Losing someone is part of life, the hardest part

Contributed by RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO – 

Untimely demise of a loved one is painful

Having experience the untimely passing of my wife, I relate very well to the article, “Ensuring a peaceful farewell” (Straits Times supplement –Mind your body; Thursday 9th April 2015).

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My wife and I had fought the battle over her schizophrenia illness for 40 years – only to lose her life to the deadly pneumonia within just a week of her hospitalisation. This is something I still cannot believe nor come to terms with.

Three days after my wife’s admission, the doctors had little or no choice but to lay the cards on the table. With her lungs and urinal track badly infected, my wife’s chances of survival were getting slimmer and slimmer. Added to that, she suffered another relapse of her schizophrenia when the removal of all her psychiatric drugs saw her lose her sense of speech. She could not talk a single word to me, but kept pointing her fingers upwards towards the ceiling. It was as if she was trying to tell me that she was going far away. I held on tightly to her hand and choked back tears because if my wife sees me heartbroken, her recovery would be dead slow.

A day to remember, for the better or worse

7.10pm, Thursday 17th April 2014 – a time and day in my life which I will never forget. The day when my world came crashing down. My wife passed away, and my whole world fell in darkness! It was Maundy Thursday. I will never forget how pale she suddenly turned at 7.15pm. That image still haunts me. On the 17th of this month, it will be exactly one years since my wife’s untimely passing, and the pain still goes on – for grieving for a loved one often takes more than a year to heal.

Every time, I open the cupboard where I see my wife’s dresses nicely hung on the rails, I keep telling myself, “there must be some mistake,” or “this can’t be true.” These symptoms will typically run for weeks, months and even years.

By Raymond Anthony Fernando

Raymond Anthony Fernando is an advocate for the mentally ill. He volunteers with the Singapore Association for Mental Health, Silver Ribbon Singapore, CLUB HEAL and the Institute of Mental Health. He is Model Caregiver 2007 and Mental Health Champion 2010. Raymond attributes his success to his beloved wife, Doris, who has always been his greatest inspiration.

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