Posted this on my FB, decided to post it here for me to remember in the future:
"Attended a wake of a friend (Mr X)
I got to know him for the past 1 year while volunteering at CDC. Mr X had HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years. He was a very cool uncle who was very friendly and a good sense of humor. It's always a joy to interact with him.
He used to work as odd job labour earning only $15-30/day. He didn't have any family (single with no siblings) and friends, fortunately, he had a very good friend of more than 40 years, who would visit Mr X everyday in the hospital. His good friend would also bring his children to visit Mr X. It's like kinship more than friendship.
Nobody attends Mr X wake, except his good friend, his good friend's children and my fellow volunteers.
Just now, I had a good conversation with Mr X's good friend (in his 80s) who told me that if people don't take care of each other, Life is quite meaningless. I'm very touched to hear that.
I have a few reflections:
1. Thankful for the volunteering experience. I get to meet people outside my social circle and learn so many things from them.
2. Building a few good relationship is more meaningful than knowing many people at superficial level.
3. Singapore govt is actually quite good. Mr X was hospitalized for more than 1 year and he didn't pay a single cents. Prior to that, he was receiving $450/mth handout. There is some sort of a safety net in Singapore for the low income.
May Mr X rest in peace and have a good rebirth!
Om Mani Padme Hum"
The last time I visited Mr X was 2 days ago during my regular friday evening.
When I saw him, he was already unconscious and was gasping for air.
It reminded me of the last few days of my grandma who passed away a few months ago.
Immediately, I knew that Mr X days were numbered.
I was supposed to meet my cousin (visiting from Australia) for a drink, but I decided to stay back awhile more to do Buddhist chanting for Mr X with my fellow volunteers.
That is the least we could do for him.
I am quite sure that he could hear us from the way he gasped for air while we talked to him.
I left the hospital at around 9pm, and Mr X passed away shortly at around 10.30pm.
I was saddened by the news, but at the same time, I was glad that he did not need to suffer anymore, and hopefully, he received the blessing from our collective chanting before he passed on.
This is one of the most meaningful things I have done recently.