Yesterday, I went to meet a sick cousin who has been terminally ill and perhaps seeing his last days. I felt I had to see him to say goodbye. He was skin and bones. Only his eyes remained in tact. ‘Thank you for coming’, he whispered in between hard breaths. ‘How is life and your family’, he went on between his breaths. I just gaped at him taking in his bony arms, his sunken face while his wife quickly covered his frail body with a thin quilt.
‘I want to sit up’, he said. So he was propped up. He continued, ‘The doctor said no more chemo.’ Those eyes looked at me again. His wife and son looked tired, bewildered. He had been suffering for five long years. He had improved and was walking about unaided when suddenly he contracted liver jaundice two weeks ago, they said. There is some hope if he survives the jaundice but he says, ‘I am fed up of boiled food, I want to eat well. They don’t give me good food now because I may get sick but I said I will eat and die, rather than die without proper food’.
This spells his frustration with life. I look down at my toes knowing not what to say. Those eyes look at me again, ‘There is no entertainment – I don’t watch TV.’ He is only 65.
I felt trapped, I was looking at a helpless man undergoing pain. ‘It hurts so bad at times’, he says. He wanted to connect with me, with life in general while his failing body was wilting away.
Perhaps the early morning sun will give him hope to face another day.