I want to get this out there before it is too late. And if you are too busy to read this through, then it will not come to your attention, possibly, ever again.
Some of you may already know that a member of my family is due to pass on anytime from now. While the coming of this experience is inevitable for all of us, what makes this account different was the length of time, or the lack of it, lived so far. Hana just turned three weeks old a few minutes ago, and each day that she continues to live on is another day of an exhausting battle for air to breathe. The details of what happened can be spared for now because that is a story for another time. But going through this painful experience of watching a precious life slip through the knuckle cracks in our hands is something that needs to be talked about, at least.
Sometimes, I wonder if a quick, merciless death is better than a protracted one? Because make no mistake; though Hana's heart still beats the same rhythm as any of ours, it already reeks of death and loss with each unfolding word, especially in the far corners of every conscious mind that visits her.
Or would the latter, somehow, be much better? Is there mercy when someone is taken away slowly from you? Can the time spent preparing ourselves for the worst be considered as a graceful giving from our finite life? Or is the extended pain actually a punishment for us? These questions and much more continue to linger and depending on whom you are asking, you may get different answers from time to time.
If you ask Hana’s parents, each day that they are allowed, by His Graciousness, to care for her is a miracle gift in itself. A gift that borderlines with a responsibility; one that is undertaken with the utmost appreciation even though it is heavy on the shoulders of those who bears it. Which is why resignation to fate is the only coping mechanism that they could afford to rely on. “We’ll live one day at a time from now on, and cherish each moment that we have with her like she’s a gift for us – until she’s no more a gift,” my sister once said.
And if you ask me, the lack of resistance from them frustrates me even though that would put me in an outright denial. Maybe I just want them to fight to hang on to every living second of Hana. Maybe she deserves to be fought for, rather than being let go effortlessly. Every time she cradles in my arms, and I sing a little tune of prayer for her, I cried because no matter how I spin it, it feels like I am already saying my goodbyes to her. But isn’t it all too premature? Her skin is flawless, soft, and fair. Her face is cutely round, accentuated by her chubby cheeks. She would have grown up to be such a beautiful girl one day and just maybe, she could have grown up if we had fought a little harder for her.
But I know, these are only words of denial.
At times, it feels like the people around us don’t understand the pain that we are feeling. But how could I expect them to? I even suspect that many checked in on us, only because they are driven by curiosity. They would ask how am I doing and then suddenly, their feet continues to move on, just as the conversation would too. So I stopped sharing and started letting it slide off. But it is actually agonizing to watch the whole world around me moving on while I feel stuck in one place – as if I had been left all alone. And that is why, for those of you who are always at loss for words, you do not have to worry. Sometimes, it is not words that we are looking for. Just by being there, in presence, though silent, is more than enough. It would turn the world that we are living in right now a much less lonelier place, to begin with.
You have to understand that when we are going through this process of losing someone slowly but inevitably, everything would seem to come to a standstill. It feels like we are being anchored down by the weight of despair. And even though it is only an emotional anchor, it makes me, in particular, feel like I am drowning in real life from the overflowing pain and guilt. The same way that suffocation woke me up at in the middle of night, which led me to write this post with hopes of relieving my heavy heart.
So remember, when words have failed you, sit with us.
Your presence would be more than enough to help lift this anchor back on deck.