Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Return To Love

"Mom warded. 6am came to ER. Asked Cheryl 
drive to emergency. BP very high. 
200 up, 103 down. But got down a bit dy"

Mom's text message
at 16:20 hours, January 9, 2012

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My only thought was to hop onto the plane and reach my hometown as soon as possible.

To receive a news about your Dad being warded in the hospital due to some health complications is enough to make you worried. A few days later, it was Mom who got warded as well, and to get such piece of news when you are living thousands of miles away just makes you feel really helpless. 

It was a right decision made at the right time, as I flew back to Malaysia for ten days over the last couple of weeks. I wish the trip was longer; nevertheless, it was still better than nothing. I kept this trip from everyone, including both of my parents, sisters, relatives and friends, mainly because it was quite a personal one. I never intended to do it on purpose, and to those of you who felt that I should've at least inform you about me coming back to Malaysia, I am sorry for failing to do that.

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Took my three younger sisters and grandma for dinner on the first day I was in Taiping.

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As my Mom and Dad were hospitalised, as the eldest among my siblings, I felt the responsibility of being the head of the family for the first time.

My flight was on January 9 and I reached KL the next morning. Many thanks to some of my friends in KL, who let me to crash at their place for a night. On the next morning, I took a four-hour bus ride back to my hometown. My sister only knew about it when I called her to pick me up upon reaching Taiping. I wasted no time and headed to Taiping Hospital immediately.

My two younger sisters brought me to C6 Ward and to the room where Dad was warded. My both eyes ran wild, trying to spot which bed was Dad’s. I asked my sister, where was Dad's bed as I didn't manage to locate him although there were only four beds in that room. My sister pointed to bed #8, the one which is just next to the window. When I caught the first glimpse of Dad, I couldn’t recognize him. That moment really hit me hard. 

Dad’s face was pale, his body looked frail, I bet he must have lost a huge amount of weight. Dad looked totally like a different person compared to the last time I saw him in April last year. I however, didn't allow my emotion got over me, as I tried my best to be strong and controlled myself from being emotional. I walked to Dad's bed; he turned over to me, and it took him a few seconds before he realized it was me, his son who was standing next to him, just less than a meter away.

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Mom and Dad, in their green hospital uniform.

"Why you came back?" was his first question. 

Very typical of my Dad. Yet, it shouldn't be a question in the first place. Just as I was going to continue my conversation with Dad, my sister asked me to assist her in the cleaning-up job. That's the first thing I did when I went to see Dad - to change his pampers. Dad just passed motion and his condition was just too weak to walk to the toilet. While doing the cleaning up, Mom's story about her doing a similar thing to my grandpa crossed my mind. She never had any regrets or thinks "I-should've-done-it-when-he-was-still-alive" when my grandpa passed away several years after that, as she felt she had done her duty as a child when grandpa was still alive.

I still remember when I was still a little kid, I lived with my grandma as Mom was completing her teaching course in Penang. Dad never missed from stopping by grandma's place every single morning before he goes to school, to feed me. It was just bread, dipped in plain water, but it was the love of a Dad that means everything. And now, I guess rightly for me to do the same thing now, when he needs his children the most.

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Though he was sick, this man I call Dad is still able to sign cheque, to pay off various bills at home.

Mom has been telling me about every single details and developments since day one Dad was warded. However, it was only through phone calls and messages, which did little to really give me a clear idea about what exactly happened to him. I took some time for ask Dad to explain to me what really happened to him, in which he described to me in details, until Mr Kok, my Mom's headmaster dropped by to see him.

After spending about thirty minutes with Dad, I went to the next room with Mr Kok, where Mom was warded. Both Mom and Dad were in the same ward, but different rooms. Like Dad, Mom too, looked clueless when she saw me at first. However, unlike Dad, Mom's condition looked much better. I tried to balance up the time spent between Mom and Dad, so that neither one of them will feel left out. There was one night, I hugged Mom before I left and that was the best ever feeling I've felt for a long, long time.

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My two grandmas, probably discussing who should be the one to enter the toilet first lol!

Mom was warded due to her sudden increase of blood pressure one morning, which was most probably due to the lack of sleep and exhaustion she got from taking care of Dad. Imagine waking up early in the morning, teaching at school until noon and without taking showers and enough rest, she will head to hospital once school's over. She would then stay in at hospital throughout the day until midnight, and sometimes she even stayed overnight there. I am pretty sure even a fit young adult would fall sick if he is put through such a hectic routine. Even myself felt the stress after only one day. 

My daily routine when I was back home runs from early in the morning, right until midnight, for eight straight days. Not that I am complaining, but it really tests you to the limits, both physically and mentally. Most of the time was spent at home and hospital. Home was basically to refresh myself, to take shower, to check and reply to any urgent mails, and rest. The other times would be running around places to get stuffs, mostly for food that Dad requests.

Fortunately, my two sisters were back for their semester break and we worked together to help our parents to get back on their feet. It certainly the burden as we took turns to help out and do our bit. And I am pretty sure that the children's physical presence certainly cheered them a little bit and help them to recover faster.

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Brought Mom, sisters and two grandmas for dinner after Mom was discharged.

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I consider it some sort like a reunion dinner, as I was to fly back to Japan before Chinese New Year.

However, frustration sets in at times when Dad asks for food that we all know is not suitable for a diabetic person like him. Whenever we insist to his demands, then he will start to sulk. However, if we fulfill his requests and he feels sick, for example vomits or records an increase of sugar level, he would kinda put the blame on us. He wants to get discharged as soon as possible, but at the same time he doesn't really wanna adhere to the doctors' and our advices. Where can like that, right?

After thirty-two long days, Dad was finally discharged on January 18 and got his long-awaited wish, to be released from his "sangkar" (that's the term he uses haha!), exactly on the day I was supposed to leave. I sent him home at around four thirty in the evening, did some last-minute packing, showered, talk to Dad for a while before leaving for the six-thirty bus bound for KL. It was a satisfying feeling; it felt like a mission accomplished and I can head back to Japan with less worries.

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Brought Mom and grandma to the Consulate General of Japan in Penang for their visa application.

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Met up with my third aunt, and she brought us to have banana leave meal at Passions of Kerala at New World Park.

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The food there was insane. After all, Indian food is one of my favourite, that's why.

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We got a guy to take a photo for us, and he ended up inside the photo as well lol!

I had a short talk with Dad before I leave my house. It was during that conversation that both Dad and me broke down. To see a person like Dad, who never expresses his emotion to shed his tears openly like that was totally unexpected. I wish I could stay a little longer, but I still have things waiting for me in Japan at the same time. Final year project, thesis writing, presentation, etc., all to be done within this several weeks. I hope Dad will remember the promise he made with me. At least, I could leave a more relieved person than I was when I hop onto the plane from Tokyo ten days earlier. 

I consider what happened to my parents as a blessing in disguise. Who would want their loved ones to be sick? However, it was through this trip, this event that perhaps taught me to appreciate your loved ones more than ever. I have been closer to my Mom since I was young. Whenever I have any problems, I only usually pour the problems to Mom. She will then tells Dad about those problems.

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Went to see Dad with Mom. That was his final night staying in the hospital, as he was discharged on the following day.

I hardly have a heart-to-heart conversation with my Dad, and to do that just feels awkward to me. Perhaps it was an uncommon thing to do, especially among Chinese families, to talk about personal stuff and to show love and affections towards our parents. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you tell your parents the three word - "I love you"?

However, things have changed for better now. I no longer feel indifferent to talk about life and to share thoughts with Dad now. There was one night, while I was accompanying Dad in the hospital, I talked to him about what I've been up to recently, the job offer I got, my plans for the next few years, stuff like that. Amazingly, his response was unlike how it used to be before this, especially that "rezeki" term he used.

At the same time, I witness all kinds of beautiful human values, specifically we Malaysians possesses during the eight days accompanying Dad at hospital. Dad gets visitors from all races and backgrounds, his school staffs, students' and their parents, friends. One incident that really touches me was this pak cik, whose wife was warded in the same ward as Mom. His wife by the way, happened to be my Mom's classmate. After knowing that we couldn't get the popia Dad longed to have from the town, he rode his motorbike all the way to Kamunting, about ten kilometers away just to get four pieces of popia for Dad.

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Although the trip I made lasted less than two weeks, I guess this was the most worthy homecoming trip I've ever made for the past five years.  Sometimes, we tend to focus on our problems in life and to take for granted our blessings and achievements. It is easy for us to forget what it was like when we were once family and the times we shared. It is easy for us to forget how to love, how to smile. But, it is even harder not to love. I am grateful that through this event, it made me realise how important it is to put your family first, beyond anything. After all, family is forever.

To my Mom and Dad, three younger sisters, two grandmas, aunts and uncles, relatives, friends out there, Happy Chinese New Year to you all!


P/S to Daddy: Little by little, one step by one step, we believe you will make it. I know you're reading this. Don't shed your tears now, 'coz you look so much handsome when you smile.
P/S to Mom: Your quick and smart decision could have probably saved Dad on that night, and I am so proud of you!
P/S to all: The title of this entry was inspired by the book written by Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflection on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles". 

10 comments:

~hOnGyAo~ said...

calvin~all the best to your dad and mum! touching to read your real story...=)

Chyesin said...

Hope your dad get well soon. I believe your home-coming this time means a lot to them too.
after reading your post, i saw not only the love of family, also the beautiful and special of Malaysia.
thank you for the sharing, and yea,the title sounds simple but bring significant meaning to different people.
good luck to your final year and job. =)

calvin said...

@ ~hOnGyAo~:
thanks for the wishes my little junior (^.^;b

calvin said...

@ chyesin:
dad is recovering by the days. his appetite is slowly returning and he is now trying to get back the energy and strength he has lost for the past few weeks.

i guess my homecoming trip this time is just a small token of appreciation and gift to the sacrifices the two of them have made to raise me and my three younger sisters : )

thanks a lot and all the best to you in your university entrance exams as well!

DT said...

Hi calv... U were right in coming back to be with ur family. I am sure ur presence was a great support to ur family. Be strong and May ur parents get well soon.... :)

calvin said...

@ dt:
thanks a lot bro! i'm glad i made the trip back to help out as much as i could. dad is now on his way to recovery and hopefully, he will get on his feet very soon :D

Nerd said...

I know I'm late but,it was really touching and u made me realize that I always take my family for granted. I should have done something whenever I can now. Glad that everything was fine now, may ur family blessed with good health :)

lyk

calvin said...

@ lyk:
i never knew you got such an interesting nickname hehe. nah, no worries, i appreciate your comment very much xD

i think most of us does that too, but only realise that we should pay more attention to our family when something hit us hard >.<

thanks a lot for the encouraging words! =D

FnF Simple Life said...

Hope your parents get well soon.

calvin said...

@ fnf simple life:
thanks a lot abang fadhil and kak fidzah for the kind wishes! =D