love, care and affection a child could want. His infrequent outbursts came only because he wanted his favourite noodles right then(probably the only dish he preferred to eat!), or because his body just couldn't keep up with his wish to play.
Shane passed away due to complications late last year. When I look around me and observe fellow classmates, I realize how much we take life for granted. Illnesses erupt every three days, headaches and tummy aches become reasons to avoid work, and any reason is enough to use things belonging to someone else. There's no enthusiasm to do things yourself, curiosity to find out for yourself, challenge to overcome problems alone, and the willingness to enjoy little things.
I miss you Shane, and although you spent more time at home in Singapore than you did with us in Goa, you will always remain an inspiration - the reason that all the oxygen we breathe does not go to waste.