After my last night shift ended on Friday morning I managed to force myself to stay awake until about 5pm, with the aid of cheap coffees from the local service station. I chucked down a couple of Panadeine in the hope they would ensure I didn’t wake up wide awake at 2am and they worked a treat. I’d forgotten to take my alarm setting off from last week so I was gently awoken at 5.50am to a mellow Beastie Boys tune. I picked up the phone and noticed Amy had sent a message whilst I was asleep. The message was a little disconcerting:
“If I died tomorrow just do what you want to do OK. Life is just today we don’t know what will happen.”
I still wanted to sleep some more but these words tumbled in and out of my consciousness. What motivated these words with no context at all? There was nothing I could do to answer this question right now and eventually I fell back to sleep for a few more hours.
Later she called me after she had just woken up. She sounded sleepy but happy. I asked her about her message and she told me she’d received some bad news about her school friend Fah.
I’ve met Fah a few times on previous visits to Thailand. An attractive girl who loves to eat and drink in nice places and works for Thai Airways. Last year she complained of stomach aches and went to the doctor to have some tests done. They discovered she had cancer and that it was quite advanced already but still hoped to be able to treat it with chemotherapy. She started that treatment but was often not healthy enough to be able to do it. The bad news came this week that they found the cancer advanced to her pancreas and that is was untreatable. She might only have 6 more months to live. 6 months ago she was fine (as far as she knew).
Amy said Fah’s parents were with her at the hospital in Bangkok and I mentioned how tragic it is for a parent to have to watch their child in pain and to lose them. Amy told me that Fah’s only sibling, her brother, was killed in a car crash years ago when he was just 11 years old.
I thought of my mother and how I hoped that she wouldn’t have to go through anything like this. She already lost her husband, my father, when I was just 18 months old. I thought of my son and how I hoped that I wouldn’t have to go through anything like this too.
Amy and I agreed that she should go and visit Fah as soon as possible. There’s nothing one can do, nothing one can say, except to give each other comfort.
It’s interesting to be posting my old diary entries – I haven’t read them since they were written. I can look back at certain events with a more distant eye and reflect on what my true motivations were at the time and ultimately how trivial they seem now that they are in the past. It was so serious to me at the time. I guess that’s the wisdom of age.
Right now though, I’m struggling with concentration and direction. I can’t get all my thoughts out quick enough and will have to come back and try again tomorrow.