Category Archives: On Death & Dying

Dealing with Death, Feelings Associated with Death

Lives We Can’t Save…

There are, just, too many lives that we can’t save, we only have, two hands, and, looking out, there are, so many who are, hollering out for help, and, it’s just, IMPOSSIBLE, to get to all of them in time.

Lives we can’t save, what do we do with them?  They’re still alive for each of us, even AFTER they all died.  We are, forever, plagued, by the what could’ve beens and if…only’s…

…not my photograph.

Lives we can’t save, there’s, NOTHING we can do about them, they’re all, already dead AND gone, all we can do, is, stop focusing on the losses, and, focus more on what we’d done right.  But, it’s hard sometimes, ‘cuz, that life that’s lost, with you close by, had, imprinted itself, etched, onto your soul.

Lives we can’t save, no matter how hard we think, we can’t, go back to the past, and remake the choices we’d already made differently, to change the outcomes………

rescuers in the aftermath of an earthquake in Nepal, photo from online…

Those lives that we can’t save, are we going to, allow them, to imprint deeply, onto our guilty consciences, or, are we going to, turn cold, and, think to ourselves: it’s just the way things are, there’s no way of changing that now.

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Lives Lost, On Death & Dying, the Finality of Life

Hobbies, the Haiku of Light

Translated…

How I Loved

Collecting Everybody’s Laughter

So I Can Open it Back Up

On My Funeral

So, this, is how you want everybody to remember you after you’re gone, you don’t want others to mourn for you, instead, you wanted them, to remember the happier times you had shared with them, that, is a great way to leave a legacy behind.

and no, still NOT my photograph…

4 Comments

Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Expectations, Life, Loss, On Death & Dying, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Values

The New Home for the Elderly

Observations made from life, translated…

Awhile ago, after I’d gone for my workout at the park, I’d taken a rest on the benches, the heated summer days, with that gentle breeze, an elderly couple was sitting there, in the resting place, I’d heard the elderly woman tell the elderly man, “Let’s go to the new place to check it out later.”, I think to myself, they must have a huge sum in retirement funds.

Sitting close to them, we’d started in conversations, as we talked, the “new home” that the elderly were talking about, were the dual burial place that they’re going to be sharing after they die.  They don’t have any children, just had each other, and, had made their future plans a very long time ago.  They said, that they’d go to their “new home” to clean it up every single week.

“If you don’t have worries far off, then, you have worries nearby.”  Being able to set up one’s own funeral arrangements beforehand, and so in love, that after death, wanting to be buried together, it’s really rare to see, it’s truly, moving.

And so, you can see how close these two elderly are to one another, to want to be buried together after death, and, it’s a good thought too, because they wanted to keep each other company, even after death, and, this, is a hard-to-come-by, once-in-a-lifetime, very deep, kind of love that these two elderly share.

Leave a comment

Filed under Expectations, Life, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life

My Turn to Take Care of You This Time

From the mind of a son, translated…

The year that I’d interned at the emergency room, I’d always feared that my father would become one of the patients, every time I’d heard on the announcement system, that there was an unknown male patient, I’d always gone to check.  My father had been ill a long time, one morning, he had a stroke, was found by a neighbor, to be lying at the park, having a seizure, but after being treated, he’d gotten stabilized, and can now, live on his own.

I can’t believe, that my father who’d always been so strong, how he’d missed the signs of him growing weaker, back then, I’d spent all of my waking hours on my post, learned to ask the patients what was the matter, and how to treat their difficulties, and, in this busyness, I’d gotten a call, as I’d dialed back, it was, a stranger, telling me about my father’s conditions, how ironic!  My heart became twitched and tangled, I’d immediately rushed to the other hospital, saw my father, panting hard, at a corner of the emergency room; what’s worse was, I’d worked through the days and the nights, and neglected to ask him how he was, and was completely clueless about his mental and physical health.

I should’ve known, that my father had concealed his condition from me, because he didn’t want me to worry, I should’ve gotten that something wasn’t right from how fatigued he looked, all those knowledge I’d learned from medical school allowed me to look at every patient’s situations subjectively, but, I couldn’t see clearly what was going on with those I loved………I’d started doubting my love toward my father now, compared to those who’d kept me up all night long, thinking over their conditions, I don’t even know when was the last time my dad went to his doctor’s appointment, must there be a give and take between a greater kind of love and the love you have for those who are close to you?

There was a time, when I’d gotten trapped in the emotions of self-blame, before my father’s bed, I’d looked over his charts hard, trying to find a way, to make this love I have for him complete; but, what surfaced into my mind was not the medical knowledge, but the days my father and I spent together.  The tears of regrets stained my white robe, and, it was, as if my father heard my helpless cries, he’d worked hard, opened up his eyes, and told me, to not worry so much, word by word.

My father couldn’t control his drool, and, it’d slowly overflowed from the corner of his lips, I’d wiped it up lightly, I didn’t want someone else to look after him again, even as my father ushered me to head back to work, I’d still told him no.  This time, I want to, keep watch over my father, as his son.

And this, is how someone had become too focused on his job, that he’d forgotten about how important family is, but gladly, he’d gotten that wake up call just in time.

2 Comments

Filed under Despair, Family Dynamics, Family Matters, On Death & Dying, Parent-Child Interactions, Professional Opinions, Properties of Life, Socialization

My Father & the Symphony of Life

On death, translated…

A few minutes later, the workers flipped my father’s still limp body to the side, he was like a well-behaved child, asleep, not moving at all.

My father had never allowed anybody to do him like this ever, he’d been a serviceman his whole life, he was the forward when he was younger when he’d played basketball, before he’d retired from the army, he worked as a head of a certain department too, a very respected man by all, I suppose.

After he’d gotten out of the services, he’d started making his own way, volunteered for a Hakka magazine, and, when he was asked along, to perform the traditional Hakka skills, he’d gone, as he pleased, NEVER followed anybody’s requests………

But this time, it was, out of his hands, we saw how our father, whose body was weakened by the cancer cells, got lifted onto a gurney………

Pushed, toward the morgue………

Outside of the ICU, the doctor handed me several forms, said, my father was actually kept alive by the machines, that they’d needed the agreements from the families, in order to pull the plug on him, I, being his eldest son, if I agree, then, I should sign on the forms, later on, the medical staff would unplug him, and, allow his heart to stop on its own.

All of a sudden, I felt this heaviness on the pen that I was holding, it’d become, as heavy as a steel blade………

Like the judges of the ancient times, I’d imagined, that if I’d pushed the pen across the “verdict”, and, immediately, I will hear the sounds of sharpened cries from all around.

Every word I’d spoken to the medical staff was like coughing up blood for me, I’d pleaded to the paramedics: to up the dosage, but don’t do CPR on him, I feared, that his ribs may get broken, and my father who can’t speak anymore would have to weather through even more pains.

That was, passed the autumn season, into the winter of 2013.  The Northern Hemisphere was either covered with yellowed leaves, or covered in the first layers of snow.

On an afternoon in the bottom of November, I’d gotten an emergency call from overseas from my younger sister, said that my father’s heart had stopped in his sleep, and the nurses asked her if she wanted to keep him alive

Considering that she’d wanted me to see my father again, she’d signed the papers to resuscitate, which was very difficult for her to make.

And just like so, my father’s heart resumed beating again……

And, I’d immediately bought a non-transfer flight back to Taipei that very night, with the mindset of how the world is covered with the first layer of snow…

Knowing that that was, the last time I’d touched my father’s body, I’d known, that there was still, an old soul, hanging on, because he’d miss us, and I just wanted to feel the last heat from that soul, to this body, because, the snow had gotten thicker, and heavier!

My father had been troubled by gout for a very long time, from the year before, when he was diagnosed with fourth stage lung cancer, his gout came over, back then, there were stones, growing inside of the joints of both his hands, I’d rushed back to visit with him, other than eating his meals, he’d spent his entire days in bed.

Recalling once, as my father sat up, to change into clean underwear, he couldn’t lift his arms up, so the clothes could fit onto him, he’d sighed, “There’s nothing I can do.”

As I’d helped him, I’d consoled with him, “You’re no longer young anymore, dad!”

Actually, I felt very fake, my father’s getting weakened, was the result of the attacks of his cancer cells and his gout combined!

If taking away the cancer and the gout, my father is pretty healthy, he’s already eighty years old, and was still reporting the news for the Hakka magazines, I saw him several times, with a camera in front of him, with a notebook in hand, riding to the place where he was interviewing someone, looked like he was really enjoying himself, and, his son who works in the reporting industry, I just couldn’t say anything, he’d told me proudly several times, “my reporting abilities don’t pale by comparison to you, younger generations at all.”

I’d smiled and nodded, “You get better with time!”

He’d smiled, and gloated even more, “Must have been all the running on the courts when I was younger!”

At the start of this year, my gout started, the doctor saw how my right elbow swelled up like a volleyball, he’d managed to drain a lot of yellow fluid from my joints, and found that my white blood count was over, worried I might be infected, and didn’t know if I had a bone fracture, so, he’d done a complete CT scan on me.

And, it was, a white elderly person who was in front of me.

Because I only had to get my one arm scanned, it was over very quickly.

As I came out, I saw the white elderly man lying in the bed, waiting for the staff to finish filling out his forms, then push him back to his room.  I’d needed to wait for my results from the CT scan, and so, I sat down next to him, and struck up a conversation with him.

I’d asked him, what he had?

“Cancer of the larynx!”, he’d replied in a light voice

“Oh!”, I’d become stumped, didn’t DARE ask him for the stage.

Then, I’d asked him, “How old are you?”

“Eighty-one.”

“Are you scared?”, I thought, at his age, he’s probably not afraid of dying.

“Yes!”, his voice was shaking, which shocked me, “I love life very much, I fear leaving those I love behind.  If cancer is only painful to me, and I won’t die from it, then, I’m more than willing to put up with it, because, I love this world way too much, I can’t let go of my loved ones, those whom I love and love me.”

A very good friend of mine, fell ill, and started going in and out of the hospitals a lot.

The very first night he was admitted, his heartrate and pulse had stopped, for over twenty minutes, and was found by the orderly who was checking the rooms, they’d performed emergency resuscitation on him, and he didn’t die.

That day, I’d gone to the hospital to visit with him, and we’d held a very lighthearted conversation.

I was very curious of the time his heart had stopped for around half an hour, I’d asked him, if he’d had the near-death experiences like in the movies, seeing how his life flashed before his eyes, how his deceased loved ones smiled at him, and a lighted path………

He shook his head, smiled and told me, “It was like I was in a deep sleep, no feelings at all.  When I woke up, I saw the doctors and my wife by my side.”

“So, that was, a sort of an outer body experience?”

He’d nodded:

I know, that if I’d died, I will bring so much pains to my loved ones.  But, in that condition, it’s just, no joy, no sorrow, no ecstasies, no worries……then………life, had finished, one more cycle.

My father’s body and his coffin were, pushed in, and we stood outside the walls, hearing the fires roar, like hearing the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, silently, stared at the black smoke outside the chimney, coming out, rushing, toward the skies.

I saw, my father, smiling at us, through the rising of the smokes, it though……

And, it was like, I didn’t, see anything, at all!

And so, this, is someone’s final passage of life, to the moment that he’d died, and, the families are still the ones, left with the pieces to pick up.

Leave a comment

Filed under Awareness, Family Matters, Life, Loss, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Properties of Life

Her Life in Picture

On her funeral, her families and friends put together a slide show of her life in pictures, kinda like the ones played at those weddings???

It’d started out with her as an infant, her first step, her first word, so many firsts, to be recalled.  Her life had been a run-on, like the sentence?  She just, kept going, going, going, ‘til she’s finally gone, and, the story of her life, it’d played on, like a projector that’s broken, it just, looped around, endlessly, guess that, would be how her life was, huh?

Her life in pictures, there were ups, and downs, and, a whole lotta in-betweens, and, none of that mattered now, she’s gone, and, she’d managed to change so many lives, and, brightened up people’s lives with her mere presence, and, although she was real young when she’d passed away, nobody can disagree, that in her short life, she’d made the most of her time here.

Her life in pictures, but how?  How can someone’s life, be reduced to a few pictures?  After all, a person is changing, growing, every single day, and, there’s NO way possible, that anybody can manage to capture every single breath the someone takes………

Leave a comment

Filed under Cost of Living, Despair, Loss, On Death & Dying, Properties of Life, Story-Telling

The Face I Will NEVER See Again, on Losing Someone You Loved

Translated…

That Friday, I knew, I will never, see that face again.

I was raised, by my maternal grandmother, when my younger brother was born, my mother dropped me off at my grandma’s, recalling how steep the stairs to the second floor was, how my grandmother would carry me on her back up and down, and I’d never forgotten how warm, her back felt, against my chest, and, maybe, it’s because of this, I’d felt this especially close attachment to my maternal grandmother, every single thing that troubled me, I’d tell her about it.

My grandmother was slimly built, her skin had lost its elasticity, but, her eyes still shone brightly, it’s, as if, a young girl lives inside of her, ready to come out, at any moment, filled her with energy.  Every time I’d told her about my troubles, she would, slap my hands, told me, “Everything is bound to work out.”, this line, and her eyes, had given me the courage I’d needed in times.

With that sort of bright eyes, I thought, that my grandmother could live to a hundred, but, I was, wrong.

What crushed grandma was a serious illness, it came too fast, too hard.

As everybody was gathering in the hospital ward, discussing the treatment options, my grandmother who lay there, on the bed became especially thin and frail, with that emptiness in her eyes; I’d gone up to her, held on to her, and cried, but, my grandmother blinked, and, it’s, as if, that young adolescent girl started, dancing once more, in her eyes, and her face became filled with life once more.

“Don’t cry, you’re a boy, or, grandma will laugh at you, grandma’s just a bit tired is all.”, she’d slapped my hand, smiled, told me, “Everything will work out.”, the next day when I woke up, I went to go wake grandma up, and those eyes, they, never, opened back up again.

I didn’t ring for the doctor or the nurses, just, stared, at that face, with the jumpiness of a teenage girl, and then, there were, a few drops of water on her face; as I’d reached my hand to wipe it away, I’d realized, that the water, it came, from my own eyes, drip, drip, drip, the tears started falling down like rain, I couldn’t stop it, I didn’t want it to stop either.

“Everything will work itself out,” my grandma’s voice, seemed to ring in my ears, but, she’s a LIAR, I’d started crying, too hard that I couldn’t stand back up again.  There will, NEVER, be a way again.

And so, this, is how a boy, grieved for the loss of his own grandmother, and, because he was, raised by her, that, was why her death hit him, especially hard.

3 Comments

Filed under Despair, Family Matters, Lessons, Life, Loss, On Death & Dying, Socialization