"There it was, on her neck, red and angry, almost pulsing under the sunlight."
"Mama, that could well be a tumour. Please ask her to see the doctor."
"She doesn't want. She's just ignoring it."
"Throat cancers are common, Mama. Please ask your friend to see the doctor. Does she have kids?"
"Nope, she doesn't. Married a Frenchman who passed away. Got together with a Singaporean and there were many conflicts. Didn't dare to go for their family outings. Lots of drama, kind of like Channel 8 shows."
"Just ask her to see the doctor, really."
The way my mum described that unknown growth on her friend's neck, it was chilling.
Hers was the dismissive voice of someone who had seen death too frequently. It no longer held any sway over her. It was something to be examined with a scientific curiosity, an unfortunate side-effect of entering this world.
True, we're all fated to die, with rot accumulating in our bodies, our cells, with every breathe we take. We're waiting to implode, our organs faltering and failing.
But we're like other organisms - we don't die, not without a fight. There is this universal thirst to live, to propagate, to survive. Even an ant would struggle not to drown.
So, why do people seek their deaths? Why doesn't that lady seek medical counsel?
Perhaps not seeking professional advice was her way to avoid a problem. Escapism, the ostrich mentality, the if-I-don't-see-it-then-it-doesn't-exist-paradigm. Perhaps she wants to while away her life because she has nothing to live for.
I really don't know.
Recently, one friend told me about the putrid tumour decaying on a stranger's neck. He saw this while chatting with patients in the local hospital. His story is achingly similar to this doctor's recount of how one patient died in the hospice,
Our patient had severe cancer of the neck. When bandaged, it was just a large lump on his neck. In fact, he looked normal. Even before he passed away, he was mobile - walking around and moving about.
When the nurse removed his bandage, you could observe the tumor disintegrating. It was rotting and smelling, a festering boil. His mother had never seen the bare tumor - it would be just too traumatic. To look after him, his mother visited him frequently.
If you're dying – you people are still young – but, if you’re dying, there’ll be all sort of questions in your mind. Have you lived your life well? What are the regrets you have? The meaning in your life, the meaning of existing? Questions with no clear answers.Even though so many people die everyday, even though we've never met, I'm worried for this lady.
|Someone with neck cancer. |
Source credit: just-cancer.com