I wrote this on my fb page as I was really sad and needed an avenue to let it out.
"Never knew that being a volunteer can be so emotional draining, especially when a patient whom I know is dying. May he finds peace and seeks refuge in the all-compassionate One.
All my trivial problems pale in comparison. That's a good thing about volunteering - always help me to stay grounded and teach me valuable lessons about life."
Mr Tan (an AIDs patient) was really suffering for months. He was bedridden, and his skin turned red/black due to medicine allergy, he had a terrible diarrhea that he could not walk & had to put on diapers, he had developed terrible ulcers in his mouth and throat that he could not eat food. He was depressed and contemplated committing suicide. He was really suffering. AIDs is such a terrible disease.
Despite his suffering, Mr Tan would always greet the volunteers with a smiling face. He also told jokes to make the volunteers laugh.
Last Wednesday , Mr Tan was very frail when the 2 senior volunteers visited him (as we were informed that he was dying). The 2 senior volunteers guided him with Buddhist Chants and Prayers, which brought a lot of peace to him. Mr Tan smiled and thanked the volunteers.
On Thursday, another 2 senior volunteers went to visit Mr Tan who was already unconscious, and they witnessed the departure of Mr Tan when his heart stopped beating.
There was no funeral or wake.
Mr Tan's family (sisters) was crying and apologizing to the volunteers. They regretted no visiting their brother in the hospital. They do not need to apologize to the volunteers, but I guess, it is a just way of handling their own guilt. They also thanked the volunteers.
The patient is just like you and I - we just need acceptance and love from our loved ones. It is sad that AIDs patients are highly stigmatized even by their own family members. Volunteers could never fill in the role of family members, but at least, we provided some comfort and care for our fellow human beings.
I thank Mr Tan for the good memories and lessons I learnt.
May he be free from sufferings.
May he find peace.
Om Mani Padme Hum