Update on Dad Fen

September 9, 2008

I visited DadFen last August 29th. It was my first visit since I last saw him before the summer camp.  I must admit it took awhile because after all the summer camp activities, we had to prepare for the visit of 14 people from the US for their short term missions exposure here.

But to be more honest, it was emotionally difficult to visit someone when you do not feel emotionally strong as well.  But last August 29th, I visited him because 1. It is long overdue and 2. I did not want to miss greeting him personally on his 77th birthday.

He was not expecting me as he was being dressed up.  One of the daughters was going to drive him to a nearby commercial place because he had something he wanted to get.

It was good seeing him and Mom.  The toil of cancer was very visible because he lost a lot of weight. It was a weaker Dad Fen who greeted me.  We sat down together and I tried to initiate some palliative care conversation with him.  “There is no question that my life belongs to Him.  And God could choose to heal me or He could choose not to.  But if He chooses the latter, I pray that the suffering will not be too long…”

I quietly nodded and took note of that prayer request.

DadFen was busy trying to finish his photo album of his last trip to Europe. He was busy writing the names of the people in those pictures and the reason he wanted to go to a bookstore was because he needed to get a filler so it could accommodate more pictures.

It was a simple task, but with the waning strength and accompanying pain (reduced by morphine) it could become a much heavier task than what it seemed.  I sat down with him and for the first time ( could also be my last chance) I went through each of the pictures with him.

Unhurriedly, I asked about each of the photos and the stories behind.

His face would light up as he would remember a particular detail, a person, an event, a transportation challenge among other things.  We went through all of them.  I wanted to celebrate with him those 3-month sojourn to Europe.  In a way, I wanted to affirm in a very small way, that life has been really good and those pictures were only able to capture some of those beautiful life moments.

Before leaving, I asked if I could pray with him.  Halfway through, I felt Mommy standing next to us joining in our prayers.  It reminded me of the time when I prayed for my grandmother in 1999. (Will blog about it sometime).

When it was over, I hugged him as he thanked me for the prayer. Mommy kissed me with a “Darling, thank you for the visit… and for remembering his birthday…”

I walked back to our home.  It was a little past noon and the sun was at its brightest.  I was squinting my eyes not primarily because the sunlight was too bright, but because halfway through my walk, tears were blinding my vision.

“Be very merciful Lord.  Be very gentle… thank you for holding the life of DadFen. Thank you that we can also be assured of your gentleness when we become really weak.  Thank you for your comforting provision. Thank you for the people who love him and are celebrating his life with them.  Lord, be it unto Him according to your tender mercies and kindheartedness…  give him the strength to finish his photo albums…”

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN

I got my license back today from the Makati’s Traffic Enforcement office in Mayapis St. It was quite tricky to find since I am not used to driving through the streets of Makati. It was really good that LM was about to quit his “work” (in quote because the arrangement barely qualified for him to be considered properly employed).

Driving to QC, I could not shake the heaviness that I was feeling because of the update we heard from DadFen’s son in law, Ptr. Len Joson. Our dear DadFen has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer. https://compassionateconsiderations.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/moments-when-we-need-theopneustos-the-most/

Driving back from the meeting last night and going through the SLEX, my mind was racing through the images, conversations I had with DadFen. I may need to really blog about what took place in December of 2003 when God did something in my heart toward him.

I have yet to see him. There are just some things I need to take care of before I visit a 77-year old man with Stage 4 cancer. I pray for God’s wisdom. I pray for God’s loving and compassionate words to flow through my lips when i see him. I pray for the healing and comforting words.

Lord God, thank You that in whatever state we are in, there is reason to rejoice. Thank you for being so intimately aware of everything that we are going through. Thank you that nothing can ever separate us from your love. Not our sicknesses, not our weaknesses, not our doubts… Thank you for caring for DadFen. Thank you that you are right there where he is hurting the most. Whisper your assuring words and let him experience the most loving comfort we could ever experience from our Father in heaven. We bless you in the midst of these difficult times.

In Jesus’ name

Amen

On Death and Dying

April 3, 2008

I was in the office today when I got an overseas call from a friend. He asked me if I had read the e-group bulletin of our highschool class. I said ‘No, the internet connection here in the office is terrible right now…” He went on to tell me about the sudden passing of a batchmate due to a heart attack this morning.

I grew faint. I could not believe the news I was hearing. I was just with this person along with some of my classmates early last month as we were talking about our upcoming highschool 25th year reunion in November. I just saw him a couple of weeks ago. We were just talking and having a grand time singing together after our meeting.

I could still see him. I could still read his sms on my phone. Our class has not met for 25 years… and now as we getting reconnected, we are also getting rudely awakened by the brevity of our lives.

Goodbye Bien.
We are just grateful that we were given the chance to reconnect with you starting with the Christmas party last December. Somehow when news like these happen, we are all changed. We are all united. We are all sobered by the brevity of our lives. Thank you Bien for the wonderful songs you sang the last time we were together. If we only knew that it would be the last time for us to hear your melodious voice… we would have given you the whole night. Thank you for being in the meetings. Thank you for being the kind-hearted soul that you were.The whole batch will miss you. And as we prepare closer to the 25th reunion, we will remember you and the rest of our dearly departed batchmates.
Romans 8: 38 – 39 states that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. Not death, not life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Goodbye Bien. Rest in the loving embrace of our Father in Heaven.