If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you would’ve known that my Dad isn’t doing particularly well – health-wise. He had a series of strokes in the past, he’s diabetic and also has high blood pressure. The stroke left him unable to use his right arm, and being bed-ridden and wheelchair-bound everyday has also sapped away his spirit. He was still as stubborn as ever, though and demanded Mum to help him from time to time. The children know now that the clinginess is due to the fact that he missed his motherly love. My paternal grandma was a tough lady who survived her widowhood by working hard and ensuring that all of her children got a good life – which she achieved at the end. However, this tough love also robbed my Dad of a loving maternal relationship, which left him clingy and insecure.
Three weeks ago I was informed that Dad had been hospitalised – he had to have his gall bladder removed as it had caused him a lot of pain. The doctor couldn’t do any laparoscopic surgery as Dad’s heart wasn’t very strong so they had to do it in an old-fashioned manner by major surgery. While the team managed to get the gall bladder out along with numerous gall stones, the wound refused to heal and continued to bleed days after the surgery. The hospital decided to have the second operation to take care of the bleeding, and whilst this had fixed the problem, Dad continued to worsen. Last night, my fifth sister posted a picture of Dad in his hospital room – all swollen due to the liquid retention. My other sisters also updated me with Dad’s condition – my third sister mentioned that due to the swelling, Dad had found it hard to drink. He also wept and clinged to the visitors a lot. I asked her whether Dad had truly accepted Christ, to which my sister replied affirmatively. That gives me some relief – a drop of hope in the situation of despair. Juli – my third sister – also asked Dad whether he believed in Jesus, to which he said yes. She then asked him to call on His name – which he did feebly and with difficulty.
This morning I received several missed calls and frantic messaging in my Facebook – Dad apparently had a crisis at 8.00 local time. His heart stopped beating. The doctors revived him, but his breathing needs to be assisted now and he’s still unconscious. That numbness and early stage of grief is knocking at my door again. I just don’t know what to do or feel, really – all I can do is pray. I don’t like thinking about booking a flight home, facing the sadness and the collective grieving that I know I need to have. At the moment I am waiting for the decision from my siblings whether I should head back to Indonesia or not.
Whilst I believe in miracles and the power in prayer, I believe that when it is God’s time, we simply don’t have the bargaining power to argue with Him. I can only say, “Let Your will be done, Lord. You know the best.” Dad had lived a full life – all of his children are successful in our own right. He is blessed with smart, healthy and beautiful grandchildren. He has travelled back to China once for a holiday along with Mum and my late brother Handy, thanks to my second sister Lina. As mentioned in various blog posts before, I’ve never been close to my Dad – I don’t think any of the children is. Dad wants to be loved so much, but he just can’t express it in a language that any of the children understand. Each of us end up having our own issues with him, from favouritism, bitterness to a deep seething rage. We all realise now that Dad has done all the best that he can to relate to us. He loves us so much that he can only express in a manner that he knows how. I am forever thankful that God allowed the children to have our one and only family retreat in 2008, where the children had the chance to wash Mum and Dad’s feet and asked for their forgiveness and vice versa. God is a good God.
It’s quite funny as well that even as a grown-up who hasn’t asked Mum or Dad any advice for major decisions, I have always felt secure knowing that they are alive and well. The possibility of Dad leaving us soon has made me a bit contemplative. It’s like having your old favourite security blanket taken away from you – even if you haven’t used it recently. It’s a reminder that the cycle of life continues on – generations upon generations.
So I’m waiting now – with a heavy heart. My plea is for God to grant him strength and more time – another week, another month or another year – if it is at all possible. However, at the end of the day, Dad had lived a good life and it’s God’s sole prerogative to call him back home.