I got to read a really touching story in the local newspaper lately which really reminded me of the time I spent with my mother too. (See post)
Besides reminding me of my own story, I thought this article might be a worthy read for you too. Take some time to read the article below and reflect upon it and your life.
Here it is…
IF DEATH is a finishing line, then Mr Gilbert Fan has the job of being by the patient’s side every step of the way.
A medical social worker at the National Cancer Centre for the last 10years, Mr Fan has had to deal with terminally ill patients often. He remembers one heart-warming case involving a patient in his 70s. The patient, Mr Nazri (not his real name), was not recovering. Within a short time, he had lost a lot of weight (and) it was heart-breaking for his elderly wife to see him in that state.
During the day, Mrs Nazri would faithfully spend the day by (her husband’s) side, attending to his needs. When the time came for her to return home to rest, freshen up or cook for their grandchildren, Mr Nazri would become upset. On many occasions, he would end up quarreling with her as a result.
Mr Fan, 50, was puzzled by Mr Nazri’s demanding behaviour and felt sorry for his wife as she was obviously exhausted from the care-giving role.
“Often, caregivers suffer from burnout due to the lack of self-care”, said Mr Fan.
One day, after Mr Nazri had one of his disagreements with his wife, Mr Fan took a chance and had a word with him. He was extra careful with his words.
“He normally came across as a pugnacious person. However, I was surprised when he opened up and shared his fears with me,” said Mr Fan.
It turned out that he was afraid to die during his wife’s absence. She was his pillar of support.
Whenever he was alone in the hospital, he would fight sleep like he would fight death.
“The crippling fear that that Mr Nazri felt was real. Many who are dying desire to have someone by their side as they take their last breath.
“the presence of loved ones acts as a protective shield for the dying, where death becomes less fearful and brings about peace and comfort,” said Mr Fan.
With Mr Nazri’s consent to disclose what he had shared, Mr Fan had a session with Mr Nazri’s wife.
As she sat there listening to her husband’s fears and thoughts, his love for her and their family, she broke down and cried. In between her sobs, she revealed to Mr Fan her own fears of losing her husband. At 60, she was young to be a widow.
“There was so much in life that she still had to share with her husband,” said Mr Fan.
Finally, husband and wife managed to sit together and pour out their feelings to each other.
“They spoke about after life issues, sough mutual comfort and renewed their love for each other,” said Mr Fan.
That very night, Mr Nazri died in his sleep…
* * *
It often amazes me how we often get so engrossed and comfortable with the routine with everyday life that we forget to give thanks for the people around us. It also saddens me to note how we often we take our days for granted that we neglect to appreciate how important our loved ones are before it’s too late.
Perhaps it’s a flaw of our Asian culture, that we are too shy or to share our feelings for the people we love most despite our apparent affection and their importance in our lives.
But why do we struggle to share, or wait towards the end of our days that we decide to open our hearts to share our love, appreciation and affection to the people who matter?
It’s a question that continues to baffle me.
Regardless of the answer, of culture or the like, I think it’s time to reconsider our stance on sharing our appreciation and affection. To hide it or ignore our desire to share our love is not only frustrating, it can be downright distressing and agonizing for those who make their feelings known before it’s too late.
So why put it off at all?
I think it’s time we make a change to that. Let us all remember to give a compliment, or a word of appreciation to the people we love. You may not have to do it everyday (lest it becomes mechanical and insincere), but let’s take every opportunity to do it when we receive an act of love.
Alternatively, you may do something different… or something special for another to show how much you care and remember.
Essentially, the act of love need not be in the form of big acts or expressions… but simple every day acts to show how much you care and regard the importance of another.
Granted, as acts of every day life take its toll and we get too sucked into the routine to remember how little acts are also important acts of love and care, doing something different helps to break the monotony of everyday life and serves as reminder of how much you care when you take the time and effort to plan and make the event work.
So let’s all go out and share our love today. Appreciate. Show your affection. Or go on simple date! Do something special, to show how much you care.
Do it, before it’s too late!
May you bask in the warmth of love!