Sunday, 29 August 2010

Realities of life

Mum wasn't in her best spirits when we saw her last weekend. She's not the type who reads the obituaries section but for some reason, she glanced that morning to discover that a dear friend (old classmate and neighbour) had passed away.

My uncle came to visit mum on Saturday, looking visibly thinner. Like most people in their 70s, he is suffering from a host of ailments ranging from hypertension to diabetes. It was news about their old auntie, who must be in her 90s, that saddened mum the most.

My uncle spoke about the pitiful auntie in a nursing home, who is all alone in this world (widow with no kids) and suffering from a rare condition that left her fists permanently clenched until the palms had begun to rot. When my uncle fed her some biscuits, she bit into them hungrily like she hasn't eaten in days.

It broke mum's heart to learn about the plight of her once capable and healthy auntie. "What's the use of living to a ripe old age when you're suffering so much? It's not the right way to measure longevity." Mum often lament.

My younger brother arrived later than usual. "This has been a bad week!", he sighed.

Just hours ago at their company function, one of his staff was rushed to the hospital because of a heart attack. Several days earlier, a clerk who had worked for the company for 29 years died of sudden relapse of stomach cancer. In her state of delirium, she kept repeating, "I want to go back to the office to work."

That scene, according to my brother, was so heartbreaking. Yet it is becoming more familiar as we can't stop the clock from ticking.

3 comments:

Nick Phillips said...

"What's the use of living to a ripe old age when you're suffering so much?"

You know, your mom does raise an interesting point there.

JY said...

I see it a lot now in my current job. It never gets any easier, but makes you realize the importance of health and of family!

auntielucia said...

Having a mother who's 86/7 and not in the best of health in mind n body, I've also heard similar comments fm her, whenever things don't go well. I always tell her, age is a blessing and since she can still eat well and drink a glass of wine, she must believ it is better to be alive than dead.

As for your grandaunt's hand: it happens to many old pple. I think it comes from dis-use. Google Mudrahs and practise those hand exercises? They might help? I'm making my mum practise them, after noticing that an elderly neighbour (90+) with her hands all clenched..