On death & dying, translated…
If one day, I no longer woke up, I really don’t have any regrets, because all the love that needed to be spoke, I’d called them all aloud, and, I’d repeated, calling them out loud.
In the process of battling this illness, there were moments of lows, or when my condition worsened, but from the beginning, my mind had been settled, that, was beyond my medical professional trainings, other than having it been taken from my own “faith”, more of this sense of calm came from my long-term “preparedness”. Because I’d “proclaimed my love” to people that I loved, so I’m not fearful of this sudden onset of goodbye.
During this time, I’d gotten so many calls, from the daily living routines, to the rare nightly dreams. Of course, all of these, small moments, are only granted to those who are believers.
Many years ago, when I’d gone to the U.S. to visit with my older brother, I’d talked to him about our parents’ health conditions, and told him of how they worried about him whom they can see regularly. After college, he’d gone abroad, he could not be with our parents, he’d spoken, in a heartfelt manner, “Yu-Cheng, I really envy how you can be close to mom and dad, talked about everything with them, but, make sure, you don’t tell them of the difficulties that I’m facing. I’m not there by their side, I can’t explain the situations, and, it will only increase their worries.”
Eldest brother! Eldest brother! Did you recall, how moved I was, by your words back then?
Child, Don’t Worry About Me
My brother’s words weighed heavily on my mind since. When I was certain of my own cancer diagnosis, I’d decided, to not tell my two children who were in the United States then, I wanted to spare them the worries, the helplessness that they may feel, not being able to be with me.
I just wrote my daughter, Kai-Wen, asked her to buy me the supplements that can help reduce the damages of my chemotherapy, glutamine, it’s cheaper overseas. Kai-Wen is a very smart and sensitive child, she’d immediately wrote back, “What’s wrong, dad? Are you sick?”
My dear daughter, how can I allow you to feel worried for me? I’d immediately wrote my daughter back, “dad’s just having stomach troubles.” Not long thereafter, Kai-Wen wrote that she’s coming to Taiwan for a week, and I knew, that I couldn’t hide my conditions any longer. Later on, my son, Ding-Jia too, took my granddaughter, Dena home too.
My family did not bathe ourselves in misery, instead, the kids had given me a ton of glee, they’d given me the best present, to help me fight—Kai-Wen, and Ding-Jia both announced that they were having babies, and this joy is not only coincidental, it’s also very “hard-to-come-by” too.
My Daughter and Daughter-in-Law are Pregnant, the Birds Lay Their Eggs Here
Since Kai-Wen was young, she’d had opinions all her own, seeing how her mom gave everything to her family, put her heart and soul onto the kids, she’d set up her mind about never becoming a “traditional housewife”, before she married, she’d told her in-laws, “No babies!”
As her parent, I had no choice, I can only accept my child’s choice and personality completely, but, I couldn’t help, but feel that smallest regret, and I’d feared for my daughter. But gladly, Kai-Wen was lucky enough, to have understanding in-laws who took her thoughts into considerations.
This time she’d come back, she’d told mom, “Uh, I think I might be pregnant.”, in mine and my wife’s ears, it’s a huge blessing, to the point of miraculous.
The good things came in the numbers. My daughter-in-law who’d been troubled by infertility, in the assistance of the infertility specialist at MacKay Hospital, Hu, had given me a cute little granddaughter, Dena, and they’re thinking of having a second child, and the second time they went through in-vitro, it was successful. And, my daughter and daughter-in-law’s due dates coincided with each other.
The grace from the Heavenly Father is not done yet, there were albatrosses that made nests on our osmanthus tree, and, the female laid its eggs, and in a few short days, the eggs hatched, and, it brought life into my house. I smiled at my wife, said, “Other than you, all the females in this family are all having babies!”
It’s a Grace, to be Able to Say Goodbye, with Cancer
At age forty, I’d written my last will, and held nothing back toward my children, and I was not at all, bashful in proclaiming my love toward them, even when after I was diagnosed with cancer, there is nothing left for me to tell them. But I’m truly glad, that I was blessed enough, to see how my life is getting passed on with my children, how they’d fulfilled my life, and allowed me to have no regrets. The kids had always known how much I loved them, how much I loved this family of ours.
In the process of growing up, my father wasn’t’ very well at expressing his emotions to us, until he’d gotten ill, been diagnosed with cancer, did he start showing how unwilling he was about leaving us, until his last minute, he’d finally spoken of his love to us. And after I’d started my own family, I’d made up my mind, to make my children feel my love toward them, and so, they were raised, with my love, constantly, flowing around them, and they’d not at all, estranged from the softer side of the father figure at all.
But I still must say, that if we are going to say goodbye to our loved ones, being able to say goodbye with cancer is such a blessing. Some would say that death is “swift and quick”, that they’d rather leave the earth, in a heart attack, or a car crash, without the pains, the tortures of expectations. And still, would you feel absolutely, NO regrets, without having to say goodbye? Do you really not owe your families an “I love you”? Are there really, no unfinished business?
Cancer had provided me with a “period of time”, to allow me to contemplate, which words needed to be said that I hadn’t’ said, that I can still make up for it; which events, if I had a chance to do over, would I do differently. There are things in life that we must finish, some things, that must leave the memories behind, the things we’d missed out on in the years previous, the things we’d accomplished or hadn’t done, cancer, it’d given us a “second chance”.
If you can see it from this angle, being diagnosed with cancer is a blessing that gives you no regrets, and, it wouldn’t be a curse, a torture to you.
After I fell ill, I’d started discussing one thing with my wife, Pei-Ching formally, I’d examined my financial welfare, thanks to my years of working at the hospital, allowed me to be financially able, I know, that even after I’m gone, my wife will not have any troubles, this, is the only feedback, I can offer to her, for giving up her own career, and pouring her heart and soul out to this family of ours.
I’d never lived extravagantly in life, I’m wearing a local brand of shoes, a nameless watch on my wrist. I’d only told Pei-Ching, to not think about investing the money, to believe in any sorts of investments, having a simple financial condition would suit her best, and her life is stabilized and set.
We Will Meet Up Again Eventually
I remembered on our twenty-fifth anniversary, I’d taken the time, decorated the house while Pei-Ching was out, put some water into the basin, lit the candles, spread the stones and the flowers onto the floors, and, as she walked in, I’d recited to her, “like the blooms of the flowers, like the clarity of water, stable like the rocks, as passionate as fire, that, is the love I feel for you!”, she’d started crying after she’d stepped into the house.
Pei-Ching and I had already settled our final affairs, we’d found a place for our ashes and urns, next to my parents’. The day I settled the affairs, I’d written a poem to her:
If one day I don’t’ wake up, don’t cry for me.
We’d completed a poem written by god
We will meet up, at rainbow’s end
As designated by god
And we shall never be parted again
In heaven or on earth
After I fell ill, I’d found the poem, and, texted it to her once more.
If one day, I will no longer wake, I really don’t have any regrets, because all the love that needed to be spoken, I spoke it aloud, and, I’d repeated it, relentlessly.
So, this, is how you’d said goodbye, to your loved ones, and, the man is right, that you need to prepare for your deaths, WAY ahead of time, because, death can and will HIT you, all of a sudden, you don’t know when it’s coming, when death will take you out, and, you can only do that much psychological construction, in preparing yourselves for it ahead of times.