Saturday, February 9, 2008

Spread your wings and fly

Finally released from her worldly form, my A-ko can finally enjoy the rest she has been seeking.

Rest in peace, and farewell. You will be missed, by many.

Dying is the day worth living for.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Friday, February 1, 2008

Stairway to Heaven

I am back in Zamboanga, a city in the southern region of the Philippines known as Mindanao. This is where I was earlier at the start of my island hopping where I visited family on my dad's side.

I have returned because my aunt is dying.

My aunt, the eldest sibling of my dad's, had gone to visit family in the states last year around October, about when I was walking through France, getting snubbed by the locals. Developing a difficulty breathing, she soon returned home to get examined by a doctor. They discovered fluid in the lungs and a tumor. Diagnosis: lung cancer. Discovering this at such ao advanced stage of the disease's progression in addition to her being at such a late stage in her life means many, many prayers and family members from all over the world gathering to see her before her time comes. She has no history of smoking or any problems witi her lungs that I'm aware of. Guess that's how life is sometimes.

After arriving at the airport, I immediately went to see her at the hospital (after a quick shower to keep myself as germ free as possible). She was really disoriented and unable to respond to questions coherently. My niece Corrine (older than me) let of know that she was recovering from a semi botched procedure involving a too-weak-to-work treatment that worsened her condition temporarily. A set of IV's, lots of pure oxygen and a few hours let her body process some of the medication used to sedate her and she was able to speak to everyone again. Well, technically everyone except for me. My inability to hear soft spoken people coupled with the complete lack of Chinese-speaking at home has made me essentially retarded when it comes to communication with the old tongue. The family members translate what she is saying to english, then throw in a joke or two at my expense about how I'm Chinese dumb. Feelin' the love, guys. Her condition has been up and down the part few days. Sometimes she'll have gotten a decent amount of rest and she'll be very cycle and talkative, other times she will look as he she is struggling for her life. I pray that she will have enough time to see the family members that are coming, but in the end, I hope that she won't have to suffer for long. She understands that her time on earth is short. Let it be peaceful, for everyone.

I'm amazed at how much family I have out here. My aunt is the eldest of eight siblings, my dad being the youngest (and if you know how old he is, you can see that my aunt has lived to a ripe old age). My aunt has had 7 (8?) children. I forget how many exactly but I know that the kids are named in alphabetical order, and I remember them going at least up to H. Add to that the legions of (my) nieces, nephews and grandnieces/grandnephews and you have a lot of family visiting her, from all over the world. I can't help but think about how it must make her feel to see all this family that has come to see her off. I hope things are not too noisy for her; when the head count goes over ten, it can get a bit hectic. On one hand, it is a treat. We get to talk and share in memories, as wall as pray together for strength and for my aunt's acceptance into the great beyond. On the other hand, it makes me think about my parents when their time comes. They only have me, after all. It's going to be pretty lonely wherever we are at. =/ When that time comes, it unfortunately only gets lonelier.

Please, God, let there not be more suffering than is necessary, both for her sake and the sake of the family. Give us all strength, to fight, to comfort one another, to pray, to last.

Let her go in peace.