Sunday, December 27, 2009

I count the days now, just like I was counting before Mom left. Before, it was 'Mom has survived for 12 months since her diagnosis', now it is '2 months since Mom left.' It has been three months now, I don't really know if I feel much better. It's disturbing that we learn in psych that normal grief lasts 6 months. Doesn't everyone grieve differently and take varying lengths of time? At 6 months, will I be not thinking of her so much anymore?

There are times when I catch myself thinking, what if I did this, would Mom have survived a month longer? Then I have to remind myself that all that is inconsequential because Mom has already left. And then I get all upset because it is so permanent, Mom's life coming to a full stop and me having to go through the rest of my life without her.

Think there should be no time set to these things. But I know that the day I find myself no longer counting will be when I truly feel better.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What I love.

"As the end of my earthly life approaches, I return with my memory to its beginning, to my parents, my brother and the sister (whom I never knew because she died before my birth), to the Parish of Wadowice where I was baptised, to that city I love, to my peers, friends from elementary school, high school and the university, up to the time of the occupation when I was a worker, then in the Parish in Niegowic, to St Florian's in Kraków, to the pastoral ministry of academics, to the milieu of... to all milieux... to Kraków and to Rome... to the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord."
- from the Last Will and Testament of Pope John Paul II.

I was touched by his words.

Life comes full circle...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thanks CGmate, for the thoughts. :) It's nice to know someone's listening.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'll walk in the rain by your side.

It is the sudden discovery of things that remind me of Mom that really gets to me.

For example, a Christmas card from Pap's friends overseas addressed to him and her. They were not aware she had already passed on.

And me randomly flicking through the memory on our blood pressure machine to find Mommy's BP readings the night she fell ill and septic again. We brought her back to SGH afterwards. I remember that night so well now. She was tachycardic but her BP managed to hold up until one or two nights after admission. She had to be resusitated with fluids twice because her BP was dropping to 80/ 50. I remember the on-call doctors talking to me with their severe, solemn expressions... They had probably skimmed through the notes and thought, Hmmm, Terminal brain tumour, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia with Neutropenic Sepsis. There is no way out from death. Then Mom finally left us half a day later, the pneumonia overwhelming her immune system.

I was there when my Mommy took her last breath. I remember pulling her close, she was still warm. I remember kissing her cold face later on at the mortuary.

There are good days and bad days.

Sometimes I'm unsure of what I am crying about. Looking back, it was time for Mom to go. More time here would mean more suffering for her, though I admit I was desperate for those moments. I would have given anything for more time with her still healthy and smiling. If you've ever read George Orwell's 1984, I think perhaps it was the same desperation the protagonist felt when faced with his worst fear. My worst fear was her leaving me. But I guess the difference was that no matter how painful this reality was, I could not have wished it on someone else, unlike the protagonist in the book.

What is the after- like? I choose to believe there is one, because I know I am going to meet Mommy again.

Tired! And a lousy word to use, but rather emo today.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


There are good days and bad days.

Think that Mom wouldn't like to see me on my bad days. She would never want me to be sad.

Almost two years ago, when she was first diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, she said... When I'm gone, don't mourn too long for me. I can almost feel her arms around me as she said it. We were sitting on my bed, talking. Everything had come so suddenly and was such a painful shock to us.

What do patients feel when you are breaking bad news to them?

What are they are thinking?

The only way for doctors to go on the day as per normal after breaking bad news is to not let sad incidents affect their interactions with other patients. It is not to say you cannot feel for the patient, but you must not let that get you down. There are other patients who need you as much.

Watching the doctors break bad news to one of our patients' a while back... I somehow saw Pap, Mom and myself in their position. It was strange. I knew that nothing could prepare you for the time death eventually comes, no matter how much you feel you have prepared for it.

There are so many little things that Mom's doctors have done for us that really made the difference. When I meet them now at SGH, it's another reminder that Mom has left me, but my heart is still warmed and I am always happy to see them. It is to say that no matter how dire the situation is, there are still things that we as physicians can do to make things better.

Alright. Enough for now.

Only time can make things feel better perhaps.

Thursday, December 03, 2009