Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Sufferings In A Living Hell

My papa was one of the most sorrowful souls in this world. For a Buddhist, we believe there are six planes of existence-hell, hungry ghost, human, animal, demi god(asura), and god. Pardon me for describing in this manner as my papa lives no difference from the beings of the lower realms even though he was presented in the human realm. He had endured relentless sufferings during his life time for more than 2 decades long. Literally put he has been imprisoned in a living hell.

My papa was first diagnosed with a thyroid disorder when I was in primary. Since it was an disorder due to deficiency of some minerals, he recuperated few years later after taken some supplements prescribed by the doctor. He was very careful with his diet since then. Alas, he was not spared either. He suffered with kidney failure when I was 15. Frankly, I don't know how this can happen as he has always been very careful about his food intake and he didn't indulge in any bad habit. Later he was forewarned by the specialist the limited no of years he has to live.

At the tender age, all his children cared little about how their parents' feelings. We didn't realise how bad his condition was. Life went on as usual for us. I remembered the only difference was that my papa saw doctor and consumed medicine more often than the normal person. My papa was a real hard core. Many years later my papa revealed to us that he denied to face the "death sentence" that was read to him by the specialist. Reasons being that his kids were young and he's the sole breadwinner of the family. The living force was arising from his determination to get 3 of his young kids to complete their higher education. It aches my heart to learn that my papa had striven hard to provide for us in spite of his bad health. Since then, he spent his life-time savings seeking for wonder cures and specialist treatments. Sad to say that God took no pity of his perseverance and determination.

He had several accounts of near-death experience but managed to pull through each time round. In 1994, there were already signs of blood intoxication and his doctor certified that both his kidney had completely failed. He was left with no choice and doctor proclaimed that the only way to sustain his life was to perform haemodialysis treatments. Later, we found out that the subsidized treatment provided by GH was only allocated for the privilege few and our application was turned down. My papa was aware that he required such long term care and that the treatment costs would burdened the family. At that time, each treatment cost in a region of RM150-RM200 and he needed 3 treatments per week. That would mean a fixed expenses of RM2400 per month. Not willing to burden the family, my papa has naively proposed to the doctor to put him to sleep. Obviously his wish was not granted by any doctor.

At last, my papa was left with the only and most economical treatment option to prolong his life, i.e. getting a peripheral dialysis, a.k.a. wash the blood through a tube inserted into stomach, of which fatality rate is relatively higher. Just before the first peripheral dialysis session was to be carried out, my dad suddenly behaved abnormally. As though he has awaken from a dream, he revealed to us his mysterious and paranormal encounter.

We listened in disbelief when he told us that he witnessed the existence of KwanYin, Jesus, Nabi Mohammad, and nameless saints and sages who came to welcome him. At that time, I wasn't yet quite believed in what he told. Scientifically explained, this could be due to the toxic in his blood that was causing his hallucination. For he has been a free thinker all these years, it sounded rather absurd for him to tell us about this sort of things.

Nevertheless, we noticed there was a major change in his personality before and after his unusual encounter. He became very talkative and was always in hilarious mood despite of his serious illness. He "preached" us some philosophy of life and spoke in languages which I couldn't quite understand too.

One day during my visit to him at the hospital, he told me subtly that he has a magic formula but he's promised "somebody' that it was not supposed to be revealed to anybody. However, it's the affinity between a father and daughter relationship that he can only revealed part of the "heavenly secret" to me. Eagerly, I witnessed him taking out his 555 notebook which he used to jot down some reminder notes and he turned to a page with some numbers and musical notes written on it. He hummed me the tune. But it was common nursery rhyme which he used to sing to me when I was young. Later I found out that the 'heavenly secret" that he had partially revealed was how to be kind and friendly to others, including strangers. He reminded me again and again how we should treat people kindly and not to be arrogant. He also explained to me the theory of unceasing energy, so on and so forth... Though those theories sounded quite logic scientifically but he has acted out of norm, all our family members thus concluded that he wasn't quite "alright".

The awakening wisdom in him was awe-inspiring. While I was puzzled with his weiredo, I was also quite impressed with his calmness when he shared his view towards death. He mentioned that if at all he has to leave this world, we shouldn't feel too sad about it as he's going to be resolved as part of the universe. However he will not be completely vanished from this world but instead will transform into another form such as a particles in the soil, absorbed by the plants, eg a vegetable. Then he is going to become part of the cells in the vegetables or fruits that once consumed by us, will become part of us . It sent goose bumps all over me when I heard of this but I have great tranquil when he mentioned that he would not be "vanished" from this world as the departed ones will eventually be merged into one of this world system. "Maybe your body consist part of our ancestors, since we consumed "it"!"My dad teased.

Untiringly he kept reminded us to be kind and friendly with everyone around us and expect us to greet every nurses that came. The 360 degree change in his character has driven my family members including my mom to think that he's gone coo-coo. Miraculously after this episode, we received good news that the GH had decided to offer him fully subsidised haemodialysis treatments. This is a rather rare opportunity since my papa was not a government servant to receive such privilege treatment. Moreover, we have been told earlier that the waiting list was long. We simply couldn't believe it that my dad was offered to receive free treatment. It is as though he has received pardon from a death sentence.

The high cost of dialysis treatment thus was no longer a worry. My papa regained happiness and firmly believed that the Heaven God was giving him a new life. Ever since this incidence, he has devoted to Kwan Yin Pu Sa for he believed that he was saved by this Compassionate Bodhisattva.

It wasn't long later that I realised that he being given a new life was not really good news either. For he has to endure the agony of puncturing his flesh with needles to insert the blood transfusion tube during each treatment. He required three treatments per week or 156 times a year. Having received treatments for more than 10 years and that would mean a total of 1560 times. This is like a lifelong punishment.

Worse still, a dialysis patient is only allowed to take no more than 500ml of liquid a day. As such, he was forced to bear with the many rounds of unquenched thirst. My dad had once poured to me of his anguish over carrying on his life with such a misery- as he was deprived for the very basic freedom to consume water, unlike the normal person. A glass of icy drink or a bowl of watery teochew porridge would literally "drown him" as he jokingly put it. Life has no enjoyment at all as when even drinking a cup of plain water became a luxury for a poor man like him.

Having endured the pain and deprivation for more than 10 years, he was not spare further. As if he still has one last debt to pay-off, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year. According to the specialist, it is the type with the most malignancy. Before it turned into malignancy, doctor had mentioned to him that it was curable at the initial stage and suggested him to go for chemotherapy coupled with radiotherapy treatment but was rejected by him. Perhaps he knew that the treatment may double-up his agony(he has "consulted" Kwan Yin and was told not to opt for any of the suggested options). His decision could be right since it is imperative for the cancer patient to consume more water after each treatment and this was the immunity that my papa lacked. He resort to take the most bitter herbs in raw forms and literally put he consumed more bitter medicine than sumptuous food.

Despite that, the tumor grew bigger gradually and was causing an obstruction in his throat. This has affected his food intake and gave rise to breathing difficulty. His health has since deteriorating day by day and he's far beyond frail. However, my papa didn't give up hope to live. This time, all his kids have grown up and he should not have more worries. However, his living force at that time was not because of us but of his indebtedness towards my mom for him not able to fulfill his promise to take her around anymore. He felt that he has not spent many good times together with my mom and he has owed her a great deal.

Sensing that my papa will not thrive for too long, I took a week off to attend to him while he was at the hospital in July this year. The one-week experience with him was indeed unforgettable. He was always sleepy and had miserable appetite. I knew it very well that he was forcing himself to consume some food in order to thrive. He was conscious enough to know that if he didn't have enough food intake, he would get even weaker and would not be able to survive. He is a typical life example of "eat to live". I recalled feeding him his very last few meals. In fact at that time he could still sat up and ate by himself but due to his frail state and his difficulty in swallowing, I made it a point to feed him. He always coughed while swallowing as the food irritated his throat. At one ocassion, I knew he has no appetite to eat as he was running a fever. No one will be able to stomach anything in when he or she had a fever. But my papa insisted that he has to eat. He started to wheeze half way while eating. I couldn't bear to see him suffered so I told him not to force himself if he has no intention to eat.

" Nope, just scoop all the porridge and feed me, I am okay, I want to finish it" My dad firmly insisted.
"But you can't take it anymore, no point forcing yourself to finish."
" Since you have brought the food for me, I must finish it, I don't like to waste food. It is not good to waste food."
" But this is too much for you, I know you are forcing yourself to eat..."
My dad silently signal me to hand over the bowl to him and he began to scoop the porridge himself. Then he paused a moment, in a hoarse voice, said to me firmly,"you should be encouraging me to eat. If I don't eat, you know I won't live. You should be the one encouraging me to live". My heart weeped silently when I heard this.

From that single statement, I came to realize that many of us who are living or once lived have never treasured our life as much as my father did. Some people choose to end their life when life seem too much for them to take on. And they have conveniently forgotten their responsibilities towards their very own family, including their parents. They did it for selfish reason for the act of committing suicide is like robbing away the gift from their parents for their lives were originally given by their parents. There is simply no reason that one should take their live without their givors' permission.

My papa treasured every single moment he has to lived. But he lived not for a selfish reason. Prioritising the family's needs ahead of his own life, he has sacrificed just too much for us. When his responsibility as a father has completed, he longed to spend a sheer moment with my mom. Unfortunately his wish was not granted and i see God's purpose in it. Even though my papa has to bear with the bitterness of life during his prime, he continued with this "never gonna give-up life" attitude. Sadly, some people just take life lightly and have chosen to end their life in their prime...

On 9th of September this year, my papa passed away peacefully on a sunny morning at our own home. This was a day after the China Olympic opening ceremony and the Republic of Singapore's independence day. It also marked my papa's independence day. He has finally freed himself from this world of suffering. Though I no longer have the chance to express my love and admiration for him, he remains the Hero in my heart.

Papa! You are the greatest father in the world. Thanks for honoring me this lifetime to be your daughter. I am well sure that this is going to be my last lifetime with you as a father and daughter relationship. May you be in peace and remember to practice diligently in the Western Pure land!

(Oh yeah..I sensed the presence of you around me when i typed this...hehehe)


JLim said...

Hi Cheryl...such a beautiful piece of dedication to the man whom gave you life...he has been a great man & father..

He is in better place and guiding you from above...God Bless His Soul

Christina said...

Cheryl, your father really a very wise man, good father and a good husband as well. His determination to just live for the family have already become a Buddha himself. He is right that he told you that he is not gone forever......just like Kuan Yin, she is every where to look after us. His courage and determination live forever in your heart.

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