Monday, July 26, 2010

A Warm Welcome Home

I am now back here in Chiang Mai. It is good to be back! Eric gave me a long hug when he saw me, Ethan insists that my arm has to be around him when we walk (in the mall), Eli kisses me when he leaves the house, and flowers were laid out on the bed (courtesy of Eng) the night I arrived. That's it; I'm convinced that I need to leave more often! =) With touch being one of my love languages, I also hope the shower of affection lasts for quite awhile. I am enjoying it enormously!

Eric finished 5 days of radiation last week and says he's fine. He still says he doesn't feel a thing and that his energy level is good. Praise God! Thank you for praying.

This week, his radiation will be from Wednesday to Friday (28-30 July) because of two Thai holidays. Coming home tonight, I realized after seeing lots of lights and candles lit that another Buddhist holiday wreak havoc in our household. Not only did almost all of us not get along last night with a nasty argument but I had a freaky experience where I saw myself in a weird and strange room as I tried to sleep. Evan's and my parents' faces were reflected on a mirror at the side of the room but they were nowhere! Sensing immediate discomfort, I started to pray audibly but I couldn't speak. I was praying aloud but my words were coming out muffled. I saw nothing on me but I couldn't speak properly, and I couldn't move! Finally, continuing to pray, I ended it by saying the enemy had 3 counts to leave or I'll get the Holy Spirit to burn them with His fire. A muffled “one” and “two” barely escaped from my lips but I heard a very distinct “THREE!” (with my normal voice back!) clearly. I opened my eyes (or blinked?) and I was back in my bedroom. Wow! Thank you, Lord.

My 89 year old father drew all the plans to get a building permit so he could enclose their front porch. He's done all that is pictured here with a little help from Evan.

He's been using a power saw and electric nailer, among other things! I've been thankful for this, "his little project". He is proud of it, as I am of him. In my 80s, I wish to also be renovating our place.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Loving Better

Once again, being here in Toronto with my parents has taught me more about myself. The other day, I was taking a nap on the couch when my mother walked by to close the door by me. It was a hot day so the fan was on and as she got in between the fan and I, I caught a whiff of excretion. She must have gone to the bathroom again and failed to wipe or wash herself well. Since arriving here 3 weeks ago, I’ve been saddened by the fact that my mother’s Alzheimer’s has caused her to forget how to use the washroom properly. Many a times have I gone in to use their bathroom and found it in different and unusual states. Repulsed, I would reluctantly disinfect and wash all around their toilet. I’m just grateful that she still makes it to the toilet in time, most of the time. I’ve been told that she sometimes would not get there soon enough. At any rate, since I was tired and wanted to nap, I didn’t get up to inspect her as to why she smelled. As she passed, I pretended to be asleep. How often she passed back and forth, I do not know. (It’s normal for her to do this, walking back and forth.) Soon, I was half asleep, barely aware of where or what she was doing. Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden, I felt her hand caressing my face and moving my hair off my face! She was saying words that sounded tender and loving. At this point in her illness, my mother would sometimes speak none sensibly. Different words would be spoken but every now and then, they would not make any sense. The words are strung together confusingly. I wish I could say that I received her loving action and responded accordingly, or gratefully. Instead, I recoiled at her touch, remembering what I smelled moments earlier. The grace is that the smell didn’t come from her hand. My disgust this time was at myself for making the smell matter more than her gesture. I received what she did to me but moments late. If only I didn’t make such a fuss about the smell. I then realized that my kind of loving has a lot to be desired. Where filth is evident, I need to learn to love and receive love anyway. The Lord has done far more for me as I wallowed in my filth. Why can’t I? My prayer is that I’ll love better.

As for Eric, he’s received 3 radiation treatments now and says he feels a slight tingling on his nose during the treatment but nothing else. Thank you for praying!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From the Eldest Son

It's interesting being back here, on YeongLife, after so long; it's been years, actually, since I've posted anything here. For those of you who have been reading this since its beginning, you know that I, Evan, the eldest, was once the one who updated this blog every Monday. Alas, life moves on, and since graduating from high school and heading off to college I no longer see my family enough to write on the events that occur in their life.

So here I am, trying to update you on my life in a brief, concise post; this will really just be about the past year and this summer.

This summer I have been working at Foundations Ministries, a Christian ministry organization which is backing one (1) Pastor Marie Miller. It's enjoyable work, though the issue is that the office is in Mississauga, meaning that my commute is two hours (only one way). I don't mind, though, as just getting a job this summer has truly been a blessing from God, and I thank him for this opportunity to both make money and further His work in the world.

I am in this picture with just 8 of my 19 cousins. Second from left, Leslie, is the cousin who raised over $900 for Eric's medical expenses. She had a "Cut It or Keep It" fundraiser, offering her long hair.

I am living with my grandparents (my mother's parents, whom she has written about in the previous post), which is nothing out of the ordinary. This year, however, I feel like I've really been able to help out more and pull my own weight. I get meals ready for them, I distract my grandmother when she's pestering my granddad, and I generally do what I can to make sure the house is running smoothly. I feel like I've become a big help in their lives, and it's actually going to be a little bit difficult moving back to college, knowing that they'll be living here without me.

Speaking of college, I am moving out of the dorm. This is an exciting prospect, as it means that seven of my friends and yours truly will be moving into a townhouse together. This change brings with it a smaller living area, a kitchen, and, in my case, a smaller meal plan. The implication of that being that I will be eating lunch in the cafeteria, but will be preparing my own dinners. Hopefully all goes well with this; if I manage to become a tenth of the chef my dad is, I think I'll do just fine.

I'm not really sure what to say about this. I don't really know what my mom has and hasn't told you about my life. She asked me to ask for prayer requests, so I suppose it would be nice if you asked God for help in my keeping my grades up (a GPA of 3.5, minimum) and my social life interesting. When my mom leaves on the twenty-second I'm back to holding down the fort myself, so hopefully I'll remember what it's like when it was just my grandparents and me, and get right back to where I left off.

As a closing note to this very brief update on my life, I'd like to keep you up to speed on how my younger brother is doing. On Monday Thai time he had a CT scan. What it's revealed is looking good. His radiation treatment will start on Thursday. Please keep him in your prayers, as I know many of you are doing. I really want to thank you for that, as it means a lot to me, and us, as a family.

Depending on what happens, I may be back to throw another update your way, but until then. Thank you for reading this blog and taking an interest in my family, my mother really slaves away (I write these in about a twentieth of the time it takes her) to bring you updates every week, and it's great that you get to read what results from her efforts.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Atop the Jacuzzi

Lord, teach me what real love is and make me a loving person.” This week’s dare from “The Love Dare, Day by Day”

Actually, I’m on the bed but it sits atop the Jacuzzi at my parent’s house in Toronto. It’s where I’ve been sleeping since arriving here to visit Evan and my parents. It’s very comfortable as in the absence of bodies (Eng’s or sometimes Ethan’s), I’m surrounded by pillows. I just have to make sure I’ve done what needs doing in the bathroom or I’ll have to climb back down again on the chair that’s set just by the door where the bed ends. It’s a strange arrangement but it works for me. I like it better than sleeping on the couch as it gives me some privacy when the door is pulled shut.

It’s good to be here and to spend some time with Evan. Today was his day off so he bought me lunch at an All–You-Can-Eat Sushi place and then we visited his favorite book store. He’s shown me where he runs 3x a week in the morning and we saw “Toy Story 3” (an excellent movie!) last week. It’s great to see Evan again. With regard to Eric’s being sick, he’s handled it well and resorted to praying a lot for him. =)

My parents are as well as they can be. My mother is 86 and has Alzheimer’s. My father is 89 and has Diabetes. He injects himself with insulin twice a day and it isn’t uncommon for him to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat because his blood sugar level is too low. At those times, he eats chocolate bars (KitKat) that he keeps by his bed to quickly increase his blood sugar level. Every day, I thank God for another day with him. He’s been living on the Lord’s grace for a long time.
My mother is a different story every few minutes. We never know what we’re going to get. When she has good moments, she’ll take her medicine without a fuss and would be pleasant, warm, and cheery. Her many other sides could be any of the following: anger, rage, suspiciousness, vindictiveness, fear, confusion, doubtfulness, weariness, etc. We’ve had many tense moments as she attempts to throw her pills, react furiously as to why she has to take them, or call my father names for having her do something she doesn’t want to do. Every day, there seem to be a drama yet waiting to be played. Thankfully, she still responds to music and I’ve been able to play the piano for her to dance to. Unfortunately, the music does not keep her occupied as much as it did last year. She seems to tire more easily nowadays. Evan’s friend’s grandmother has the same illness but she isn’t talking anymore and just sits all day. For what my mother is able to still do, we are grateful.
The other day I found her unsuccessful in cleaning herself after going to the bathroom. I explained to her that she needed to change and proceeded to help her. She didn’t like how I removed her shirt so she furiously yanked it from me and attempted to pull it over my head. We struggled over the shirt, she pulling it down while I tried stopping her. At one point, I wondered what I should be doing. Should I physically resist her to the point where she would feel pain? I really didn’t want a smelly stained shirt on my head! In the end, she physically stopped and resorted to verbally say what she wanted to do with her hands. The whole incident shocked and surprised me. I felt fear for what she might do next but even more so for my reaction of not wanting to care for her. Only later did I mentally choose to let go and just now, forgive. Like she’s forgotten me, she’s forgotten the incident already. She really isn’t the problem; she is ill. The Lord is obviously answering my prayer above. I have a lot to learn.

Thank you for praying. Everyone is doing well at home. Eric is getting a CAT scan on July 12th and is now scheduled to receive his first radiation treatment on July 15th at Siripat Hospital in Chiang Mai.