Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Life's Brief Candle

At about this time last year, I was busy running to the hospital visiting my late brother who was showing signs of serious deterioration in his health. Whenever he was discharged, it was shuttling to his house on the mainland either before school or after. There were times I had to pay midnight calls.

I could still remember the 1st time he broke the news that he had cancer. The world crumbled on me. Yes, it was him who had cancer but still I was the one who felt devastated at that time. After our parents had passed away, it was always the 4 of us. He, being the eldest, was the strength of the family.

Slowly he got worse and it was evident to me then that the cancer he had, was truly terminal. Then in February, we were all packed to go to Shah Alam for my nephews wedding reception. Before making the trip I went to the hospital to visit him. My second brother was there. My younger sister who I am sure had badly wanted to be with us couldn't make it because it was her son's wedding reception that we were supposed to attend.

He was really bad. I couldn't find it in myself the strength to pry away from him. My second brother was with me and we called our sister saying that we could not make it because we thought that he wouldn't be able to make it through the day. I felt so very bad about missing the reception. My sister was all alone in Shah Alam and in times like that she really needed to be with close family. She needed us her brothers to enjoy that joyous occasion but then we all know that some things are just not meant to be. She gave us her blessings and I can still remember the quiver in her voice, that sad tone that shouldn't come from someone who was supposed to be in the mood of merriment.

Now as we all know everything is history. My brother passed away on the 23rd of May, a day after my 51st birthday and exactly 28 years and 1 day after my late father's departure.

Why do I write this, since this is not exactly an anniversary? Well, something that we don't realise when we were so engrossed in our own sorrows is that while we were down, or in this case, I was down, my wife was with me through it all. She was with me through all those visits and sleepless nights. She would stare at me while I cried a helpless tear and gave me courage.

Now she needs me because she is growing through what I went through a year ago. Her mom with whom she is so attached to, who was her only parent ever since she was 3, who slogged through poverty to raise her 5 children and school them is now completely bed-ridden, in a serious condition, probably living on borrowed time waiting for the day to meet her maker.

2 weeks ago, my mother-in-law, who lives with my family succumbed to a bad flu and we had to get a doctor to make a house call. She could still walk with the aid of that four-legged contraption that she has been using for the past year or so. One day while walking into her room from the bathroom which was hardly 5 metres away, her legs simply gave way. Her legs were weak prior to this but decided that they have had enough. We had to carry her to her bed and she has been there ever since.

Diapers replaced her daily visit to the bathrooms. She has to be spoon-fed all the time. Her words are no longer clear and now she can't even urinate. Sometimes they will be a huge swelling just below the navel from the urine that simply refused to go out the natural way. My wife has to press hard on it for the urine to flow out. Through this all, there was no pain. I think she has lost most of the sensation from the lower part of her body.

Once when my-wife's niece gave her an injection of vitamin c with a 2 inch needle almost fully embedded into her buttocks, she didn't even flinch. Now she begins to show signs of memory lost. She couldn't make out the time. She was confused if it was day or night and complained that she was not given her meal hardly an hour after her last one.

She refused to be taken to the hospital and we do not know what our next action should be. I began to feel exactly how I felt when my brother was going through his last days. I now feel that it won't be long. I am sure my wife feels the same too. I know she is putting up a brave front but I know the she herself knows that the end is near.

Anyway my mother-in-law is 81.


Kerp (Ph.D) said...

cikgu, sir!

to suggest you to just take your Mother inlaw to the hospital is uncalled for as surely you and the whole family have thought about it. by doing so against her will could deteroriate her health further. but if thats the only solution, i say go for it.

i remember you did your post on the demise of your beloved brother. i was there next to zorro when you informed him about it. sometime later i came back, turned the pc on and went straight into your blog. it was the first time ever i read your writing and was glad i did so.

i didnt look back since.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Life is short isn't it. Like a candle when it burns to the very end, it goes out or a gust of wind could blow it out midway through its burn. What do we do then? Do we want to be remembered as a candle that burnt someone else's finger or one that gave light while it burnt?

Raden Galoh said...

Salam Bro...

A little do'a is for your arwah brother and father. Alfatihah.

The life promises when there's beginning surely there's ending...while the birth is welcomed with joy the death is accompanied by sorrow. I am with you brother, reminiscing this very month last year and feeling the sadness that you have gone through...at times, putting myself, not in your position, but rather in arwah's position...

I remeber someone told me: when cancer hits someone, it hits everyone in the family too... I believe this is true. The devastating feeling is not just for the cancer victim but all family members too!

Now, Kakak is in your shoes and I believe You understand the tremors she has in her heart. Che'gu, what I can offer is just a little least thing, that is just to pray that Allah puts your MIL in ease, insya'Allah. And for Kakak and you to be strong to brace this difficult moment.

Hang in there bro and salam.

Kata Tak Nak said...

I hope my post do not in anyway makes lofe sad for you. I know you are eagerly awaiting the results of your test and I do go over everyday to see if there is an entry regarding your test.
Thanks for your kind words and may ALLAH bless you always. You will sail through, that I am confident.

acciaccatura said...

salam chegu,
AlFatehah untuk arwah abang chegu dan MIL raden. All that happened last year.

Menjaga orang yang sakit ni memang rezki,umpama bonus dari Allah Taala. Tapi tak ramai menyedarinya. Sabar tu memang mudah nak disebut, tapi nak melakukannya Allah Taala saja yang tahu.

InshaAllah, semua ada hikmahNya chegu. Kan syurga tu dibawah tapak kaki ibu. Untung kakak. Salam saya pada kakak ya chegu.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Kalau dia bukan pahala pun, dah jadi tugas anak untuk jaga kedua orang tua depa. Kalau ada yang tak jaga dengan sengaja, memang tak guna punya orang la. Kalau memang benar2 tak mampu jaga, itu lain.
Insyaalah saya sampaikan salam puan.

tokasid said...

Salam Che'gu:

InsyaALLAH, che'gu dan kak akan dapat jaga mak mentua sebaik yang boleh selagi hayatnya di kandung badan.

monsterball said...

Any sick or dying of our love ones are always felt with pains and sorrows...always feeling..he/she deserves few more years..too young to die.
If she knows the end is near and is prepared for it ...then she is ready to go with a positive mind.
It is not easy for anyone to leave the living......knowing she will be gone forever...not able to touch or talk to them forever.
One needs to be realistic and be brave. At her age....she is so bless already.....with so much love and attentions from you and others and frankly speaking....she do live to a ripe old age.My mother died at age 65....and many more died younger...yet my mother knew she was going.....squeezed my hand.....telling good-bye and died without a tear.....and although she was young at her age to die.......she knew her time was up....and being a good Buddhist...she was not afraid to complete her life cycle..sooner or later.
Frankly speaking....at my age.....I am prepare to die too...and pray not to be a troublesome person to anyone while I am alive.....just go..when time is up.
One needs to be practical and logical...with a peace in mind.
Strangely...it is always the rich and famous...fed with pro-longed life tonics and medicine..seems to cling to life more than the natural ordinary folks.
Regardless rich or poor...as long as you are alive...you need to suffer....so we all do...and take those challenges in life.
However...if I feel I have shamed my family...or do have a bad reputation..I certainly will want to live too long.
So .in a way...
it is always " young to die" for the real good humans.
Who are they..God only knows.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Thanx. Keadaan tak berubah. Perut nampak bengkak. Harini anak2 dia nak buat keputusan nak hantaq ke hospital atau tak. Apa pendapat hang? Kalau hantaq buleh reverse ka keadaan dia atau depa nanti cucuk sana cucuk sini buat test and in the end say there is nothing they can do.

Kata Tak Nak said...

I would like to seek yr advice being older than me and all. What do you think, should I send her to the hospital. The family is afraid that she would be put through more painful ordeal and in the end the hospital wld say they can't do anything.

Mat Salo said...

I saw this post yesterday but find it hard to marshal my thoughts then. Not because I'm busy --everyone else is too-- but because what chegu is going thru' cuts to the bone...

My grandmother too suffered a fall three years back in the bathroom (she's now 83) while under the care of my mom. And because of that she became bed-ridden and everything went downhill after that --diapers, fed thru' tubes, the whole works.

As the eldest grandchild and my mum being the eldest and only daughter amongst her also pencen-plus brothers, I took it upon me to make a earth-shattering decision (to some conservative Malayos that is) to put her in a nursing home. I don't need my mother to fall ill too, nursing her bed-ridden mother. After all she's fast approaching 70...

I am fortunate that I have the resources to do so and my siblings and my uncles do chip in a bit. Plus my nenek also still makan my late Datok's pencen. But three years ago when her condition fast deteriorated we too thought the candle was going to extinguished soon. And it's already three years since. Our only thoughts are to make her end as comfortable as possible.

It's possible Chegu, that this might be for the long haul. And I pray that you Mrs. KTN have the fortitude to weather such storms ahead. Salaam

Kata Tak Nak said...

My greatest fear is that this will prolong. I can take it, I have to take it. I've seen my brother go thru torturous times before he died. What I am afraid of is the torture my MIL will go through and the emotional and physical strain my wife will go through in the mean time. Its not pretty.

Weather this, I must.

bru99 said...

Salam Cik Gu

May Allah give you the strength to weather this period.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Thanx. When are you going to start a blog? I'd love to go over and read.

cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

Maaf terlewat membaca post ini, semoga Allah s.w.t. memberikan kekuatan kepada Cikgu dan Akak untuk menempuh masa masa diduga. Dan semoga sakit m-i-l Cikgu diringankan Allah Yang Maha Mengasihani, insyAllah.

bru99 said...

Salam Cik Gu

I will Cik Gu ,one of these days.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Chegu,

Oh dear...I met your mom-in-law and she was such a sweet thing...I remember her walking with her walking frame, and how she spoke to my parents, and how she was so engrossed in the Hindustan movies...

Oh dear...

Regards to the missus and give her hand a squeeze for me...

monsterball said...

kata tak nak....Sorry I missed you asking me for advise.
This is up to you..as if you feel you are doing it based on feeling it is the right thing to do...then do it with no regrets..no matter what the outcome maybe......as good deeds are seldom appreciated..but if all goes well....okay la.......but if anything go wrong..just be prepared to get bad comments....and ignore them with a smile. Life is such!


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