Mummy was scheduled for a check up at the UMSC on Monday, 08.10.07. I was at home with her on Friday for Mich’s (my sis) birthday. She seems normal, as she always was. At 10 am Monday, a nurse from HOSPIS Malaysia visited Mummy. Mummy really wanted to see her too, i was told by Daddy.
Upon seeing Mummy’s condition, the nurse advised that Mummy be admitted to hospital due to low oxygen levels in her body. So, when all arrangement were made, Mummy and Daddy went to UMSC in an ambulance.
Upon arrival, Mummy was checked into room 29. The doctor (which oddly, i have NEVER met before ever since Mummy was diagnosed) came by to see Mummy later in the evening. He said she looked a little bit thin and he would tap out some water from her tummy to help her breathe. Then he left.
(the tumor secretes water like fluid in the body, which takes up space and prevents the diaphragm to expand properly during inhale and exhalation, thus rendering breathing difficult without extra oxygen supply)
The next morning, the doctor came by again, did all the necessary. Mummy was complaining she had shortness of breath and asked for more oxygen supply. It was already at the maximum. Doctor suggested morphine to help Mummy relax so she could breathe better.
She refused. Alternatively, doctor proposed a lighter substance, and Mummy agreed.
Then the doctor called Daddy outside. He broke the news that Mummy only has about TWO HOURS left, and that Daddy should call the loved ones in immediately. I can’t even IMAGINE Daddy’s feeling at the point in time. Can you?
It must have been SO devastating, especially to Daddy, who’s been really praying for Mummy’s healing and hoping for a miracle. And so Daddy started calling the loved ones.
It was 10 am on Tuesday, when i was abruptly awoken from sleep by a call from Daddy. His voice sounded shaken and mellowed. He told me, “Son, do you have class today? I think you’d better miss your classes today and come be with your mum. she’s not doing too well..”.
For a moment there, i was stunned. All the thoughts ran wild in my mind. I replied, “Okay, i come now!”
I sprang up, got into my towel, and whisked away to the shower. I ran with my towel on, while silently praying and hoping that nothing bad would happen before i got to Mummy.
While Foong (my dear roommate) was still fast asleep, i quickly gathered my things and dashed to my car in record time. No time for breakfast and all. With a blink of an eye, i reached UMSC in PJ at 12.15 ish pm. (I left at 11.30 am on my Grease Lighting =P ).
When i arrived, Daddy and my 2nd aunt were already there. And there she was, my primary care giver — my Mummy. She was wearing an oxygen mask and laid on the hospital bed which was raised 45 degrees.
She was unconscious. Seeing Mummy like that, it broke my heart, literally. (although i didn’t instantly brake down to tears, was trying to be strong for Daddy.)
Her eyes were half open and they were covered with some sort of fluid, similar to cataract. Her head was resting on her favorite pillow which Daddy brought from home, but it was slightly tilting to the right, as if she had a stiff neck.
Her lips wasn’t closed tightly because it helped her breathe, but as a result, saliva drooled and filled the bottom part of the oxygen mask. By then, i was almost tearing, but fought back the tears very hard.
I sat on the chair on her left and held her thin, cold hand. I began rubbing her hand to keep her warm, while Daddy and aunt were rubbing both her legs, which were swelling due to water retention. Daddy told me to call on her. And i did. I said in Hokkien, “Mi, wa lai liao.. Khi lai la.. ok?” (Mi, I’m here already, Wake up la.. ok?).
As i uttered those words, tears began to stream down my eyes. I wasn’t crying like crazy (yet), but tears just keep rolling down my cheeks. I also said things like, “Mummy, wake up lah.. Open your eyes and see me. Im here with you. Ill be a good boy, ill take care of sister and Daddy, don’t you worry…”. (Mich who came later said similar things too)
I kept rubbing her hand and calling on her, and occasionally closed up to whispered into her right ear. She was unresponsive, but still breathing, rather heavily in fact.
And since I was on her left, and her head tilted slightly to the right, I could clearly see the vein on her neck beating with pulse. It was rather fast and irregular, while her chest was still showing signs of breathing. I kept a hawk’s eye on that vein.
Two sisters from Daddy’s church arrived, and they prayed for Mummy. They knew her quite well ever since Mummy started praying in church for healing. Moments later, Mich arrived with my 4th uncle.
As soon as she stood directly in front of Mummy, she froze. I mean, who wouldn’t? She looked at me and shook her head in both disbelieve and denial. She just couldn’t believe the Mummy that was still able to talk to her just yesterday is the Mummy that is now lying breathless in the hospital bed in front of her.
Dad told her to call onto Mummy too. She knelt on Mummy’s right side and started to shake Mummy’s right arm, attempting to wake Mummy up from her sleep. She kept on repeating in Hokkien, “mi.. mi.. ki lai la mi…” (Mi.. mi.. wake up la mi…). She kept on shaking Mummy’s arm as streams of tears ran down her cheeks.
I think the very sight of seeing a young daughter calling and calling and shaking her Mummy to wake her up disheartened almost everybody in that room, even the sisters. The sight was just so sad to bear. It was especially hard for Daddy too. I kept assuring Mich that Mummy would be okay, and that she’s just resting. I told her to keep calling onto Mummy. But she kept crying and shaking Mummy’s hand.
It came to one point when Mich eventually became exhausted of crying that she just knelt there beside Mummy, resting her forehead on Mummy’s arm, still, with slight sobbing. I was worried. Really, i was. While Daddy could get himself together and prepared for the worst, I wasn’t sure about Mich.
We kept rubbing Mummy and called on her since I arrived at 12.15. During that time, when the sisters prayed and commited Mummy into the hands of God, I hugged Mich and kept assuring her that everything’s gona be alright. We then continued to call onto Mummy, this time, both on Mummy’s right side.
Mummy’s head still tilted right, facing downwards. Kneeling beside my sister, I looked into Mummy’s eyes, and they were still with murky-cataract-like fluid. As we began to call her again, i saw a small movement..
Mummy slightly moved her head upwards!
It was in a manner similar to the way teenagers greet each other (eg. slightly jerking one’s head upwards when greeting a peer; often followed by raising one’s eyebrow while saying “What’s up?” or “Sup?”)
[sorry for the winding description, but i really want to describe what happened, so bear with me k?]
After the slight jerk, came a low, gargling noise, as if something was stuck in her throat. I thought she wanted to say something and would wake up. As i moved closer to try hear anything she wanted to say, I looked into her eyes again. And the most amazing thing happened.
For a moment, her eyes were clear as sky! The cataract like fluid was gone! In a split second, they were normal again! Overjoyed, I quickly called sister and Daddy to see. We all got a glimpse of her looking back at us. She couldn’t move or anything, but we were really blessed to be able to see eye-to-eye, despite her condition.
Sister noticed Mummy’s something about Mummy’s eyes and pointed out that she cried. A little bit of tears flowed down her eyes. I couldn’t believe what i was seeing with my eyes, right there in front of me!
We were so touched because we knew it was Mummy’s acknowledgment that she knew we loved her, and that she was happy and contented that were we all there with her in her final moments. Tears streamed even more as we were so moved by Mummy crying for us as a sign. But it all short-lived.
I didn’t take my eyes off Mummy. And in just a matter of seconds, her eyes which were clear as sky moments ago, was covered with cataract like fluid. It was then that told myself, “This is IT. Mummy’s gona pass on…”
I returned to Mummy’s left side and held her hand. It was cold. I kept on rubbing. I did not give up hope. Neither did Daddy or Mich. Daddy kept whispering to Mummy while stroking her hair. At the final moments, one could really see the love Daddy has for Mummy was so great.. it could melt the thickest iceberg!
I kept watch on the vein on her neck. It was beating slowly with a weak pulse and irregular. In between focusing on the vein and rubbing her hand and calling onto her, it suddenly struck me that Mummy chest wasn’t raising anymore. I didn’t believe it at first. I stared harder. And I stared at the vein. It had a pulse. I didn’t want to believe or accept that Mummy has passed on when the chest didn’t move. I just didn’t want to.
By this time, Daddy was already calling Mummy’s name out loud. Mich was with her forehead down on Mummy’s hand. She looked like she gave up all hope. It was the end.
When I finally put my right hand on her chest, I could no longer be in denial. Her chest didn’t rise, and i couldn’t feel her heartbeat, neither could i feel her pulse on her neck. That was it. Mummy has passed on very peacefully, it was as it she just went to sleep. In fact, in my mind, she did…
To think of it, it’s been 2 weeks since Mummy’s passing, and we still feel her presence at home with us. I truly hope this post would shed some light as to the feeling, emotions, and situation during those final moments…
They are truly worth remembering. Mummy, we miss you.