Heartbreaking Weeks

My uncle died yesterday. The uncle that I mentioned to be terribly sick in the last post. I thought it was tragic. It all happened pretty fast and heartbreaking. He died like 1 month from the day he decided to go to the hospital because he's really not feeling well with what I think is digestion issue. It turned out he had stomach cancer. This writing may not be accurate since I wasn't there to get first hands news. The doctor said it's not operable and it had spread to his lungs. I did ask my mom if they should get another opinion, that was one very heartbreaking conversation with my mom because I think she cried. Hearing your parents cry I think is more heartbreaking that a parent hearing their child cry. Based on the little information I had from that conversation with mom, I spent the next day googling about cancer and stuff. It's very sad because the awareness and education of cancer in Indonesia is not very high and so cases like my uncle is discovered all too late. I also began to wonder if the technology to really help these cases just doesn't exist in Indonesia. In my phone call with mom, she posed a question if human can live without a stomach. Based on watching things like Grey's Anatomy, I thought it's a possibility, but I didn't answer her question based on knowledge found in TV. It is possible by the way and it's one of the treatment for stomach cancer, but that is when the patient is not in the advanced stage. Since my uncle's lungs had been affected, I assumed he's in the final stage and there's no cure for that and from what I gathered the treatment is palliative chemotherapy. I have never seen anyone I know going through chemo but from stories it seems pretty rough and it does make me wonder why one would go through that if it's not going to make any difference.

So my uncle got discharged last Saturday and he died yesterday. As I am writing this, I am trying not to cry. It's all very tragic. My mother met him the evening before his death and she also spent the weekend in his house. When the family got the verdict from the doctor, they feel at least it's not as sudden as my other uncle who just went into a coma after he fell. In a way, everyone had time to prepare, but as the past few weeks have been, it's all just very very heartbreaking. I tried to think of what memories I have with this uncle. When I was young and he and my aunt didn't have any children yet, I used to stay over at their house during holiday. I was like their practice child. I remember going to a movie with him, the two of us, but I couldn't remember what movie it was and if we watched the whole thing. Then I remember walking back to his house, we're passing through a cemetery and he told me not to run on top of the graves. That's a weird memory to have because I am not sure if there's even a cemetery around his house, but I think it really happened because how can a child conjure such a weird distinct memory. Perhaps the last interaction I had with him was last year (I think) during Chinese new year where I sat in his new house while everyone else were in the old house. It was just me and him watching his cable, I couldn't remember what conversation we had but I remember him telling me that my dad would love cable tv.

Really trying not to cry. I feel like I am always distanced and removed from the happenings at home because simply there's the literal distance. It does make me feel bad that it's like I don't feel more and also because I'm not there to help out. In my 14 years in Singapore, I have had grandpa died, 3 aunts from my dad's side, and now 2 uncles from my mom's side. Maybe I missed out on some people too. I didn't go home in any of those moments. My only adult experience in having to face death and funeral straight on is of Astley's. There are moments where I wonder if all these years of being alone here have caused me to be more and more heartless. It's selfish to feel this way, it's just being here I am spared from seeing my mom and other aunts and uncles in mourning. Again, seeing your elders cry is really really hard even though I know they are really really strong people mentally.

:) eKa @ 9:59:00 PM •


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