Archive for February, 2013

Love Conquers All

A cliche…an overused phrase, but I’m going to use it anyway.
I am quite ambivalent, debating whether I will write this article or not, as I know it will create contrasting reactions or opinions, some may raise their eyebrows, others may frown. However, the basic reason that prompted me to write this, is to paint a picture to share, of what I personally saw and observed, not to mention the information that i got first hand during my conversation with one of the persons involved. Please don’t jump into conclusions or be judgmental until you have read this article into its entirety.

Over 40 years…that’s the length of time that this male couple had been together (there…I spilled out the beans). If my math is correct, they’ve been together since the 1970’s. If my memory serves me right, during those times, this type of relationship was a highly controversial and sensitive issue; frowned by, rebuffed by society. For sure this couple weathered through life’s up’s and down’s, and faced the challenge on how to “fit in”. Against all odds, here they are, after more than 40 years, still holding on together, flame of love still burning.

Eight months ago, one of the partner was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Despite of the not so promising feedback and various negative medical opinions that they sought, they went ahead to try palliative treatments, all to no avail. He now lives at home and is being taken cared of by his partner; together they live and battle for the inevitable, taking life one day at a time.

I could see the tears welling down his cheeks, I could feel the emotion bottled inside his chest, ready to explode like a shaken champagne, as we talked in their dining room table, while his dying partner is hanging on for dear life in their bedroom.
“Not many are lucky to find their soulmate. I am. I did not will nor expect this to happen…it just did. I have never been so happy and fulfilled in my life, all these years. We have a wonderful life together. He had given me so much, more than i could ask for. And if I am to choose to live my life again, I will never change any part of it. I love him so much, it hurts to see him like this…suffering. Part of me wants to let go of him to end his pain, his misery, but I’m not ready…not yet. I don’t want to close my eyes to sleep, afraid that when I wake up, he has left me without saying goodbye. Call me selfish, but I could not imagine life without him.”

Wow! My jaw just dropped, while I listened to him. His words were so honestly spoken from the heart. As a hospice nurse, I pride myself to be always ready to deal with emotions. Not this time. All I could do was look at him; I could not even find the right words to say. Here I am, face to face with someone who did not even have second thoughts of baring his feelings about one special man, the love of his life, his one true love.
Indeed, love conquers all…
If this is not Love, unconditional Love, then what is?

Mon Feb 18, 2013

Tea For Two

Ebtisam(not her real name) came from the middle eastern part of the globe. Some 45 years ago, her family: husband, wife, and three children, with ages ranging from 3-9 years old, broke roots from a place she termed as “stagnant”, and replanted themselves in what she called the “land of the free and the home of infinite possibilities and opportunities.” To start a life in a country so distinctly different from where they came from, was a challenge. They had to learn how to speak and understand the language; they had to blend in and adapt to change…they had to survive in an entirely different environment. Needless to say, as years passed by, their family was able to adapt, cope, and aimed for the so-called “American Dream”, just like the many hopeful and determined immigrants who came to America with a vision to find, and strive for a better future.

That was then…Now, all her children are grown-up, successful in their chosen career, and have a busy family life and a home of their own. She and her husband are nearing their twilight years. Both of them are retired and receiving monthly Social Security checks. Her husband, although still able to walk with the aid of a cane and do some household chores, is no longer capable of providing personal care to her, let alone carry or assist her in transfers. She is wheelchair-bound. Her husband and children made the hardest and heart-wrenching decision to have her be admitted to live in a skilled nursing facility, where her needs can be catered 24-7. She hesitantly agreed, as at this point in time, it would be the best option.

One item that she could not part with and brought with her when she transferred to the nursing home, was a pair of Royal Albert teacup and saucer set. This piece of china ware was the very first precious possession that she purchased as soon as was able to save enough money. She said that she bought it from a second-hand store near the place where they lived in San Francisco. It was still in good condition, almost new. For so many decades, she and her husband uses it every day to drink their morning tea. Even with meager means, they make it a point to have tea as part of their morning after meal drink, and using such a beautiful tea set makes her every day worthwhile. To her, this tea set serves as a common and strong bond between her and her husband.

Even when she is already living in a skilled nursing facility, they still continue their morning tea rendezvous. Four times a week, her husband never fails to visit her, arriving at around nine on the morning, bringing a freshly brewed tea in a thermos jug. From her room, he will wheel her in a corner table in the facility’s dining area. He will take out their special cup and saucer tea set, each piece delicately wrapped with a soft cloth, in a wooden box. She then carefully sets the pair on the table, pours tea, and facing each other, starts to savor the liquid; happiness and contentment can be seen in their faces while they talk and drink their morning tea…just the two of them, just like the old times.



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