I can’t believe my friend died yesterday from cancer at 10:55 am. We had such a special bond between us. I met him in the hospital and we forged an unbreakable bond. It just goes to show, life is so fragile and we shouldn’t take things for granted.
Eddy and I met at the hospital. Our friendship was a unique story. I would watch in the afternoons, as other neighbors in the ward would walk up and down the hall. I watched in envy, as at that time, I was too weak to do anything. I was able to lean in a chair with wheels, but not healthy enough to use a wheelchair myself. Even to be rolled into the corridor or to sit still in the chair was so painful.
I had been admitted for spinal injury. No one ever knew if I ever had a chance to get out. The pain was immense red hot stabbing pain, burning the whole of my back, down through my legs, and back again. I couldn’t move no matter hard I tried to. Nerve pain is the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. To top it off, this type of pain confuses signals to the brain. My mind was willing, but the body would fail.
Sitting in the corridor I saw other patients walk up and down the hall. Particularly one patient caught my eye. He walked originally three times a day, reducing it to two times a day, to eventually once a day, to nothing. He was a fighter and my accountability buddy. I looked at him in envy and said, “ I’ll be so happy if one day I can walk like you.” He replied, “ You got to try everyday to move, and eventually you will move. Even if it’s not a lot, you must try.”
The times in the hospital were the hardest times for both of us. Our friendship was cruel in the way that I hated to see myself improve, as he got weaker. As my pain slowly went away, his grew stronger. As I learnt to move and eventually walk, he slowed down and became stagnant. There were so many times we were depressed, but motivated each other and uplifted each other. From exercising to eating, we made sure the other person was doing it. We wanted to see good done for the other person.
Our friendship was an unlikely friendship too, it felt like Tuesdays with Morrie. Though our journeys were different, we connected through our struggles. He was in his late 50s, as I had just turned 24 when I met him, and now 25. Our friendship lasted over a year, he came one month after I had arrived. More over when we first met, we spoke to each other in Cantonese, and then laughed when we found out that it was neither of our native tongues. After digging deeper, I found out he was Taiwanese, and so we conversed in Mandarin, that was so much easier than Cantonese for both of us.
Life is such that we never know what’s around the corner. I didn’t want the inevitable to happen for he was sick. I wanted to believe, that somehow he could pull through no matter what.
When I was discharged from the hospital, we still were very much in contact. We called each other, and I would visit him almost every time after I went to physiotherapy. This one time I visited him in the chemotherapy room, I didn’t know it was going to be my last time seeing him in person. His wife was very excited and told me I had to hear some good news from Eddy, himself. This was the first time and only time we shared a meal together. He told me he had found a transplant and was going to leave for Taiwan. I immediately congratulated and cheered him with our pesto-flavoured pizza.
Life is full of ups and downs. It is our choice to do how we see fit.
If I learnt anything from Eddy, it was this piece of advice from an honest man, “ Such is life. This is life. We must try bit by bit to do what we can, with the situation we’re in… if you try everyday, then you’ll for sure accomplish it.” With these encouraging words I try everyday.
What are you doing everyday to better yourself?