Thursday, July 12, 2007

Last Words

Quote of the day: Eat well, live well, die anyway.

Two of my father's good friends died of cancer.

One was a male lawyer who succumbed to colon cancer in his thirties. At that time, I was in my early teens I think. During his chemo treatment, he'd still go out with my dad and I, to shopping malls just to walk around. The last time we hung out, he had a excretion bag with him. I didn't know what it was at that time. I remember him as a positive and lively person. Even when he was sick, he carried on as usual, drank lots of carrot juice and still had the mood to go out.

His wife and him ended their marriage during his illness. I had a feeling it was his idea. Being a divorcee would sound better than a widow, perhaps. They didn't have any children.

One day, he had to stay in bed, and for many days after that until his last breath. My dad would visit him often. I followed him one time.

He had this hospital bed in his room, with tubes and a machine beside it. He had grown so small. I never apprehended how fragile our bodies could be.

I was alone with him in the room. I just sat beside him and watched him breath heavily and slowly. He looked tired. Then he turned to me and asked me the weirdest question I have ever heard. " Will you call me papa?"

As a pre-teen girl, I was stunned. I hesitated for an answer, but never gave any eventually. That is the biggest regret in my life. I could have made a dying man's dream come true, but I was too naive.

Those were his last words to me.

Another was a lady friend, actually the wife of one of my father's good friends.

Her name was May. She succumbed to lung cancer just a couple of years ago. I never visited her, because the family kept it very private.

I did spend a few good years growing up with her three children. Almost every weekend was spent either at their big luxury home, or at the club, learning tennis and swimming.

They were rich. They lived in a huge bungalow in a prime housing estate and drove luxury cars. Everytime I went to their home, I felt a little small. I even had to check if my nails were clean because it would be embarrassing if I made their cushions dirty or something.

The last time I saw her was during the small wedding reception I had in JB. She looked perfectly normal to me. I remembered her strappy shoes. She told me that the songs I played that night was fantastic.

Those were her last words to me.

Last words that last...

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