Category Archives: the Finality of Life

Dying without Illness

A wish, so simple, and yet, not always, a given, the wish of aging, dying without, any troubles here, translated…

As we age, we’d bumped into those whom we hadn’t seen in a long while in the waiting rooms of the hospitals, and after the hellos, and greetings, “I’m here for my cataracts”, “here for my teeth implants”, then, waving to one another, one going the left, the other, turned right, no need for the chit chats, besides, we may meet back up on another occasion soon.

In the physical therapy unit, right on time, those who knew one another sat next to each other, no surprises, a gentle and light, “hey, you’re here too!”  You have the bone spurs on the cervical spinal column, I had a slipped disc on my lumbar vertebrates, we’re, on the same boat here.  This sort of a serendipitous meeting, we must be connected, from over five hundred years ago I suppose.

Someone once set up the needs of the various ages in simple words: in the teens, we take in the intelligence, by the twenties, we look at the degrees, thirties, the abilities, forties, experiences, fifties, finance, sixties, agility, seventies, your medical records, eighties, the lunar calendars……………it’s easy for modern day people to live into the super elderly years, and by age eighty we still don’t need to read the lunar calendars yet, and yet, there were those who had yet to become elderly, but with the medical records stacked to sky high, and can collect all the records, into a volume of master thesis or doctoral dissertations, and, there wouldn’t be the doubts of plagiarism.

illustration from UDN.com

I’d gathered with my coworkers who’d been retired, because we’d not seen each other, it’d felt like a lifetime ago, I’d wanted to tell them of my troubles of my nerve endings feeling suppressed, Trees who sat opposite couldn’t wait to show me that scar on his scalp.  He’d been going in and out of the hospitals for dialysis for sixteen years to date, the hospitals became a home away from home for him, yet, the bacteria got inside his brains, and he’d had an open skull surgery as an emergency operations, lay in the hospitals for a very long time, he’d, written ten, twenty articles on FB then, showed that the brains were opened up, then, sewn back together, to prove that he could still, think well.

Before I could feel surprised, Shih-Yi close by lifted up his shirt, showed us the scar on his belly.  Told us, that one day as he was walking on the streets, he’d felt the sharp pains of daggers in his heart, then felt that something wasn’t right, immediately called up an ambulance, “I had the aortic dissection, the most dangerous kind”, the cardiologist told, that had I been a split second coming in, I would’ve been a goner for sure.  They’d started describing what they’d gone through, of how they’d, almost, died, and it’d, shocked and thrilled us all, comparing, my problem turned out to be, no-big-deal.

One day, my friend came to visit me, she’d looked, lost, “he’d been bedridden for many a year, is gone now, and I’m, all alone.”, she’d sighed sorrowfully toward the air in the room.  She’d taken care of her husband wholeheartedly, and now, she’d fulfilled her duties, and should be relieved, but instead, she’d, felt, loss.  “the first to leave wins, I took care of him until he’d died, and who’s going to look after me when I fall ill?”, both her parents passed from cancer, she was high-risk for it too, and that’s why she’d felt, uneasy.

The machine’s been used for decades on end, even if we go for our regular tune-ups, there’s still no way of keeping it perfect, besides, it’s the flesh and bones we’re, talking about.  Nobody can escape death, and death is like lights getting turned off, but, everybody seemed to be fearful of illness when they are to die, my friend’s seeing her husband being bedridden for long, and felt even deeper over this, growing older, falling ill, and then, dying, if we can skip past the ill part, then, wouldn’t that be, great.  Looking back: in my twenties, I wanted to look pretty, by thirty, I’d felt, young, by forty, good if I am working in a government office, by fifty, money is good, sixty, leisure’s nice, by seventy, no illnesses, amazing!  By eighty, it’s great to be alive……………this is, right ON!  In the hundred years we would be given, it’s a dream, the wealth, the statuses, became, nothing meaningful, if we don’t get overcome with illness, if we don’t have any worries on the mind and the heart, that’s the life, of Gods.

And so, this is the understanding you’d come to, now that, you’re, elderly, you’re realized, that all that you’d been pursuing, isn’t as important as being health, and this is only a simple wish, and yet, not many of us get to have it, because we did NOT take care of our bodies when we were younger, thinking that, oh, I will age gracefully just the same, but we won’t, the taking care of our systems, needs to start when we were, young.

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Filed under Aging Gracefully, Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

The Juliet Who Walked into, That, River

The memories, of how you’d, saved a student from committing suicide, of how she’d, thanked you, by sending you that, package to let you know, that she is now, okay…translated…

On the eve of Confucius’s birthday, I’d recalled something that’s, happened from the past.

I’m a psychiatrist in practice, and worked with the Department of Education, the school instructors, made the lectures of suicide preventing to the instructors in the elementary and middle school levels.  One evening a little more than a decade ago, I’d gone to a middle school by the river in the south of the city to visit.  Recalled that that evening, the seminar held in the evenings was very, welcoming, in the time, I’d had the seventy to eighty instructors in the audience to split themselves into groups of three, sharing within the groups, their encounters of their students’ having mutilated themselves, or suicide attempts, or having lost a student to suicide.

During the break, an experienced female instructor came and told me a story.  This almost retired Chinese instructor told me, that she had taught a girl.  To help her students feel motivated in learning, she’d assigned the play of “Romeo & Juliet” in her Chinese language courses, for the students to fight for the roles that they wanted to play.  As it came time to select the Juliet, normally, it would be the prettiest girl in the class who raised up her hand, but it wasn’t.

Although, she was, hesitant, she’d still, let the girl play the role, as that female student had, wished to play the role of, Juliet.

As the play successfully got finished, this event, got lost, in the busyness of the semester, didn’t leave a single, ripple, it seemed.  What caused the waves, was that winter, on a day too cold.  One day after class, this girl whom nobody noticed, walked out of the school.  Nobody paid any attention, that she’d, walked over the embankment, and, into, the, river.

And maybe, it was, how cold it was on the day.  Or maybe, it’s the person who’d wanted to commit suicide being, hesitant (The to be or not to be), this adolescent finally, made her way, back up the shores, entered back into the school, and, the school officials found her completely wet (maybe, frozen too!).  The thrilled instructors ushered her to the principal’s office, not known what they should, say to her.

illustration from UDN.com

This Chinese instructor recalled, as she was called to the principal’s office, she’d, learned that this young girl had, attempted suicide.  “I wasn’t her homeroom instructor, had no idea of her background, and her situation.  But this kid told the principal, that she wanted, to, see me.”  And yet, being young, the instructor felt anxious then, not known how to counsel a student who’d, just, almost entered into the gates of, hell.

The moment the instructor was forced to walk into the principal’s office, she’d had a thought, pretended that she’d not know what had just happened, as she saw the child, with the fallen leaves stuck on her waist and areas below, she’d, rushed up to her, exclaimed, “My Juliet!  What happened to you?”, and hugged the girl, really tight.

Time flew quickly, as the graduating class graduated, life fast-forwarded close to a full decade’s time.  She’d also, forgotten about this, particular, student, until one day, in school, she’d received a package from that young woman.

Inside it, what would, she find?

She was surprised, and, uneasy, slowly, opening up the package.  There were, the copies of pages of paper.  It was from the girl’s middle school, technical high school, community college, the certifications she’d earned, the awards certificates, and the diplomas.

That evening, in the middle school south of down, that instructor slowly told of the story of then, and hoped, that in the future, in my suicide prevention seminars, she could, share the story she’d, told me.  The instructor looked very, peaceful, but I was, really moved inside.

Actually, in the hundreds of seminars for the past decade or so, I’d not mentioned this story often.  Or maybe, I have, yet to get over the shock it’d, left me, as I’d told this story to the audience, everything stopped whispering, and there was NO sound, and I saw some instructors, secretly, wiping away their, tears.

Confucius birthday comes every year, but I keep on thinking, what, better gift there was, than this, package, on this, day, to celebrate, the teachers?

And so, this is, the huge difference that, a school teacher’s care toward a student can have on the student’s life, this instructor’s hug of the student, helped her turn her own life around, and it’d helped her gain the strengths to keep on going in her life, and the student gave the best present back to the instructor who’d helped her, by sending the package of all of her, important milestone markers, to let the instructor know, that she’s, okay now.

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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Awareness, Life, Problems of the Teenage Years, Properties of Life, Stories of Hope, The Education of Children, the Finality of Life, The Teenage Years, Turning One's Life Around, Values, Wake Up Calls, White Picket Fence

The Worth of Illness

Lessons in dying, what these terminal illnesses, teaches us about time, about love, and, about, life too, translated…

There were, the swellings on my grandfather’s tongue that popped up, they’d, spread and grown very quickly.

My ninety-eight-year-old grandfather and ninety-three year-old grandmother decided, that so long when it’d not hurt, then, they wouldn’t go to the hospitals to get checked out.  A very long time ago, they’d, signed the “Do-Not-Resuscitate” orders, hoping, that toward the end of their lives, they can, continue to stay as comfortable as they possibly can, and so, this time, as the unknown lump came, everybody knew, that it was, the angels, calling their names.

“Dad, younger brother and I will take care of mom, there are your parents, and your younger brother who’d died before in the living room, waiting for you, you should feel happy, that you’re, seeing them, soon.”  My seventy-three-year-old mother patted my grandfather, with his hair all white.  My grandfather’s originally black head of hair turned white overnight, as my uncle died of illness.  At that time, he was younger than my mother is right now, he’d done everything himself, playing the sports, keeping up with his vegetable garden, raising the chickens too, at thirty-nine, my youngest uncle, due to his improper diet, died too young.  And, as he’d lain in my grandmother’s arms as he’d swallowed his final breath, my grandfather sat in that darkened corner of the living room by himself, and, the next morn, his hair became, all white.

giving us the chance, the opportunity, to say goodbye to the ones we love

photo from online

My grandfather’s life had been rough, he grew up in poverty, sent to Okinawa to work the fields; and, as he was at the marrying age, because of his poverty-stricken means, he’d, married into my grandmother’s family, until his midlife, to old age, he’d finally, found the most peaceful years of his life, he’d played croquet and written calligraphy, eaten the meals with us often, and, loved to stay under his temperature-stable quilt and watch the shows in his bedroom.  They are, the only couple who’d been married over seventy years, who are still able to live on their own, and take care of themselves, the model elderly.

As he’d found that lump on his tongue, my grandfather slowly adjusted his mindset, in the means of the pains being bearable to him, other than taking his medications, and eating the foods that don’t require too much chewing, he’d lived like his old self: cleaning, collecting the items around the house, taking out the trash, slowly reducing the clutters in his home, slowly, ridding himself of the materials that are excess in his life, and we, the younger generations slowly, accepted the fact that he has, cancer too.

If there’s life, there will be, death, but, as we were younger, we hadn’t comprehended the meaning of it yet, and, there’s the aging, growing old, the illnesses, that are, used to remind us, that life is a journey with an, end.  And yet, the advances in medicine had made “old” into an extension of our births, with a ton of possibilities, to the point that we don’t realize, that the angels are, close by, with the periods all around us, and so, the only thing that reminded us of our, limits are, the “illnesses”.

“Illnesses” are the gently gifts from God, He’d reminded us, that our lives will be, over one day, but it’d not, shoved us off the trains of life we’re on immediately; it’d given the limited amount of time to us, so we can, set up our final passages, to cry, so we can, head on, towards our next, stop.

“Illness” made those around the person who has it have the time to grieve through it all.  As the moment of the angels, pushing through that door came, you would NOT see the messy room, or the shock from not yet ready to bid the ones we love farewell; what the angels would see, would be the room, with the light shining in, the tears of those “guests” who’d, come to, say goodbye.

“Illness” helped us gain the time to get ready for death, it’d given us time to ready ourselves, to change tracks into the next passage; it’d made us humbled over our limits, and we’re, fulfilled, in this, limit of time that we’re, given.

And so, this is the lessons that death teaches us, that we all, have our termination point, that it’s just, a matter of time, that we all, die, but how we choose to say goodbye to each other, that’s, what’s important, and how not to leave any inkling of regret behind, for the ones we loved, is a lesson that we all, must learn.

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

Fresh Flowers on His Grave

Fresh flowers on his graves, but, it wasn’t, from her, she’d not “visited” him, she’d been, ill herself!

So, who put those flowers there, huh?  She became, curious.

Fresh flowers on his grave, perhaps, she imagined, those little birdies collected the flowers, made them into a ring, and, dropped it here for him (like in those, Disney Princess stories???)…

like this…

photo from online

Fresh flowers on his grave, she’d started wondering, who else do they know, who’d, do such a thing, and she can’t think of anyone, and, she’d let her imagination get the better of her: maybe, he’d had an affair without my knowledge, and the flowers were from, her?  No, not likely, he’d come home, every night, smelling like the factory, no scent of perfume, she’d recalled.

Fresh flowers on his grave, I’d gone to visit him, to give him the updates of my goings on, and, I’d, kissed my hand, and, put my hand down on his headstone, to pass that kiss to him from my hand.

After placing that fresh bundle of flower, I’d, picked up the old ones, and tell his headstone, I’ll, see you, in two week………

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Filed under Because of Love, Life, Loss, Memories Shared, Observations, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

How Does Democratic Ruling Nations See the Monarchy?  From “God Bless Our King” to the Frequent Visitor of the Entertainment Sections of the Papers

The changes to how the country will run, as Queen Elizabeth passed away, off of the Front Page Sections, translated…

On the subject of “how the younger generations viewed the monarchy?”

I was there to witness the deaths of the Thai Emperor, and the Japanese Emperor, with the rising of technologies, and the biospheres of the media on the rise, changing fast, the inner workings of the monarchies are often, spread open under the spotlight, to the point of getting on the entertainment sections too.  In the past, people could NEVER get the chance t prod into the lives of the monarchs like so, and even now, we still can’t get an up close and personal view of what’s happening in the offices of the presidents; but because of this, Queen Elizabeth II became ordinary in her people’s minds, especially in the high-tech era, with everybody owning a cell phone, even if it was the monarchs, a stumble and fall, in a few short minutes’ time, the photos would go viral to the rest of the world.  Queen Elizabeth’s image of being close to her people, softened the younger generations of the post-democratic era’s understanding about the monarchies, to keep them or to, get rid of the monarchies for once and for all.

But, the royals are, prestigious, not like ordinary citizens; from the observations of history, during Elizabeth II’s reign as queen, it’s the era of the Great Britain’s losing its powers the most.

The Great Britain has a huge territory, it’s been called the “empire where the sun never sets”, but since India gained its independence for Great Britain, Great Britain had been losing territories, and now, although, it’s still a member country of G7, but, the effects it’d exerted reduced since it’d made its exit from the European Union system.  And, how do the people of this dying monarchy continue to respect the symbolic queen?

It’s a grand discussion about democracy and monarchy, the few days that come, the English media will zoom in on when Meghan Markle will due back at the palace to pay her final respect, what she will wear.  After the writer, Bryson visited Great Britain, he’d written, “Notes from a Small Island”, but, is Great Britain tiny?  The final passages of his book, he’d written: as the historians looked back, Great Britain is an enigma, this country once fought and won the noble wars, and used a gentle way, dissolved an empire, then, used the rest of the time it had, sighed on how it’d, lost everything that it once, had……………

As Queen Elizabeth II’s son in his seventies take her place, will he soon pass the post of king to his own son, Prince William, or does he have another arrangement?  That crown seemed to have, lost, its, importance now.  What the rest of the world sees, the queen, is her nature of a good woman, how she’s a role model that ruled the country.

And so, with the DEATH of Queen Elizabeth, Great Britain is now, in a state of uncertainty, after all, she’d, ruled the nation with her graceful ways, and now, Great Britain is faced with the challenges of modernization, the monarchy’s losing power…

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Filed under Interactions Shared with the World, Observations, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

Escorted Home by the Police, She’d Started Waving a Knife in Front of Her Parents, Attacked the Officers Who was Escorting Her, Stabbed Herself in the Chest, and Died

A history of mental illness, and this last meltdown of hers, became her, last!  The police dealing with dangerous work environment every single day, having to protect themselves, and the people whom they’re trying to arrest too, their works are, hard enough already…off of the Newspapers, translated…

Early yesterday morning, a woman, Chang lost emotional control, started screaming at the MRT stations the Datong Substation sent two officers locally to escort her home, but Chang waved a knife at them, disregarded how her parents were present, and close by, injured the officer, Chen; twelve more officers were called and arrived, and they’d used pepper spray to subdue her, then, Chang took the knife, and stabbed herself in the chest repeatedly, was rushed to the hospital, and died.  The officer, Chen sustained two stab wounds, is in the hospital for observations.  The police are now currently checking if there are any mistakes in the process of answering the calls for help.

The Datong Substation stated, that the officers worried over Chang, and offered to escort her home, but they were, attacked; currently, the officer, Chen is taken to the hospital to get treated, then they will, evaluate over the standard operating procedures, and reminded all officers on duty to pay more heed to one’s own, personal, safety.

The police investigated, that yesterday at midnight, Chang was screaming and yelling outside of the MRT Shuanglien Station, the station attendants called the police; the two officers rushed over, Chang was more stable then, and they’d found, that she was a “frequent customer” of the local substations, there were no priors of assault, or hurting someone else, they’d contacted Chang’s parents, at around twenty minutes past midnight, they’d escorted Chang home.

At the time, it was her father who’d opened the doors, and with his wife, they’d tried calming Chang down, but she was still, very, emotional, about ten minutes later, she got into the kitchen, pulled out a fruit knife, started waving the knife around, the officer, Chen was close by, he picked up the pillow from the couch, to defend himself, and demanded that she drop the knife, and the woman lost it, started stabbing at Chen’s left thorax, and left shoulders, Chen had two stab wounds, and immediately, backed out of the room, called for help.  Another officer was standing outside the door, Chen chased after him, and thankfully, she only got the officer’s wallet that was inside his shirt pocket on top.

Twelve officers arrived soon afterwards, hollered for Chang to drop her knife and let them arrest her, she’d refused, both her parents didn’t dare approach her either, the officers used pepper spray to try to subdue her, the, she’d used the knife, and started, stabbing herself in the chest repeatedly, and because she’d cut a major artery, she’d died, the injured officer, Chen isn’t in life-threatening conditions, is currently in the hospital for observations.

The polices stated, in situations like these, the escorting of individuals to the hospital, needed to fit the requirements of having a mental disorder formally diagnosed, or the individual is evaluated by the related units, that there are the dangers on oneself and/or others, and as the local offices of sanitations made the calls, then, the fire department sent out the ambulance, to force the person into the hospitals.  Although Chang’s families called the cops from before, but she’d never, hurt anyone, the officers didn’t keep their guards up, and she’d attacked the officer with a knife, and, attacked herself.

The senior police officers told, that in these imminent situations, pulling out a gun doesn’t necessary work, besides, they were in a residential apartment, the space is small, which runs the risk of the ricochet of the bullets, that it wouldn’t be fitting to fire; the officers, in order to keep themselves safe, needed to have that sense of alertness, and sense of danger, to prevent anything that can, possibly, go wrong.

And so, this woman was emotional and out of control, and she tried to stab the officer who came to take her to the hospital, and, she’d injured the officer, and killed herself.

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Filed under Life, Mental Health Issues, Observations, Perspectives, the Finality of Life, White Picket Fence

That Final Song We’d Sung Together

Saying goodbye to her father, as he’d passed away, translated…

Because my father’s Alzheimer’s and losing control of his bodily functions, during his final passage of life, he was, placed in a home, the week before he was placed, due to his delusions, he’d become, agitated, and to help him feel more at ease, I’d sat by his bed, started finding the oldies to play to him, and, I’d played his favorite, “The Ghosts of Those Old Dreams”: “the flowers fell the water flowed/Gone was the springtime/Only the Eastern Breezes that Remained/the Seasons of Bloom/the Dewdrops on the Trees/Right at the Time where Those Words of Love Got Exchanged…………”

The lyrics then, simple and elegant.  I’d guided my father along in song, and pop became calmer, his eyes started glowing brighter, we’d sung that final line, “Last Night, the Dreams Came, and, Didn’t, Go Away……”

I’d asked him, who sung this song?  He’d replied, I know, it’s, Guan Pai.  I’d asked again, then, who am I?  He replied, “you’re my baby girl, why wouldn’t I know that?”

The facility went with the regulations of disease control means, placed the restrictions on the visitations of the family members, and every time I’d gone to visit him, I’d felt like he was like that hourglass, with the grains of sands, falling away.  And slowly, he’d gotten to the point that he no longer, recognized me.  After he’d left home that final time, pops never came back.  Eight months ago, he already became free from his illnesses, and can soar up high, I’m certain, that he’s in a, better, place now.

This year on Father’s Day, I’m without a father, it’d made me miss him even more; how glad I am, that in the shared tracks of memories with dad, there was, that song that belonged solely to, the two of us, father and daughter, and, it’s ever the more meaningful to me.  Wiping away my tears, I’d told myself, dad must want me to feel well, and, so, whenever I missed him in the future, I shall just hum this song, “The Ghosts of Those Old Dreams”.

And so, this is on living and dying, how we all will have to, say goodbye to the ones we love so dearly, because everybody dies, and, it’s just whether or not we are ready to part with those whom we loved dear when the time comes or not.

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

On the Way to the Library

What this walk around the school brought you, understanding of life, wisdom, and a bit of the scents of, letting go, even???  Translated…

It was the springtime when the outbreaks started back up again, the stage three alert that’s taken over this city made everything quiet, and slower paced.  The dormitory that’s been listed as a cultural asset, fell silent, after the rain underneath the blue skies as well; after all, it’s a place you really wanted to go, you’d felt lighter in your, steps then.  Based off of the beliefs of the experts, “walking is the best form of defense against contraction”, as the alerts of the outbreak came on again, you’d come to the campus of this school to walk, using your status of an alumnus to enter the school’s libraries.

At that time, the tracks of the contracted gained widespread attention, seeing the messages of the groups of LINE: “I’d researched the tracks of the contracted, found, that none went to the bookstores, the libraries………so, the safest place during this outbreak is places with the books………”, I can’t help but grinned, am I glad, that these are, my most frequent hangouts?  Nope, but, being stuck in the boredoms of the outbreaks, I had, needed, that good laugh!  Borges stated, “I’d always imagined heaven to be some sort of a large library”, for you, heading into the libraries, it’s a temporary escape out of the nitty-gritties of the kitchen, the household chores that bogged you down, giving you that time alone you loved to enjoy on your own the most.

Resting in the libraries, you’d hoped to call out the various times, becoming someone else, it’s a sort of a cross between reality and fantasy.  The trees green after the rain, glowed that fresh new green of leaves, suddenly, Virginia Woolf’s word came, “the women needed the escort or the recommendation letters from the college researcher to enter into the libraries”, that was written back in 1920, showed of how sexist the British society was back then, today, it seemed, funny, and odd, but you’d, examined your own passages of growth, noted the tracks that remained on your life from the patriarchy too.  Here, you’d once, bumped into a group of outstanding young ladies, helping each other grow, in the enlightenment of learning, so youthful, the students mostly came to study here, due to their families’ expectations, “there will be fitting jobs for women after you graduate”, was the persuasions for you all.  Thirty years came and went quickly, once you were so obedient, so passively in accepting whatever handed to you, and now, do you, love yourselves, a little, more than those who came before?

illustration from UDN.com

My dear, as you say your prayers, who do you pray for first?  The freedom of thought in age, already returned our own brains back to us, but, in the unawareness, our spirits, still got bound by the social roles, the labels.  You’d walked up those heavy steps, the mirror in the grand hall was the first thing you saw, like it was the first time you ever saw it, but, that reflection, reminded you of just how hard time had left its tracks on you.  The gentle breezes brought the fresh scent of the grasses, before the ladies’ dorms, the yearly bloom of the gardenias, familiar, yet, quite, distant, the dreamy color of the eggs, felt distant, and like a dream to you, and, you were reminded of that older schoolmate who ws kind, and warm, she’d, stayed in her marriage, guarded by the laws, in actuality, she was left alone in a marriage with that cheating husband, raised up her children alone on her own, in the decades of time, the malignant tumor started taking over her, and, spread through the seasons, as she’d found the tumors last spring, in a few short months, she’d, gone, and you couldn’t say your proper farewell to her in the outbreaks.

The times pushed you forward, the gardenias covered in raindrops stay scented.  The days shadowed over by the outbreaks, how much the world had, changed, in the tempo and rhythm of nature, you can still find back that constant, that, calm, and so as you’d hummed “To Oneself at Fifty”: “We shall keep on trekking, keeping moving forward…………hearing those sounds that had been, etched deep in our, hearts………”, you’d found, that even with the mask on, tears falling down, you can still, smile, there are still something worth you expecting, something joyous in being, alive.

And so, this, is on the passages of our lives, we are all hit hard by the outbreaks, with the different lifepaths we travel on our own, and, some of us may have it easy, some, hard, but that’s just how life is, everybody is different, and yet, we’re, all the same.

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Filed under Connections, Life, Lives Lost, Loss, Observations, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

Those Who Were Left by the Suicides of Their Loved Ones, Offering the Prayers, & the Blessings

On suicide, the families left behind, and how they can, start to heal, after sorting out the reasons of why they’d lost their loved ones to suicide, off of the Front Page Sections, translated…

The suicide of the famous person caused media attention, but this is just, the ripples from the classic and ordinary suicide in the society, people wanted to know “why?”, hoping to have an answer for the events that had, occurred.  For instance, the online community commented that if the families stayed by the side of the individual, then, maybe, it could be, prevented, or the discussions of how we can, accompany those with love who had been diagnosed with depression, how do we get them to therapy, to get them to take their medications?  Could the suicide have been prevented, if we’d managed the symptoms of depression well enough?

All of these beliefs, aimed at some sort of psychological control of what we couldn’t have controls over, through the linear cause and effect, B caused A, if we take B away, then, A wouldn’t, happen, and it seemed, that we would be, in control, and we get that sense of, security in our minds then.

In truth, there’s no direct and simple cause of suicides, only the multiple risk factors, and the protective factors, with a higher number of risk factors, then, the chances of suicide increase greatly, like major psychological illnesses, alcoholism, substance abuse, despair of impulsivity, unemployment or loss of assets, and how the act of seeking help is mislabeled; the protective factors, on the other hand, can help lower the risks of suicide, like getting into treatment physically or psychologically, the support of the families, the society, faith, etc., etc., etc.  And yet, no matter how hard we tried to prevent, suicides still happen, and it would have an everlasting effect on those who were left behind, the “remaining population” of the suicides.

And, we often think of the families of the individuals who’d committed suicide, but, there’s a wider spectrum of those who were affected, including those who bore witness to the suicide, the friends, relatives, classmates, coworkers, neighbors, the medical professionals who took care of the individuals who’d died.  For instance, I’d once heard the survived of suicide individuals shared, that as the therapist of the individual who’d committed suicide had been notified, the therapist was shocked, “how can this be, the last two times I saw her/him, s/he was okay”, and this showed, how shocked and how the therapist couldn’t accept the death of the patient.  And, the past researches showed, that as the media overreported on the events, it may cause the modeling effect.  Those who learned of the suicide first hand or by word of mouth, who are directly or indirectly affected by the events, are all the more generalized “survivors of suicides”.

The trauma reaction to the news of suicides, the memories with the individuals who’d committed suicide, the support and interactions of the individual with their loved ones, reviewing over ones’ own life experiences, etc., etc., etc., all of these may be the experiences of the survivors of suicides.  And, anybody who’d been affected by a suicide can do the following to care for oneself:

First, find someone who will listen and accompany you, to tell the individual about how the suicide impacted you, how it’d made you feel.  As a therapist, I’d reminded the families who are survived to find someone who listens, who can accept all the reactions to the griefs, to the losses, someone who won’t jump in to give the advices too soon.

Secondly, the survivors can get involved into the groups relating to the survivors of suicides, for instance, the Care Foundation for the Survivors of Suicide, finding the FB of this particular association, you can get the needed resources (for instance, the video files, the illustrated books/articles on the matter), there are also opportunities to be with those who’d experienced the loss from a suicide of a loved ones, to seek out the emotional and social support of a shared experience.

Third, the survivors can also consider therapy, the therapists will try and help the individuals to find the means that works for the persons singly, to cope with the enormous losses of your lives.

Finally, in the clinical work we are doing, through the creations of various means, or giving to others, it helps the survivors find the meanings, for instance, writing or art, gardening, or immersing oneself into the volunteer services, etc., etc., these are what the families of suicides mentioned had helped them out.  It’s not easy to reconstruct ourselves after we’d lost someone to suicide to death, but, it’s not impossible.  So, let’s use our own ways, to help send the prayers and the blessings to those who are left behind by their families, for those who’d weathered through the suicides of their loved ones.

And so, this is on helping those families who’d lost someone to suicide heal, and this is a very hard process to manage, because death is never easy, especially when someone you loved chose to take her/his own life, for whatever reasons there may be, and, you may wonder why, and get stuck, because you will never find the answer to why, because the only one who can answer that question had already gone, and, you will have to, pull yourself out of that deep dark hole, but with the help of the support groups mentioned, or the therapy sessions, you can, walk out of this.

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Letting Go, the HARDEST, Decision

On difficult decisions of terminal care, because it’s hard, and we will all have to face something like this at one time in our lives or another, maybe with our own loved ones, maybe, when we get older ourselves…translated…

In This Process of “Letting Go”, it’s Next to Impossible for Those Who Aren’t in the Process to Know What Goodbye is Like………

The idiom of “long-term sickness brings NO good son”.  There’d been the news reports on this matter, and, most of the people after hearing, they’d only felt chilled, or, that it was only, matter-of-fact.  But in the medical realm, we watched the younger generations shouldered up the responsibilities of caring for their elders until the end; and yet, with the worsening of the elders’ conditions, the caretakers usually felt burned out, and started thinking of “letting go”.  And, in this process of letting go, the heavy heart of the love for ones’ next-of-kin, and the sense of responsibilities, nobody on the outside can understand.

Insomnia is the Norm

Mr. Chen is seventy-six, eight years ago, he’d started dialysis, because he was the C.E.O. of a company, even as on Wednesdays he was due for the procedures, he’d still gone to his office to make the rounds first, visiting his old clients regularly.

At the start of last year, he’d started feeling the lower back pains, at first, he thought it was sciatica, after he had an MRI, it was the granulomatous spondylitis, and even as the surgery helped alleviate the symptoms, but, because he was bedridden too long after the surgery, his an elder, and a dialysis patient too, losing his muscle mass had greatly reduced his physical activity levels, and in the end, he’d needed his family to help him get through the days of his normal living.

illustration from UDN.com

This authority in business, a C.E.O., suddenly became someone who can’t control his own body, a patient, Mr. Chen’s moods altered as well.  But, as his families considered placing him into a nursing home facility, Mrs. Chen decided to shoulder all of his care on other own.

As she’d come in to get her insomnia treated, I’d asked her, if her body could take it?  She’d said, she’s older, and as her husband hollered, she’d had to go to him quickly, surely, there was, enormous stress on her, in the past six months, she’d started feeling the strains.  But, thinking about “letting go” of her husband whom she’d stayed close to for half a century’s time, she couldn’t, accept that……………

Her First Words Were “I Want to Go Home”

Another elderly woman, Grandma Shih, who had kidney problems due to her diabetes who is a regular at my clinic, I’d been her physician for more than decades, I’d gotten to know her families well, knew that her offspring took care of her living needs daily, so her kidney function was quite stabilized.  Once I’d thought, that she will never need dialysis, but, her heart failed, and at the age of ninety-three, she’d entered the line of dialysis.

There would be the many situations in the elderly population after the dialysis especially, and, a more complex set of complications compared to the younger generations, for instance, infections from bacteria or virus, or, hemorrhages, it’d made her come in and out of the hospital many a time, she’d become, weakened, in the end, she’d relied on the feeding tubes, and I saw her son, with his eyes red, as he’d, fed the formula into his own mother’s feeding tubes, and I’d felt really bad, and, can’t believe, that Grandma Shih would need this sort of an end-of-life care for her.

As she choked on her own vomit that final time, Grandma Shih lost her vitals on the way to the hospitals, because the conditions were critical then, we’d immediately intubated her, although afterwards, the families held different opinions on intubation, but, at the moment, it was emergent.  Luckily, the elderly pulled through, and started breathing on her own, it’s just that as she was discharged from the hospitals, she’d become, bedridden, and her days and nights were, flipped, causing too much strain on her loved ones, as well as the nurse’s aide too.

Because of necessity, they’d found a facility that can perform the dialysis for her, placed the elderly woman in the home, so she could get the care she’d needed.  At first, as the son went to visit, Grandma Shih remained silent, and her eyes couldn’t focus; but after a week, she’d recalled her son’s name, and started stating, “I want to go home”.  And, this made her son started blaming himself for deciding to place his own mother in a nursing home facility.

In the final passage of her life, Grandma Shih continued staying in the nursing home facility.  Six months after she’d passed, her son told me, “Sometimes I’d regretted it, not known, if I’d done right by her or not”, even if they couldn’t watch over Grandma Shih around the clock—that seemingly easier option became, the road block he tried to cross over his whole life.

Those with the long-term illnesses, are the ones suffering, and, the primary caretakers around them are, too strained, it is a difficult choice, letting go, or not; if you’d chosen to not let go, you’d be straining yourself, and, you have to feel the pains and sufferings of the ones you love dearly; but as you’d selected to let go, you are filled with the unwillingness of letting them die, and this may cause you to regret it for the rest of your lives.

And so, there you have it, this is a difficult decision, that we will all face someday, maybe it’s with our own parents, or, when we get older ourselves, and, there’s still no right or wrong on this, and, that’s just, how life goes, sometimes, we’re, just forced to make these hard decisions for the ones we love dearly, because we don’t want them to suffer anymore, and sometimes, we choose to keep them alive, because we aren’t, ready, to say goodbye yet, and, by doing that, we’re, prolonging their, suffering.

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