I took my little boy to the hospital a few nights ago. He woke up during sleep, groaning with stomach pain and his face reddened with high fever. Without hesitation, my wife and me brought him to the emergency department of the nearest hospital at 3 o’clock in the morning.
While we were there, I overheard a nurse telling the doctor a patient whom he treated moments ago had passed away. While the medical staff showed little emotion, my heart tightened.
As the doctor was attending to my little boy, my thoughts went to the 31,000 in Myanmar and 15,000 in Sichuan, China. If this was how I felt when I heard a stranger within my close proximity had died, I couldn’t bear to imagine the reaction of my heart if I were to stand in these disaster areas, surrounded by bodies. And my admiration went to the doctors, nurses and other rescue team members who had to deal with so many life and death situation, fighting against time, and yet maintaining a much-needed controlled composure.
My train of thoughts was interrupted when the doctor told me it might be viral infection that’s causing my boy’s suffering. I got nervous. A few years ago, I have a friend whose little girl passed away because of viral infection (though it’s common amongst children). So viral infection was automatically linked to something unthinkable in my mind. Frantically concerned, I asked more questions regarding the infection. Sensing my uneasiness, the doctor gave me assurance that things were going to be fine, and at that moment he couldn’t do much except to prescribe medicine to suppress the pain and the fever temporarily.
On the way home, images of children buried under the rubbles in Sichuan flashed across my mind. I felt for the parents, those who found bodies of their children, and those who have yet to see the bodies, dead or alive. While sorrow would swamp parents who knew their children are no longer with them, burning anxiety would overwhelm parents who had yet to know the fate of their children. And frankly, I couldn’t imagine which is worse. Whenever I saw pictures of parents crying uncontrollably over the bodies of their children, but for the tears welling up in my eyes, and the lump forming in my throat, I have no words to describe my feeling. Similarly, seeing pictures of parents embracing their out-of-danger children would stir up the same reaction but with different emotion.
In the morning after, my boy woke up feeling fine and healthy again, although his stomach still felt little nudges intermittently. My mind then turned to those who lost contacts with their loved ones immediately after the disaster struck, and the relief that exorcised their anxiety when they later found out that they are safe. For those less fortunate, I’m sure their mind will be filled with heart-wrenching questions on the cards that fate had dealt them with.
I know, and I hope, I may never know how those victims, survivors, friends, parents, sons and daughters, or families feel. I can multiply how I felt on the day I took my boy to the doctor by a million times, and I’d still hardly feel what their hearts would have trudged through. But my hopes for those who lost their lives to the wrath of Mother Nature, would be that they would spend their coming times in a peaceful world; those who survived the catastrophe, to be given the strength to stand up again, stronger; and for the surviving friends and family of all affected, to be pillars, strong and tall, to support and keep each other from falling down in the wreckage, and walk towards their tomorrows. And more importantly, may they be bestowed with the strength and resources to rebuild their ruined home, once again, on Mother Earth and in their hearts.