A dear friend of mine recently lost her mother due to a severe stroke. My friend has been studying abroad, far away from her Mom. When my friend came home, she had about a week with her Mom before the last day. My friend never thought it was the last time she could be with her Mom.
When my friend came back to study, I came over her place, say, to comfort her, but rather to listen and share her suffering. I was not sure that I could help her a bit but rather be suffered myself. I suffer when my friends suffer and when I can’t help their suffering, especially in life and death situations. I love my friend much, she is one of the purest friends of mine.
My friend, talking with me in tears many times, feels guilty for not taking care of her Mom enough, she blames herself that if she had arrived home earlier, her Mom could have been alive. She suffers so much that sometimes she tells me that she finds no motivation to keep going for her Mom is her life.
I can truly empathize with her pain. I understand what she has been through since I’ve been in exact circumstances as my friend has. We are living so far away from Mom, working for the last stressful stage of the PhD study (running out of time and financial support). Then our Moms collapsed, both were with the second time stroke.
But I feel much more blessing since my Mom is still alive but her Mom is not.
I’ve repeatedly told my friend that “Please don’t be too hard to yourself, give you some more time to heal. It took me almost a year to overcome,…”
My friend asked me, why are you sad? Why do you have to feel guilty?
My dear, how could I not be sad, how could I not be suffered?
It has taken me almost a year to “accept” the suffering that my Mom has been endured being paralyzed after her severe stroke. And still the suffering comes after me from time to time.
I don’t blame myself hard or anything but I did feel guilty for not taking care my Mom enough throughout her illness . I do feel guilty for being away from home, busy with my life and not paying enough attention to my Mom’s illness development.
I knew and I did worry that the stroke could attack my Mom someday again. But I didn’t expect that someday came at one of the most stressful times of my life. Neither I knew how much suffering we would endure ahead.
I truly realize that self-resentment, self-blame or seeking to put the blame on anything doesn’t help to release the suffering in me, neither in my Mom. Since there is nothing to blame for.
The day when I knew that my Mom was in hospital, I chokingly talk to Jesus and Buddha. “My Lords, I entrust to you that you will save my Mom again, but is this truly your will to make this circumstance for me to overcome?”
Let me tell you, I might say I can totally understand the Suchness of birth, ageing, illness and death as the Nature of Life and Death, I’ve witnessed the loss of the love one in my family, my relatives and friends, but I can only see its Nature when I witness my Mom overnight turn into complete disability, not able to talk, not able to move.
At time, I couldn’t help myself but asking God, why it has to be my Mom, why my Mom has to suffer all of these pains? Has her life not suffering enough?
At time, I feel my heart so burden seeing how big my Mom’s – my hero’s – emotional struggle is.
Though I have my Mom alive, at times, I did feel like I am an orphan, with a simple thought that Mom will not be able to cook anymore meal for me when I come home. Like my little nephews, they are so sad for a simple reason that there will be no one to give them weekly treats of potato chips, since my Mom was the only one in my family who they could ask to indulge them with their favorite snack.
At time, to comfort my family, I boldly said that I am prepared for my Mom’s departure (from this life) anytime and will regret nothing. But I know, the child-me will never be prepared enough for the day.
Let me tell you, out of all those suffering, truly I tell you, how blessed I feel about who I am. The circumstances have given me strength to grow ever more, to realize the treasure within.
I have precious time to be with and taking care of my Mom that many children don’t have a chance in their lives.
When my Mom is able to speak few simple words of Yes, No, I can share the joy of all parents when hearing their baby utter the first words.
When my Mom is able to get up from the bed slowly by herself, I can feel the joy of any parents watching the first crawl of their babies.
I’ve (inconveniently) become a real medical doctor, so do my Mom and my family and, thanks to that. I discover many therapies for stroke recovery that I didn’t know before, neither did the practicing doctors from the hospitals I’ve met (Well, I’d rather not tell the doctors things they don’t know. No doctor wants to hear that).
I am quite confident to be certified for a professional home nursing job (except the injection) that I often proudly joke with my Mom.
I realize that my family is far more lucky than many poor patients who can’t afford medical fees for such kind of severe illness. I feel hurt when thinking of that.
I am proud of the kids in my big family. There were days my 13-year-old niece and my 11-year-old nephew took care of my Mom when my family couldn’t find yet a home caregiver for my Mom in the day time. I deeply admire those kids when watching them being with my Mom over Skype. At their ages, I could say, I was mostly “useless” but only enjoying my life, playing and studying hard. At their ages, all I wanted was to be a forever kid so that I wouldn’t need to care whatever out there in the adult world.
I can’t be more grateful for many helping hands from relatives and friends offered to my family during a challenging time. Some collected medical herbs for my Mom to bath, some kept going back and forth the hospital while I had not reached home yet, some brought medicine from abroad for my Mom,… and friends offered their wholehearted prayers. And many more little, simple and healing act of caring.
When I am talking to you, the fact that my Mom is still alive is like a rebirth to me. The recovering is taking much time, slow but steady. To me, it is a miracle. And that I can share with you both suffering and joy is a blessing. Many lonely people in this crazy world nowadays don’t have any friend to share for even a little joy.
I can see that when I am truly at peace, my Mom is at peace. I am not separated from my Mom however the distance is. That’s what I keep telling my friend while she keeps worrying for not knowing what kind of world her Mom is now dwelling in.
I still am and I will be a forever child to my Mom living in a grown-up body, yet my Mom’s circumstance is a gift for me, to grow internally and deeply.
I truly have no pride of the circumstance which indeed gives me much suffering, but out of suffering is truly the gift that has given to me. In any circumstances, God always gives me chance to see His blessing.
The utmost out of all suffering is that I am comforted. The Lord always opens His arms for me in any matters, yet in the times of much suffering I am ever more connected with Him, for I am comforted.
So, my friends, don’t hide your suffering. No need to endure alone your suffering, or to run away from it. Mourn your suffering, talk it out to your Lords. For you shall be comforted, for you shall be healed.
There is time for everything and God always give us enough time. Truly I tell you, if you are facing unbearable hardship and profound suffering, doors of deep, strong and miraculous personal and spiritual growth are wide open ahead of you, even without you knowing it.