Friday, March 05, 2010
It's Deja Vu
I was surprised to be asked that question. Dumbfounded for a split second but I recomposed myself when I saw Dad's face flashed in my mind, smiling at me.
I had to tell her that Dad was already gone.
Akak was shocked to hear and was more surprised that no one actually told her about it.
She is the Line-leader on the 2nd floor, while I work on the 4th.
We used to work together in production for some years while the factory was still situated in Kallang Avenue. But after the many reshuffling of manpower here and there, and several re-locations throughout the years, we only chat when we do meet along the corridors... which was not often as we have different work and break times.
Then she shocked me back...
On the 40th day that my Dad passed, we held a family prayer session at Mom's place. It was Chinese New Year Day, it was the same day her elder Sis, who was only 55 years of age, passed away too.
She suffered the same disease as Dad and succumbed to it after fighting for a little over a year upon her diagnosis.
Akak told me that her Sis had a mastectomy 2 years prior. She was cleared for about a year before the typical symptom came about... she had coughs that did not go away. It came to a point when it became incessant and breathless that when she did go to the doctor's again, they began to suspect and confirmed that the cancer had returned.
It in fact had metastasized to her lungs.
She began chemotherapy at National Cancer Centre. Religiously doing it and going there for follow-ups, just like Dad did. As Akak told me more and more, my mind started to wander off back to the times when Dad had to make numerous trips to NCC.
It suddenly saddened me. I have no idea why I still wish there was something more I could do for Dad. I am ashamed that I still feel like this even though it is God's will to take Dad back to Him.
I could relate to the many instances Akak was telling. I felt the whole surroundings just quietened down and blurred out and I was left with myself in my own mind at the moment.
The flashes of what we went through... the hopes, the prayers, the intense will to make things better for Dad... and Dad trying his best for himself... all that efforts to have him be with us for as long a time as possible.
In retrospect, it seemed to be more of a denial to avoid the the inevitable than anything else!
Akak had to vent out her sadness relating what she had to go through especially the last week of her Sis' life...
Unlike Dad, her Sis asked for more morphine to ease her pain. It was up to a point when she was no longer able to keep herself awake and started to stop eating, drinking and chatting.
Like Dad, maybe it was the combination and the dosage of the medications, maybe it was the real visit from beyond, Her Sis was actually acknowledging a visit made by her late Auntie by her bedside at one point... the point when she no longer could eat or drink... awoke for a brief moment to acknowledge that someone from beyond.
Dad had many dreams that he told Mom about... her late Elder Sis, his late best friend from the village, a few more people that had passed on more than 2 to 3 decades ago. They came to say hello to him and ask him how he was doing.
It was as though Akak was narrating the events that unfolded of Dad's. It was so similar... from the start of the incessant coughing to the gradual dependence on the morphine, to the rejection of eating and drinking... to the time when the swallowing functions stopped and the eventual passing over.
The "what ifs" were uttered several times, but my mind did not register it because I could not recall what was said. My listening ear was there but not my mind. I think I am still in the state of grieving.
I say a prayer for Mom too after my daily prayers. For her to be strong, happy inside and have a long and healthy life among her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who love her so dearly.
Akak appeared rested after our long chat. Then again, I have always known her to be a strong and cheerful person. It was a delight to catch up on things with her, hopefully on more cheerful subjects next time.
I hope I did not appear as aloof. I hope I helped her ease her pain a little even though I was not a hundred percent there for her.
There will be more instances where I will think of Dad. It will get better, I know, because Dad is a wonderful man. He had been my hero and will always be.