I had been resting in my room for a couple of hours, the lights were off, with total silence as my company. Migraine was eating my brain it felt like my skull was being torn open.
All of a sudden the door burst open with my brother standing by the door. He turned the lights on and kept calling my name to wake me up. I greeted him with a grumpy face, took a pillow on my side and covered my face to go back to sleep.
The light was killing my head.
But a statement from my brother made me forget the migraine.
“Ate tawag ka sa baba, punta ka kila Nanay, puntahan mo raw si Tsong Juan. Wala na kasi siya” he said.
It took me a second to realize what he said. In a few minutes I was there in the house next door, in my bedridden uncle’s room. My fingers went to feel his radial artery for a beat, there was none. Then to his carotid artery, there was none. With my stethoscope on I listened for a heartbeat, there was none. I am no doctor so I could not declare but I told them I could hear none. All of us knew, a doctor wasn’t really needed that time. They placed a cross to rest on his chest. It was the nighttime of the first day of January. Tatay Juan is dead.
It did not come as a surprise for all of us. In fact the doctor has told my cousins (his children) about the poor prognosis months before and even told them that if ever my uncle needed to be brought to the hospital again for a certain complication, it would be better not to, to save resources and save his energy as well. Staying at home, with the whole family surrounding him, would be the best option.
I was only left amazed when I heard the whole story. Weeks ago, the elderly in our family were talking about the condition of Tatay Juan and they even mentioned that if ever ‘it’ happens, they hoped that the celebrations have already ended by then.
And that’s what exactly happened, right after all the celebrations, he’s gone.
Tatay Juan fought for a merry celebration of Christmas and New Year for the family. He fought and waited for the whole family to be present (because one of his children lives in Singapore and only comes home for the Christmas and New Year celebrations). His body was very weak, even the surgeons told they haven’t seen complications as bad as that of uncle’s. Still, uncle fought bravely to last that long.
And I was only left amazed. How brave he was. And how loving he was to keep fighting for the sake of the whole family. And our dear Lord is ever so loving to keep uncle company, keeping him as strong as he managed to be.
It made me ponder on this for quite a while. Uncle had been suffering from paralysis due to stroke for quite a very long time (more than 4 years). He fed through the naso-gastric tube and he peed through the catheter. He wasn’t able to talk, he wasn’t able to move. He was only moaning if in pain or smirking if something’s funny. But lately he had become numb, he wasn’t able to feel his bedsores for a long while.
It made me think, for the long time that he could not have a conversation with anybody, he must had only been having conversations with God, only with Him. And he must have had shared good laughs and great talks with God that God loved him so much more He accompanied him until the time he wanted to stay, to grant the wish of everyone, especially his spouse, Nanay Embing.
The moment when ‘it’ happened, Nanay was there with Tatay Juan, she was talking to him. It was my cousin Kuya Deng who told me that Tatay Juan had a short moment of shallow and fast breathing, almost gasping for air. A drop of tear fell from one of his eyes before he finally closed them. At that time, Nanay knew.
As a nurse, I never saw a death of a person as peaceful as what happened. But I know Nanay and my cousins are grieving for their loss. Especially Nanay who has dedicated so much of her time and energy caring for him. It’s calming to see Nanay as composed as she is now, it is truly very admirable of her.
The tears were shed that time, but all were calm and all were at peace. We’re all glad that uncle’s suffering has ended and he is with God now. We will keep praying. 🙂