Last Tuesday, my dad and I went to the Oncologist. This time without mama. We had to show the doctor mom’s lab results and tell him my mom’s decision not to undergo chemo. My dad and I expected bad news, but before going there, I prayed (which I don’t usually do anymore) and asked for a little good news.Just a tiny one.
I honestly did not pray for healing anymore, but I asked for strength to take it all in and to take it gracefully. That’s also mom’s wish. Mom knows what is happening, too. She’s strong enough to go with us, but she decided not to. And the environment of the Oncologist department won’t help. The doctor told us that chemo is risky at this point. And then he told us to give what mama wants and tick the boxes off her bucket list. My dad cried. The doctor was also speechless. Mom is one of his success stories. He would tell us that mom is jolly and bubbly and to see her like that is also hearbreaking for him. I know doctors should be strong and firm, but I cant blame this one. He then recommended us for palliative care. It’s like a scene from a movie.
On the other hand, I felt relieved. Now, we can finally get the chance to face the reality and to trust the process. You see, hope is sometimes crippling. Hope allows us to to hold on to people even though we should let them go. Hope allows us to make stories in our mind which will soon frustrates us.
In the evening, I went out with my friends, you know to breath and to move. I believe that idleness wont do me any good. I have to move. I have to walk. I have to laugh with them. I wanted to eat Thai food so they took me to a Thai restaurant. We then had coffee at Mcdonalds. While this is happening, my cousin told me that my mom’s siblings are in the house, having a meeting. I told him that I am not comfortable to attend it and I asked to be excused because I just need to breath. He said that I should not worry and people understand why I am outside. My Dad told them that I am strong like my mother. I’m surprised that they see me as a strong person. That means a lot.
Anyway, I am not comfortable with the stigma of death and dying. I just want to think of it as something normal like travelling or eating or giving birth.
The following day, I finally had the chance to talk to my mom. We were on her room and we were just talking what to do next. And then I started crying because this is so surreal, talking about her final days, plans, and shit. She told me not to cry because she hates drama and she wanted everyone to just accept this. I told her that I am strong like her, that I am going to be fine and that I am smart enough to know what is going to happen to her, but I told her that it sucks to lose a mom. How can you actually live in this motherfucking crazy world without a mother? She would tell us that all of us will have to face death at some point, and she knows that this time, it’s her turn.
The next day, I have been receiving calls and messages from cousins around the world. I only answered one call. It was from my cousin from Singapore, who lost both her brother and father in 2019. I wanted to talk to her because she knows the feeling of losing a parent. She told me that I have to accept things as they are and how lucky I am that I can prepare for this. She told me that mom did not quit the battle but this is her way of winning the battle. We were both crying. It’s weird to do this in front of the camera.
Yesterday, I went home and all the furniture were piled up at one corner. My uncle told me that they are making a room for mom downstairs because she doesnt have the energy to go upstairs anymore. She would feel dizzy going up and down. Again, it felt weird. It got worst when they brought in this hospital bed frame and this green mattress. This is going to be her deathbed. I had to go in my room to cry, because this is quickly sinking in. Mom then told me that I can sleep in their room now while they’ll be sleeping downstairs. My mom, being a very OC mom wont even allow me to use their bed because for the longest time, I am a dirtball in her eyes. It sucks to hear her say that I can sleep in their bed.
My aunts and I had this heart to heart talk last night. I told them that when mom was diagnosed in 2018, I started to detach myself. Not that I stopped loving her, but I slowly trained myself and prepared myself for this day and the days to come. The preparation was hard. In those 2 years when mom has no evidence of the disease, I still wake up in the middle of the night, with sweaty palms, with nightmares and with panic attacks. i still space out even if I’m with friends.
Recently, my mantra is “we dont live in a perfect world”. It’s been on repeat since our visit to the Oncologist last Tuesday. We dont live in a perfect world where parents and the people you love are immortal. We dont live in a perfect world where we can walk in the streets without face shields and masks. We dont live in a perfect world where we get to live all our dreams. This is a broken world and its brokenness is really the reason why it is good to be alive.