Thursday, 21 May 2015

Suffering, mortality and above all, Grace

Small Boy has a chesty cough that keeps him up at night.  No adult in the household gets any sleep when he is up.  He wanders over to our room, pats me awake for sips of water, wants to be held upright and disturbs our rest.  It is only with much persuasion and patience that he goes back to his own bed to lie down.

Watching my child suffer, even for a small illness, brings the wish to exchange places with him.  If only I can take away his illness and bring it onto me to alleviate his suffering.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), I have had much practice in watching a loved one suffer.

Dad turned 70 in Feb this year.  Neither my sisters nor I thought he would make this far, hence we threw a party for him, inviting his siblings for dinner at a Teochew restaurant to celebrate that "YES he made it".  The litany of his illnesses are long: lung operation at age 48 to remove 2/3s of his smoke-blackened lungs, stroke at age 55 which paralysed the right side of his body, prostate cancer at age 62 followed by skin cancer a year after due to the radiotherapy.  It is a sheer miracle he is alive.

I have a memory of my dad standing at the void deck of our apartment waiting for me to pick him up in the taxi. His back was stooped.  His eyes were closed and his arms leaned on the wall for support.  I saw an old man then, realised in that moment that he and my mother will not live forever.  Yes I know that logically he will pass on one day, but the image stays with me.

Mom had a health scare at age 64.  Stage 2 colon cancer.  Lay fragile on the hospital bed after the doctors cut out 10cm of her colon.  My dad held her hand when she came out of GA, just as she held his through his lung operation, his stroke, his radiotherapy.  Mom had been the strong one...

The Hubs is all clear for 3 years after his eye operation way back in 2012.  One day in May 2012, he finally disclosed to me that the floaters (debri in our eyes from broken blood vessels during birth) in his eyes were getting unusually more and more.  That day, we were at the GP.  2 days later, we went to the eye specialist Dr Chua.  Dr Chua used a machine to scan the Hubs' right eye, and found the floaters were actually blood clots trying to form as the tiny blood vessels had burst.  The normal pressure in all 4 quarters of the right iris is 80.  The lowest number registered by the machine on the Hubs' right eye was 220, with the highest being 480.  Dr Chua recommended laser surgery the very next day to close the blood vessels, prevent further bleeding lest his vision is impaired.  I went home in a daze that evening, and managed to arrange for the boys to be at my mother's the next morning while I took a taxi with the Hubs (did not trust myself to drive) to Mt Elizabeth Hospital the next day.  The rest of the day passed in a blur.  Thank God he is all well now.

I can bear my own suffering.  I cannot bear it when my beloved suffers.

I am very glad that my God knows what it is like to watch the beloved suffer.  For He sent His Son to save the world, did He not?
There is Grace there, and Hope, and Faith.  Grace freely given.

No comments:

Post a Comment