The fact of life

My friend’s father passed away on Friday. He had final stage lung cancer. He was in hospital for 3 months. My friend had just transferred him to a hospice for 3 days cos there were nothing they could do to save him. According to the doctors, he had only 3-6 months of life left. But, he left us peacefully sooner than expected.

This kindly uncle was always full of smiles and treated everyone with warmth.

The family was prepared for the worse but not so soon. They received the shock with mixed feelings mingled with controlled grief. They are trying desperately to keep their grief under control until the funeral is over. The reality of the shock is still taking time to sink in. And, there is a part that is relieved that his sufferings was not prolonged fighting with the pain of losing him. The yearning to have him by their side for as long as possible. Every day counts. Also the part that is lamenting the injustice of it. Plus the guilt of not being able to do more and the anger of being so helpless.

There isn’t very much that we can do for them. I can only hang around to offer emotional support, rotate shifts and run odd errands.

Auntie was saying to me, ” He is such a good man. Why him? It is so unfair.” I could only hold her hands and tell her that at least he is not suffering anymore. I could think of nothing else to say cos I know how futile it is to say anything else.

7 years ago, that was the only thing I took comfort in. That he is not in pain anymore. 7 years ago, I felt relieved that he is not suffering anymore, relieved that I don’t have to watch the agony of sickness anymore and relieved that it is all over. It took me years to overcome the trauma, the guilt and the grief. But, time really do heals.

Looking at my friend and her mum, I can only hope that time will help them heal faster.

Auntie has been married to uncle for the past 38 years. Hearing her talk about how they met and what a good man he is, one can’t help feeling sad. Auntie has poor eye-sight. She has been dependent on uncle to be a trusty walking aid for a long time. She is really scared of her new life without her life time companion. Yet, listening to her talk of facing her new life without him, one can’t help but admire her courage.

Uncle, may you rest in peace.


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