October 10th, 2008
It’s been a long day.
Did okay on my English test, played some badminton with friends, indulged in a blended lemonade from Starbucks, and got actual work done. Pretty averagely good day so far.
Then it’s 4:45 pm and it’s time for me to head over to volunteering at the local children’s hospice. I volunteer there every week, and I always look forward to my time there because it is always filled with an unexplainable kind of satisfaction and happiness. Today, I went in the same as usual, saw the delicious home-made pizzas that the chef made for dinner, said hello to a few volunteers from the previous shift, and walked into the volunteer room to sign in. Upon signing in, I also read the messages in my inbox that update me on everything that goes on, in and around the hospice. The very first message that I read notified me of a death.
In the past, I got these messages not infrequently, and many times I hardly felt any sorrow because I did not even know the child. But this time, it was very different.
Over the last two months, I’d seen this family many times. Wonderful parents, a compassionate 7-year-old girl, and a pair of adorable 3-year-old twins. Boy twins. One healthy, and the other plagued by cancer. It wasn’t difficult to tell which boy was sick; he was always the one in Bob-the-Builder pyjamas, carrying a little pack on his back with tubes sticking out, and clutching his dad’s hand with his own small, weak ones. He never ever let go, as if he were afraid that his father would leave him.
During my volunteering shifts in this period of time, I have spent many hours with this little boy’s older sister and twin brother. The sister is the most caring little girl I have ever met; she is so mature for her age, and she helps to take care of younger brothers. She also has an amazingly free spirit, and always wants to explore and learn new things. The twin brother(not sick) is such an adorable boy; once he knows that you are there to keep him company, he never lets you out of his sight. If you don’t play with the coloured blocks like he told you to, he will lead you by the hand back to the blocks and make you play. This little boy always seemed to have a never-ending supply of love for everyone, even for mere volunteers like me. Last week, he crawled up onto the couch to where I was sitting and gave me a big hug, seemingly spontaneously. I loved playing and spending time with these two wonderful children.
So now you can understand why I was so unhappy and distraught when I heard about the passing of the sick twin boy. This child left his tired body last night, but as he did so, he also left behind his loving family. As I do not have a direct intimate relationship with this family, it is unfathomable how much pain each member must feel. Mother, father, grandparents, aunts and uncles…but more importantly, in my opinion, his big sister and twin brother. It must be so difficult to have a loss of a sibling at such a young age. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to have my own brother gone from me forever.
But I mustn’t dwell too long on this sadness, or else I will be depressed for too long. The little boy was in much pain, and in a way, I am glad that he did go. His family will undoubtedly be plagued by insomnia and sorrow, but life goes on, and they will eventually carry on with their lives.
Now that the sick boy is gone, his family will no longer return to the children’s hospice for long-term stays. This means that I may never see his two siblings ever again, so I wish them all the best and good luck.
Dear FS, may you rest in peace.