H was laid on a thin mattress in a room on the 3rd floor of a low cost housing area. eyes staring vacantly into space. drowning lungs gasping for air. a smelly, fungating wound over her right breast. a gaping wound on her right arm. tell tale signs of her losing battle with breast cancer. what seems worse was that she has no loved ones around her, save for an indifferent maid employed by her brother, who was too busy with his business to take care of her.
i remember not too long ago, she shared that her husband was chased by “ah longs” (loansharks). out of her love, she paid the rm900 loan with her life savings. even though she needed it for her medical expenses, she gave it anyway. now, her husband had forsaken her. abandoned her. left her to fend for her life, literally.
we asked for her permission to admit her into the ward for respite care. she nodded. there was so much she wanted to tell us. i could see it from her eyes, her facial expression. the last thing i said to her was, “talk to God in your heart, tell Him”. she nodded.
i saw C‘s picture in the daily express. it was the notice of her demise. i could not recognize her at all. the picture staring back at me was that of an attractive female, with long curly hair and fleshy cheeks.
the last time i saw her was right before the harvest festival holidays. she was bald and skinny. she was tired from fighting cervical cancer for the past 2 years. after operation, chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer prevailed. she, too, had a huge fungating wound over her perineum region.
however, she was showered with tender loving care by her young husband. he was helpless and devastated. it showed all over his face. yet, he was faithful throughout the whole ordeal.
she past away peacefully after her wish to have a harvest festival celebration with close friends and family was fulfilled.