What would you do if you are given a second chance to re-build your life? Would you cherish it and change the way you live your life?
Last week, I received an urgent message from my boss that one of my colleagues was admitted to hospital after having difficulty in talking for 20 minutes. My first reaction was that this could be a symptom of stroke but thankfully it was determined that it was a blood clot as a result of head trauma that he sustained last month during an overseas trip.
On my way home, a lot of things went through my mind. I am in my mid-thirties and being a sole bread-winner with two young kids, what would happen to my dependents if I am down with a severe stroke? It would be good if I had a quick death but what if I survived but became a burden instead to my loved ones? Perhaps many people would dismiss such worrying thoughts as being too pessimistic. However, such an unfortunate tragedy did happen to my father.
Unlike my colleague, my late father was not so fortunate and was not given a second chance. He survived the stroke but permanently lost control of his left side of his body. At the tender age of 38, there was a terrible blow to him. Just imagine losing half your body functions at the peak of your career. Overnight, dad lost everything. Including his dignity, ego and pride. To top it off, he received very little education and was the family sole bread-winner. Under such dire circumstance, the prospect of having to feed three young children, an aging mother and a housewife when partially handicapped can drive even the most normal person depressed.
My dad’s stroke had certainly changed our family’s lives and left a profound impact in our lives. I know that there are certainly people who suffer a worse fate than my late father but it is important to go through the same ordeal before making such a judgement. It is very difficult to relate the kind of emotional, mental and physiological torture that dad went through but as his son, I saw it on a daily basis. He became a changed person and was always frustrated. For the past twenty years, he had been hoping against all hopes for the cure of stroke, even until his deathbed. Seeing him in such state often saddened me. Sometimes I just wished I had the ability to heal him back to his former self, but I knew it was impossible. Sometimes, I just wished that as a kid, I should had been more sensible and sensitive to my father’s pains. This was the person whom I loved so much, yet I could not do anything for him.
My father was my hero because he had the courage to live on and tackle the obstacles that life threw at him. I admire him for not giving up and having the incredible will to live on and supported us. To this, I can say that my father’s love for us was unconditional. Even when he was down with stroke, he still ensured that there was food on the table for all of us. We didn’t receive any handouts from the government. Even if there were welfare handouts, I didn’t think we would ever qualify for them because we are talking about Singapore in the early nineties, when Mr Lee Kuan Yew was still in power. He deplored social welfare and expected everyone to fend for himself, even if you were critically ill. Those were really the dark days for my family because there were a lot of uncertainties and unknowns facing us. We didn’t have any social support at all and with no income source, how are we going to survive based on the little savings my parents had?
Of course nobody owe us a living. My father’s story reinforced in me that if something terrible had happened to oneself, we must accept and face it bravely. Sometimes fate can be really cruel and dealt you a set of bad cards. But it is important to persevere and press on with life. There is no point wallowing in self pity because doing so would not change things.
My father passed away two years ago and for me, I think it was a form of relief for him as he was a tireless fighter trapped in a malfunction body. Nonetheless, I respect my father, because his life embodied the indomitable fighting spirit that never failed to amaze me. I really hope that after what he went through, he would go to heaven because no one on earth should deserve such horrible fate for such a long time.
SG Wealth Builder