The Chinese belief that people with illness should avoid going to wakes and funerals, has kept me away from most memorials. It is said that if a sick person doesn’t follow this rule, they will follow the dead to the afterlife. I simply sent my condolonces through mail for many years. My parents strongly advised that I follow this superstition though I didn’t believe it, pleasing my parents weighed more than this myth.
Yesterday, we went to the wake of a relative. It’s the first time that I went to a funeral without any extra weight on my shoulders. It’s been almost two months after my hospitalization and surgeries. I feel 70% normal which is a good sign.
The later part of the year was exhaustingly difficult physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had to prepare for October through frequent trips to the hospital and labs since January of this year. I had to keep a strong front and shield the people I love from me.
I was a wreck. I couldn’t put into words how I felt then but I was devastated. I even avoided those who saw through me, I had to hide and protect them from what I was experiencing. I didn’t want to distress them with my fears. I didn’t want them to get hurt. I didn’t want them to worry.
The procedure should of been simple but there were complications so I had to undergo 5 trips to the Operating Room. These were:
Oct 7 Total Abdominal Hysterectomy Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy (TAHBSO)
Oct 10 Vascular Surgery (Incision for Hemodialysis access)
Oct 15 Cystoscopy
Oct 16 Pelvic Laparotomy
Oct 20 Exploratory Laparotomy and Stenting
I was told by the OR nurses that I hold the October record for the most trips to the Operating Room. They were incredibly sweet and gave me a present with a kind note in the Recovery Room while they massaged and dosed me with medicine for this and that. I also got another present from my favorite nurse, Joyce, who informed me that nurses can shampoo a patient’s hair. Shampoo on the hospital bed was not the best shampoo service I had in this life but it was the only treat I had during confinement so it’ll always be my favorite hospital experience.
Laying on the hospital bed, I have also observed the different personas of Health Workers. Some have genuine concern for their patients and would even go out of their way for strangers. For others, it is just a job they can choose to do well or not. With this said, I would want everyone to choose wisely who to entrust their health to. Lives are at stake here, ours and of those we love.
I’m truly grateful to family and friends who rooted for me to make it through. I appreciate the time and effort they gave me despite knowing that they were also handling their own concerns. I didn’t want to add myself to anyone’s plate but they were there for me. All of them saved me. Their prayers, support and love kept me hanging on. I didn’t want to disappoint them.
But at the same time, I was so embarrassed. I was ready to go so they won’t need to go out of their way for me. I already told God I was ready to be with Him if my mission was over.
Yesterday, the aunt whose husband passed, shared with me her admiration for her husband’s faith as she held her tears from falling, she said, “His faith in the Lord was on a different level than ours. He was ripe for the picking. He is now with the Lord.” This brought tears to my eyes. I pressed her hand and excused myself. My tears began to well up. I didn’t want her to see but before she let me go, she reminded me I’m here for the kids.
God used her to speak to me. I was wondering why I’m still here. I knew my kids needed me but there are other reasons why I questioned the relevance of my existence. I’m permanently altered and will never be the same again.
More than that, I’m a “screwed-up” person, honestly. My wit and emotion are always in constant struggle between right and wrong; between circumstances and consequences.
I am UNRIPE, still undeserving of heaven. I am definitely sure of this now. Many things need to be done, not for me, but for people who are in this life with me. Now, I want to live so I won’t break their hearts. I am responsible for many.
I need to complete my part in this WHOLE I am in. I need to do what I am called for, whatever it might be, wholeheartedly. Life is a battle, we fight or surrender but I forgot that in everything, whether fighting or surrendering, I have to give my whole heart too.
Now, I have one more to add to myBucket List:
#9 : To become ripe for our Lord’s picking.
My favorite song in church choir is in Filipino, “Walang sino man ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang…Tayong lahat ay may pananagutan sa isa’t-isa. Tayong lahat ay tinipon ng Diyos na kapiling Niya.” (Translation: No man lives for himself alone. We are responsible for others. God gathered us to do this with and in Him.)
To work towards ripeness is among my goals now. Hoping that when the mission is over, I would be ripe and earn the privilege of spending eternity in Heaven.