Saturday, December 17

day 10606: when words aren’t enough

My mother’s friend is dying.

She found out only about a month ago and has been undergoing extreme chemo treatments to try to battle the disease that is rapidly killing her. But the treatments that are supposed to help her are killing her. She hasn’t been able to eat, hasn’t been able to keep down the pills she takes to help fight the nausea. She doesn’t even have the energy to undress so that someone can bathe her.

The prognosis isn’t good. It’s down to a matter of months.

But she has courage, and she has hope. So much hope that she hasn’t even told her extended family members for fear that they’d worry needlessly. Other than her immediate family, and her friends that are helping to care for her, no one knows. Her husband and kids are still living the same day-in-day-out rituals - running businesses in Hong Kong, going to work and studying for exams in the UK and Germany. They haven’t even flown home to Toronto to visit.

Perhaps they will at Christmas time.

She’s staying with my mother while she undergoes treatment. The nurse comes over once a day to monitor her IV drips and medication. Otherwise, she’d be home alone, lying in a pool of vomit, suffering in a silence that she doesn’t deserve. And though she is relying on the goodwill of others to help her through this, it took a lot for her to even ask. This is the woman who was fielding donation calls for her charities even on the way to the emergency room. She is one of the most selfless women I know, always going out of her way to make life easier for others. She has a strength of will that I admire.

I wish I was more like her.

I wish I could take the pain away from her. I wish there was more that I could do for her.

But I can barely talk to her. My linguistic ability is somewhat limited, and the words will not come to me. I don’t know what to say to make her feel better. I don’t know what I can do to let her know that I care.

I’ve offered my chauffer services to my mother. If ever they need a drive… through rain, through snow, I will be there in a matter of minutes. Apart from that, I don’t know what else to do, except perhaps feel guilty that I’ve been running around relatively healthy tripping from city to city for the pure enjoyment of being young and responsibility free... enjoying my life while others hate their's.

There has to be something more that I can do…


flamer said...

"The whole world is pain." -Budda.
It's one of life's greatest ironies that both the good and bad are ultimately dealt the same fate. It doesn't matter if you mirror your life around a Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, or a Pol Pot or Adolf Hitler. Irrespective of how you live, the reward is always the same for everyone, death - at which point we simply disappear into nothing. We are nothing more than the accidental by-products of nature, a result of matter plus time plus chance. There is no reason for our existence, and like all biological organisms we must all eventually die. All roads that we take, whether we walk them in peace or love or charity or in malice or murder will ultimately lead to the grave.
So what then is the significance of trying to influence anything or any part of our lives? What does it matter to be good or bad? Ultimately it will mean nothing.

Schmassion mentions feeling guilty about her good health and relatively care free life. But why do that? Guilt or glee won't add a minute to our finite lives. In the end, we are like prisoners on death row, we simply wait for our executioner to arrive...

schmassion said...


We are all just killing time before we die. But while we're here, why not enjoy the ride? And for that matter, why not help others enjoy their rides as much as we possibly can?

We ARE insignificant in the overall scheme of things. Good or bad, there's very little purpose in all of our lives. Regardless of the "contributions" people have made to the planet and to society, do you think a thousand, ten thousand years from now, anyone will remember? And in a billion years from now when the Earth shrivels up into nothingness and implodes upon itself because of all our modern "contributions" do you think any of us will matter then?

But you're right in saying that guilt won't contribute anything at the end of the day to anyone's life... mine or otherwise. The world is severely lacking in compassion, so if what I’ve said about my feelings is enough to get me or someone else off their asses to actually try to make someone else's life a little better, than it’s warranted. Is it so bad that I want to share my luck at having a decent lifestyle and good health with others who are not as fortunate as I?

I try to justify my personal significance and purpose by the impact I have on others. If I die today, I want to be able to do so knowing that I've influenced my peers in a positive way. I try to lead by example and by action, not by shouting out to the world what I've actually contributed to society. If I do something or say something that people respect and want to emulate, so much the better… pay it forward, if you will.

Happy Holidays…