How is it possible that within the snap of fingers that one collapses and never wakes up?
Day after day, I travel to the ICU ward to visit, hoping I would at least be of some support to his family and relatives, if not to him. Hooked to his wrists are many IV tubes, all of which are he now depends on to keep his heart and body functioning. Yet, he remains in a comatose state, oblivious to the frenzy around him. (Or is he?) I watch as everyone whispers words of encouragement into his ears, as they hold his swelling hands and apply vaseline carefully over his pale lips. My heart wrenches. And at that moment as K holds me in his arms, I finally realize the fragility of life and I’m more fearful than I used to be. My tears begin to fall.
I am in my early twenties, the beginning to the end of my youth. I have just entered the workforce and right now, I stand at the starting line of my career in which I find genuine joy in. I come home to a loving family everyday (my parents still kiss before they part) and I am attached to the man of dreams. In life, I have so much to lose.
What can I do to ensure that I lead my life without regrets? That if today was to be my very last day and I were to look back, I would not have chosen a different route anyway? Am I able to smile then? What would my legacy be?
Day after day, I notice his neck and shoulders swell. His body remains warm, his breathing weak but his eyes (still) shut close. Last night, I sat in the family meeting with the doctor as he reveals his condition and requests for the family to prepare for the worst. It was as if I was in a drama. I find myself hoping that I am in one. Perhaps in the corner of the room, someone would suddenly jump and exclaimed, “GOTCHA!” and we would all proceed to have a laugh about it. No one did. The meeting ended in solemn silence.
Day 6 and counting.
(I hope he is fighting too, with us.)
The family have tried all means, from visiting numerous temples to bringing in specialists for a second opinion. We talk to him every hour. We fill his room with his favorite aroma of freshly brewed coffee. We play the giggles of his six-months old baby on loop. We massage his limbs. We put mahjong tiles in a bag and rattle them by his ears (he loves mahjong). We even dab the water in which a combusted talisman was suspended in on his lips. Sometimes his condition may look up, at other times it dips, but his family never wavers. They never do. They may quarrel over the silliest issues, fall out over the most trivial matters, but in times like this, they remain strong and optimistic – smiling as one, crying as one. It is certainly not a lie that in the toughest of times you see true love. To me, this is true love, in its purest, most uninhibited form.
And that is how, this fateful week, I have inevitably grown up a lil’.
As of now, his condition has stabilized and I am heartened. No one knows what to expect next; life has never been more unpredictable. Regardless, tall and strong we stand. And together, may love conquer all.