My first Magazine - Page 22

Serving with Nothing How has your experience with the dying impacted you? People often like to ask me, “Sister, how can you manage being with the dying? Death is so depressing.” But I say, “No lah!” So I tell them that it is my privilege to be with the patients till their last breath. Actually, being with the dying helps me to live my belief. The trust that I have in God has strengthened. For me, I say that I have no fear of dying. So many up there (in heaven) will welcome me! There were a few times when I was seriously ill but not yet dying. I have been involved in some freak accidents. Once, I underwent a ten hour brain surgery but still came out alive. Another time, I got into a car accident. Someone said that my time is not up yet. 20 | St Joseph’s Home Being with the dying and the dead, and their family members has mellowed my temper a lot. God has changed me to allow my experience of forgiveness to overflow to others. When I was still in school, I can be angry at a friend for a long time. Even when my friend was happy to meet me, I would still be angry at her for something that happened a few months ago. Now, I am different. How do you interact with patients of a different religion? We treat them all the same. Once, there was a Muslim lady that was dying. I befriended her and addressed her with her religion. I told her to be open to receive God’s forgiveness and to be always thankful for God’s gifts to her, such as her family and her children. Sometimes, we will arrange for the Buddhist monk to come down if the patient is a Buddhist. I believe that there is salvation for everyone. One time, I cared for a dying prisoner. I could feel God’s love for him. Even the police officers who stayed at his bedside cried because they could feel God’s love too. Someone who wants to do this job must be very convinced of God’s love. We do this job not for conversion, but for the patient to recognise the Creator so that the patient can die peacefully. These are all very touching stories. I never had much interaction with the dying, not even with my own grandparents. I was very upset when my grandmother died. I was passing by my home the day before but I dared not visit because I did not have permission to go home... My mother and my father died within ten months of each other. When my mum was dying, I was there with my siblings. My father did not want us to visit him because he knew that we were still greiving from the death of my mother. I remember that I just came back from Africa when my father was dying. When I reached Singapore, I went straight to the hospital and stayed with him for four days. On the fourth night, I decided to head home for a shower. I left the hospital at about 7.10am to wait for a cab along the main road. Then I got a call from the hospital telling me Dad has passed on. It was 7.25am. Sometimes, I ask myself: why can I be with dying strangers but not my father? But these are all God’s plans for me. StJ