(To know the background story before this post, please read In the end.)

lessons learned from hospital bed

For the past weeks, we have been in an emotional roller coaster ride.

Perhaps, it’s an understatement as well. How are you supposed to feel when someone is dying anyway? How are you supposed to be selfless, to have empathy with the party who’s lying on bed – who’s gripping to life every now and then?

Then how are you supposed to prioritise work, or prioritise family, or prioritise your own selfishness in amidst all these?

I have missed a flight back to Melbourne twice in two weeks. Every time, something happened and I had to stay back. Take yesterday for example. All my luggages were ready and I was on my way to one last visit. But her condition dropped overnight and she fell into a comatose, and somehow, my flight got extended once again.

It’s been very, very tiring.

If I look inside and I think about empathy, which writers are supposed to have a truckload of, I wonder if that’s me lying on the hospital bed, what would I want? To be surrounded by my family? Or to just not make things worse and ask for the littlest amount of help possible?

I don’t know. We can see in her eyes and actions that she’s scared of dying. Ah, the fear of death does not depend on the numbers of years you have lived. You can live to a hundred and still not want to die.

And for the dying, it’s actually hard to really die.

Call it medical advancement, but it’s true what my Mom says to me after we got home, ‘You see, you can learn something from this: Even when a person is dying, it’s still hard to be really gone. Even when she is already in so much pain.’

It’s true. She’s in pain. She can no longer eat, drink, sit, or talk. She can only move her left hand to search for ours. She opens her mouth and sticks her tongue out, wanting water. Water. Water. But she can’t have it, because if she drinks, there’s a high possibility of choking, which will turn into suffocation.

Probably it’s better to go to the land of no suffering, but as my Mom tells me, ‘Who are we to judge the time a person has left?’

She might be dying, but she is not ready to die just yet. We all can see that. And it’s agonising to see and even harder to face. Or probably we are just tired with all these countless visits to the hospital. Probably I am. Selfish.

These past weeks, I am reminded once again in the lesson of having the right attitude, and that my plan isn’t really His.

Photo by Lee Haywood, Creative Commons