Category Archives: the Finality of Life

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

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?

圖/豆寶illustration from the papers…

“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 Choices, Do-Not-Resuscitate, Life, Properties of Life, Right to Die, the Finality of Life

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.

 

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

An Elderly Man in His Eighties Leapt the Building and Committed Suicide…His Final Note Was Taped to His Hands

Some bad news here, from the Newspapers, translated…

The eighty-one year-old elderly got tired of being ill for a very long time, early yesterday morning at around five, he’d climbed to the roof of his twelve-story building, took the leap downward, and died, the body was discovered, with a note, taped to the left hand, the families confirmed, that it was, in the elderly’s own handwriting, and, they have NO opinions of the police, ruling it as a suicide.

The police stated, that most who’d committed suicide would leave the last note where they’d leapt, or inside one’s own home, there would be rare incidents where the suicide notes were taped to the person who’d committed suicide, suspected, that Lin may fear, that after he was gone, nobody could find his final note, that, was why he’d taped it to himself, but, this action had made the police feel, that the cause of his death wasn’t so clear cut.

The police investigated, that the elderly and his three daughters and a son all lived in the same community in Sanchong District, but they all had apartment complexes, the elderly lived with a foreign bedside assistant; the family said, that the elderly had been diagnosed with multiple illnesses, Parkinson’s, bloating in his lungs, couldn’t control his bowel movements and bladder, before he’d died, he’d complained to them on how he’d wanted to die.

Yesterday at around five in the morn, the elderly man took advantage of the time when his bedside assistant was fast asleep, climbed to the roof of his twelve floor building, took the leap downward, as the neighbors heard the loud sound, at first, they thought that it was a gas explosion, and called the police to report it as a gas explosion, as the police came to the scene, they’d found the elderly man, lying in a pool of blood, with multiple fractures, and because the impact of him, hitting the ground was very hard, his right arm was severed from his torso, he was, clearly, dead.

In his suicide note, the elderly mentioned of how he’d been diagnosed with multiple serious condition, that he’s elderly, and didn’t want to be troublesome to his families; after the family members read the note, confirmed that it was in his handwriting, and didn’t have any rebuttal toward the police, ruling the man’s death as a suicide.

This, is what old age will look like, because you’re ill, and, you feel, that life isn’t worth anything anymore, so, you’d committed suicide, and maybe, being sick can get you in an awful mood, and, being elderly makes you think, that there’s not that much keeping you here, but, what about your children?  Or those who cared about, and loved you?

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Filed under Awareness, Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Issues of the Society, Mental Health Issues, Old Age, Suicides, the Finality of Life, The Right to Choose How One Will Die