Category Archives: the Finality of Life

Passing Through, on a Bamboo Raft, a Poem

On burying one’s own, offspring, translated…

A Bamboo Raft, Like a Red Lotus Passed Through

Vanished, into the Fog

“Affinities of Children, Thin Like the Foams on the Waterfront”

So True These Words

Watching the Sunset Light Withering in the West

Time Has No Place Here

Memories Can’t Hide

The Awareness, Electric Shocked

Who isn’t, Like that Small Raft

Drifting in-Between Life & Death

Listening to the Heaviness of the Repentance of Love & Lust

With the Broken Bridges, Severed Off Streams, the Dying Smokes

And so, this, is finally, coming to one’s senses about the finality of life, because you’d lost the ones you loved when they were too young, and you are, still living, you’d, needed to, cope with losing the ones you cared for, loved, your, own young…

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Filed under Awareness, Because of Love, Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Despair, Lessons, Letting Go, Life, Loss, On Death & Dying, Story-Telling, the Finality of Life, Translated Work, Values

Status

On death & dying, in the funeral home, translated…

On day, an Indonesian Woman Took Her Mother in, But, No Matter How We’d, Checked & Crosschecked the References from Taiwan, We Can’t See, that They are, Mother & Daughter………

That Column of “Spouse”, Left Blank

One day, the owner of a funeral home took an elderly person’s copy of identification, and left it on the desk at the office the moment he’d, walked in.

We looked at the identification, asked, “is the person, coming in soon?”

The owner said, “no, not the man, but his wife, she’s, almost, gone.”

I looked at the identification, there’s nothing on the spousal column, it’d been, left, blank, could it be, someone who’s, just like me, who’d imagined he had a wife, and, the air was, almost, out of, his air-filled dolls? As I thought, I’d, felt empathy, looking at that identification card, I’d felt, closer, and, it didn’t, look like that eyesore that it had become to me.

The owner looked at my face, knew that I wasn’t, thinking straight, said, “He’d been with a divorced woman a long time, they’re both, getting older, with no need to get married again, and, twenty years had, come and gone. Now, the woman is dying, and the man wanted to know, if you can, help take care of the final affairs?”

We’d first inquired, “are they, cohabiting partners?”

The man said, “nope, they are registered separately.”

Then, we’d inquired, “Would they need to set up separate wills?”

The owner shook his head, “They don’t have enough money for that!”

We’d sighed, “then, we can only, ask the social services to sort it all through”.

The owner smiled bitterly, “the elderly just thought, they’d been together so long, they should, help each other with one another’s, final affairs.”

illustration from UDN.com圖/Emily Chan

The woman who was, sweeping up the floors close by said, “Then…how about, marrying one another?”

The few of us were, lost in thought: one of them is in the eighties, and, the other one, about, to get, sent in here too, and, this marriage would be………

The owner smiled bitterly, “I’ll go and ask them.”

About a week later, the owner took an elder into the funeral home, to set the affairs up, the elderly took out his identification, it looked, familiar, I’d, flipped it over, there’s a name on the spouse column now, and the elderly said firmly, “I want to, check my wife in”.

This elderly looked like he was from the lower end of the socioeconomic statuses, leaving the final affairs to the social services, it would surely, help him save up on a lot, and, is, “status”, really, that important?

The Woman Who Wheeled My Mother in

One day, an Indonesian woman sent in her mother, but, we’d, read the paperwork, and just, couldn’t believe, that they were, mother, and daughter at all.

The woman said, back then, it was her aunt who’d, married to Taiwan first, so she could, come over here too, she’d, used some measures, and, managed to have the mother’s name become her aunt’s, and her birthmother, she’d, called her “aunt” instead.

Waited until she’d started living stably here, she’d, moved her mother over to Taiwan to live, and, within a few short months, her own mother tripped, fell, and died.

As I heard this story, although I felt bad for her, but, aunt is aunt is aunt is aunt, and, we’d, slashed the services for those from other countries, that only the blood relatives can be taken care of. We’d, told her the situations, as she’d heard, she’d, waved to us, said, “the cost is nothing, I want to know, can I, help her sort through her final affairs as her daughter?”

We’d thought a bit, consoled her, to go back to Indonesia to try to get the status changed, but, it’d been, a very long time since she’d, changed her information, and, the costs of the funeral would not be, something small.

She’d thought for a bit, and we could tell, she was, really, distraught.

In the end, other than registering her mother as her “aunt” and her being the “niece” of the deceased, she’d, used their real status, but, as the funeral processions happened, she’d started, wailing in front of her own mother’s coffin, cried on how she wasn’t fitting as a daughter, not being able to, give her own mother, a rightful status when she’d died.

Sometimes I’d wondered, so long, as she’d, treated her aunt like a mother in her heart, took care of her, like her real daughter would, would it be important, that the status of “mother” is, specified?

That Most Unforgettable Household Registry

On yet, another day, came, a man, there was a lady who’d, cried so hard outside, actually, this wasn’t, any sort of a big deal, for the death of a spouse, we’d thought, that it would be rarer, if the person doesn’t cry at all.

And yet, this man’s body was only, accompanied by this one woman in his family, and she’d told us, that she’ll, give us the paperwork of their relations later on.

And, as we’re, about to, place him in the ice bins, the woman asked, “can I, say some final words to him?”, we’d nodded.

She’d bent down, patted the man’s head, “Honey, this, is the very first time I called you honey, it’s also, the last, you need to take care of yourself on the other side. Thank you for looking after me so long. You and your older brother, are, the most perfect men I’d ever met in this life, I love you………”

She’d, started, crying like HELL at the icebins, but, as she’d, walked away, she’d, become, very strong.

At this time, the proof of relationships came.

This had happened a long, long time ago, but sometimes, I’d still, gotten reminded of that household registry, with only TWO people registered, the relationship being brother and sister-in-law.

Sometimes, I’d thought, “status”, didn’t seem, so important at times like these.

And so, for the sake of paperwork, you’d, needed to, prove your relationships to the deceased and sometimes, it’s, more complicated than that, because, the two of you may have, related to each other as a husband and wife, but, you’re, actually not, you might be related, in other ways, and yet, the system mandated that we need to proof our status, who we are, in relations, to one another, to have our, loved ones, properly, buried.

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Filed under Basic Human Rights, Expectations, Letting Go, Life, Observations, On Death & Dying, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Story-Telling, the Finality of Life, Things Left Behind, Values

A Two-Year-Old Child Was Abused to a Vegetative State, His Parents Were Charged

Parents who hurt their young, off the Front Page Sections, translated…

At the start of last year, there was a two-year-old boy who fell into a coma, his parents carried him into the E.R. to ask for help, but the child had subdural hematoma, he became, a vegetable, the doctors who treated him found that he was covered in bruises and wounds old and new, that there were, puncture wounds on the soles of his feet; the police and social workers intervened, and found, that the boy’s twin older sister, and another younger sister of a little over a year old were, “disciplined” the wrong way long-term, the Changwha District Court yesterday charged the abusive parents.

This pair of husband and wife admitted to what they did to their own young children, admitted that they’d, improperly, disciplined the children.  In the indictments, the D.A. stated, that the boy’s father was guilty of abuse, and the mother had long-term abused the children, and charged with physical assault, and negligence assault, and suggested to the judge, to increase their sentences by fifty percent of what would normally be given to the adults charged in similar conditions.

cruelty to a young child, photo found online

At around noon of February 8th, this couple rushed their two-year-old comatose son into the E.R.  The doctors examined him, found the child to suffer from subdural hematoma, and they couldn’t get him back, he fell into a vegetative state, and because the doctors, in their examinations of the boy found there were wounds old and new on him, that there were puncture wounds on the soles of his feet, they suspected it was a serious case of child abuse, and immediately notified the police and the social services.

The child’s mother admitted, that on February 8th of last year, she was alone at home with the children, he’d started crying, she couldn’t soothe him, she’d picked him up and started, shaking him, and accidentally, bumped the young boy’s head on the wooden wardrobe, then the child had, stopped crying, and that was when she’d realized that her son was in a comatose, and started twitching unstop, she’d, panicked, and found something sharp, to stab the child’s soles, to attempt to wake him up using pain.  Later, as her husband returned home from buying them lunch, they’d quickly, rushed their young child to the E.R.

And, we still have here, TWO unfit parents, and, this time, a two-year-old young boy was beaten to comatose, and this couple managed to have a total of FOUR young children between them, and you can guess, how many times this kid’s younger and older siblings may have been abused, but, you’d, probably, NOT come close to the exact number of times these young children were hurt!  And these parents deserve to DIE for what they did to their own young children.

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Filed under Abandonment of Children, Abuse, Abuser/Enabler Interaction Style, Awareness, Burying One's Own Child, Children Murdered, Children that Didn't Have to Die, Crime & Punishment, Death by Negligence, Properties of Life, Punishment Doesn't Fit the Crime, Social Awareness, the Finality of Life, Wrongful Deaths

East 2

Life & death, encountered, in the walkways of a hospital, translated…

The passage I go through to work every day, I’d learned recently, that it was called “East 2”.

It was straight, passing through the hospital’s main building, on the one end, it’d, gone straight into the hallways of the lobby of the hospital, and on the other, into the E.R., with no twists and turns along the way, and naturally, this became, the quickest route for the medical staff to get to where they need to be. 

The flooring of this hall was the warm colored light yellow tint, with posters filling up the walls, and only a few doors opened here and there, nothing more.

Every single morn, a group of white coated people were, sucked in by “East 2”, and spit out at the other end of it, in the evenings, it was reversed.  Day after day, year, after year.

I’m like all other medical staff members, rarely thinking of why the hallway was designed as such, just felt that it was, convenient.  Several times I’d seen the ambulances parked outside East 2 and the E.R., with the family members all around, hands together, ranting something.  I’d understood, that those were the patients who were terminally ill, who’d decided to go home to die, and I’d, not paid enough attention to them.

Until one day, as I was walking into East 2, as I was about to exit out, there was, a group of people, pushing along the body covered in black cloth, and that was when the real purpose of this passageway was, understood by me.  The funeral systems in Taiwan are quite advanced, quick and efficient, those men who were, well-trained were, pushing along a body on a stretcher, in synchronized motion, silence, and worn those clean, white uniforms, and they’d, passed through East 2 without bringing too much attention to themselves.

I’d only, brushed shoulders with these men, but, I’d glanced over at their shirt, and saw three bold black characters printed on their shirt.

Odd, out of place, or even, a bit, ironic, it’d said,

Fighters of life.

And so, this, is where it all ends, for everybody, we get, carried out, like what these men the writer bumped into at the hospital by, and it makes you realize, just how unnoticeable life actually is…

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

Bowie Tseng Witnessed Life & Death Firsthand, “Leaving is What He Wanted to Do the Most”

The interviews with those considering euthanasia, whose been in ailing health conditions, from the Entertainment Sections, translated…

Bowie Tseng in Basel, Switzerland, witnessed the 104-year-old Australian biologist, Goodall, ending his own life by euthanasia, in the final three days of his life, she’d stayed with him, ate with him, held conversations, in that final moment, she was, filled with ambiguity inside, “in just one hour, he will be gone, and I’d messed up the time he should be spending with him family, because of work, until he’d finally asked those around him, ‘what are we waiting for?’, the employees of the clinic told him, ‘there are still forms we need to fill out’, he’d sighed, ‘there are always forms to be filled out’, at that moment, I’d, let go, I shouldn’t use my own sorrows, to interpret him leaving the world happy, that’s what he wanted to do the most, as a bystander, we should, give him our blessings.”

獨家/親眼目睹百歲生態學家安樂死 曾寶儀:巨大震撼!photo fo Bowie Tseng interviewing the elderly man in Switzerland, from UDN.com…

Bowie Tseng took the documentary filming, in the past few months, she’d trekked to Great Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Ireland, to interview those who’d lost their loved ones by euthanasia, and in February, she’d also, interviewed the activist for euthanasia in Taiwan, Dar-Jen Fu, “he’s weak, needed morphine to stay alive, in the interview sessions, he was still full of responsibilities, claimed the purpose of his wanting his own death.” And, before she set foot to go to Switzerland, she’d thought of a million questions to ask Goodall, the biggest shock for her, “I’d never interviewed anybody who’d determined her/his own date of death, how do I go about approaching him, how do I ask my question, to not be offensive toward him, how do I, say goodbye.”

Bowie Tseng said, “He’s older than I imagined him to be, I’d held onto the oldest hands I’d ever shaken, with the years on them, wrinkles, spots, and because of muscular atrophy, the joints were very apparent, but he was still very strong. I’d gone with him and his family to the botanic gardens for a stroll, he’d petted the plants along the way, I’d asked him if he was saying goodbye to them all, and he’d asked me, ‘why would I?’, at that very moment, I’d found, all the questions I’d wanted to ask him to lose meaning, because he doesn’t care anymore.”

There’d been war between the pro and anti euthanasia groups, Bowie interviewed a British elderly woman, who was born with severe handicap, and in the entire interview, she’d needed the respirator connect to her, and every fifteen minutes, the nurse had needed to help get the phlegm out of her lungs, but because of her optimism toward life, and her two marriages, despite how bad her conditions for staying alive was, she’d spoken up against euthanasia, and her speech had helped altered British law, and, gotten the parliament to vote against euthanasia. And BBC filmed the life of “Simon”, the businessman who had ALS, who’d not progressed to the point when euthanasia should be a consideration for him, he was accompanied by his own wife, to have it, as the footages come out into the open, it’d shaken up the entire world. Bowie Tseng said, “I’d interviewed his wife this time, and she’d told me she was regrettable for doing this, she believed, that death is not the business of the individual, although you may be ill, but you still don’t have the rights, to take away the time your family gets to spend with you.”

something used, to show that you don’t want to be resuscitated, photo from online…

After this experience, Bowie Tseng said, “I will work hard, to cherish my life every day, every gathering with friends, every meal, I will work hard, to make all of this meaningful.”

And so, because this woman was personally interacting with these individuals who are in the process of getting euthanized, it’d impacted her, on a personal level, and, she’d bore witness to how bad someone was living, and yet, still was against euthanasia, this is probably going to be, the most memorable experience of interview that this woman will ever have in her entire life.

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Filed under Choices, Do-Not-Resuscitate, Euthanasia, Lessons, Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Right to Die, the Finality of Life, The Right to Choose How One Will Die, Values

Learning to Let Go from Saying Goodbye, to Be a Man of High-Quality

On the last rites, the final rites of one’s passage, translated…

I’d gone to two funerals of my high school classmates in these past few months, and, at the funeral, the collages of their lives were played.

Those old scenes all came back to me, I’d thought about the laughter, the sorrows, the ups and downs of life we’d shared, our friendships which were kept, I couldn’t help but start crying hard! And, in the three, or five-minute short film, it’d, told of the stories of their over fifty years of life, and this was, saying goodbye to life.

We are all, staying afloat in this sea of mirage, and we’d felt, that cold chill! In this mirage of a life, we’d gone to the funerals, and we were often, impacted by the mixtures of emotions. Looking at others, then, thinking about ourselves, our whole life is a huge lesson in learning to say goodbye, and the hardest part of it all, is learning to say goodbye to ourselves, to say farewell to the youth that’s slowly going away, to wave goodbye at the beautiful faces that time had, sculpted, to say farewell, to those whom we loved and cared dearly, our families, to say farewell, to all our meaningless pursuits of fame and fortune…to bid farewell, to everything earthly. Life is learning to let go!

As I’m about to become Buddha! My funeral, I’d wanted to be like how the Buddhist Master, Shen-Yen’s making myself into a better person.

Before I go, I shall, have that slight smile, and with a heart of gratitude, for everything that’s happened in life to me; before I go, I hope that my loved ones, friends, families, and relatives can, use the Buddhist chants, to help my soul return to the West. As for the rituals, I’d wanted everything to be simplified, I shall become nothing but mud, to become the guardians of the flowers.

And so, this is, what life is reduced to, when we all die, we’d become, NOTHING, it’s what we did whilst we were still living, that will, hopefully, get remembered, it’s the lives we managed to touch when we were still on earth, that will keep on flowing, even after we’re gone, and, like this person, just keep everything simplified, because, there’s NO need, to have a flashy funeral, because you’re, already D-E-A-D, and you should NOT care who shows up at your funeral, besides, why would it matter to you? You’re, no longer “here” (on this PLANET???)………

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Filed under Aging Gracefully, Awareness, Expectations, Letting Go, Life, Observations, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life, The Right to Choose How One Will Die, Things Left Behind, Values

Wanting to Grow Old with Children Accompanying

The trials someone faces toward the end of a loved one’s life, translated…

“We’d all wanted to hold our children’s hands, to watch them get older, but unfortunately, fate had other plans………” as Shu-Mei talked, she’d started, sobbing. She’d shared with the patients and the families, her own experiences, “Do we, or don’t we resuscitate?”, that is the final questions, that a lot of the terminally ill patients will face, it’s also, a heart wrenching memory for Shu-Mei, her husband had been gone sixteen years now, and yet, that intense heartache had, stayed.

Her husband was diagnosed with a rare condition when he was forty-six, he’d become bedridden for over a decade, and, couldn’t control anything, he’d already, become so discouraged, to the end, when he was on the respirators, he’d still had difficulties breathing, the doctor said, that only a tracheotomy can save his life, and, her husband wanted to die, and they’d, turned down the doctor’s offers, but, as their daughter came to see him with her five-month-old son, it’d, sparked his will to live again.

The doctor saw how he was hesitant, gave them three weeks to think about it, during which time, Shu-Mei lost a lot of weight, the whole family was living under this, dark cloud. If they’d decided to put him on a respirator, the patient will be living, off of the respirators; if they don’t, then, very shortly thereafter, he would die, he will, NEVER see her husband again. Shu-Mei was confused on what she should do, her husband asked her, “Do you want me to die?” She’d naturally not be willing to let him go, started crying, and became, silent, and respected whatever he’d, decided. It’s just, that during these years counting down toward death, he’d always worn his frowns, and, gotten stuck between life and death, don’t’ know if he’d, regretted it?

“Back then, the medication had yet to pass the coverage of the health insurance plans, it was very expensive, there were the expandable items of phlegm tubes, the diapers, the feeding tubes, the caretaker’s fees………”, Shu-Mei told me, even as her whole family started saving up, it wouldn’t be possible for them, to pay for his care, she’d needed to work days and nights, and his daughter part-time through school, and they’d needed monetary assistance from their families, friends, relatives every now and then too. For the years, the medical bills, she’d, stuffed them all inside a drawer, and after her husband passed, she’d started, sorting through them, and, the amount exceeded five million dollars, she could bought a house with the money saved up. “Although taking him off life support only took a total of fifteen minutes, but there’s, such a high price for it, and, as life continued, and the patient had, suffered, it’d also, put the loved ones under great duress.” Shu-Mei told me, the pain, got in too deep, into her heart, that it’d, slowly, suffocated her.

A woman in the support group, whose husband was ill, started, sobbing after she’d heard, she said that they’re currently, facing this difficult choice, especially that they didn’t have enough money saved up, and she worried that she’s not as strong as Shu-Mei had been. Another woman looked worried, that her husband just had an intubation, at the age of thirty-something, he’d, fallen very ill, her mother-in-law loved this youngest son the most, and couldn’t stand seeing him die, and even if her son can no longer call her mom, even if he’s kept alive by those machines, she was willing, to keep him alive. It’s just, that the wife found, that her husband, when his own mother wasn’t looking, he’d tried, to disconnect himself from life support, seeing how twisted and in pain her husband’s face became, she said, that there isn’t a day she hadn’t cried.

Shu-Mei patted her gently on the shoulders, and cried with her, “We all want to grow old with our children, having each other with, but, fate wouldn’t allow it”. If it’s already set, then, just live with it, everything shall pass eventually. Shu-Mei consoled with the woman in her support group.

This, is a hard issue to deal, to let go, or to keep hanging on, but, when the patient is suffering so much, it’s only the right thing to do, to unplug her/him off life support, but, a part of you just, wasn’t willing, to let someone you love die, and so, you have to, struggle hard over the matter, and, eventually, you will, realize, that letting the person you loved dearly die is the best choice, because, keeping the person alive, means prolonging their sufferings, and, nobody wants to see their loved ones suffer toward the end.

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Filed under Life, Loss, Memories Shared, Moral Responsibilities, Properties of Life, Right to Die, the Finality of Life