My father’s condition declined drastically again — it turns out he has bile duct cancer, and it’s more severe than anticipated. The doctors said that he has around a few weeks left (or less) to live — and my sister and I had to break the news to him. He said he’ll leave it up to fate, and take it as it comes.
It’s timely that it’s going to be Teachers’ Day, because now every day is like Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s become a routine: campus, hospital, home. During my visits, I ask Dad what he’d like to eat, but he has no appetite. Often he feels nauseous. So to keep him focused on positive thoughts, I ask him about his childhood memories, his life as a teacher, his growing-up years, how he met Mum, what it was like bringing me and my sister up. I share stories, poems, or just the news.
Even speaking has become laboured for him, and every breath is exhausting. So my family members (especially my sister) and I take turns to stay with him at his bedside. When he drifts off to sleep, at least he doesn’t feel pain.
At night, I wonder whether — in the grand scheme of things — all of this has a purpose. Whether we’ll meet our family and loved ones again beyond the veil, life after life. But perhaps what’s more important would be to treasure the present moment with them — right here, right now — because ultimately, that’s all we really have.
“It seems so—
I don’t know. It seems
as if the end of the world
has never happened in here.
No smoke, no
dizzy flaring except
those candles you can light
in the chapel for a quarter.
They last maybe an hour
before burning out.”
- ‘Hospital’ by Marianne Boruch