Papa passed away October 9, 2016. Today, I reviewed my journal written October 24, 2015:
This morning when I arrived with mama from picking her up at St. Luke’s, papa was awake. So I said: Pa, goa biya la. (Pa, I’m 薇阿)
Papa: Ah, di biya ba? Di ya beh khih tang kiah ba? (Are you 薇阿？You haven’t gone to 东京？)
I am happily surprised. He remembers. I told him I am going to Japan last Saturday. That was a week ago. It made me think how like the Sunday school children I used to teach – when I often wondered if they understood the things I said, much less remember them. So with my father, these days, the rare times that he is not asleep when I visit, I often just sit quietly beside him on his bed; thinking about what to say to him and often, it is either he did not understand what I was talking about, or he did not have anything to say in reply to what I said, or he would just say ‘好阿’ in Amoy. I am thankful that papa still has his more lucid moments. He still recalls what I said to him. He still recognizes me.
His next question and often-asked question: Biya, kui tiam? (Biya, what time is it?) Today he even asked, Kih nah si pai lak? (Is today Saturday?)
I realized he knows I visit him every Saturday.
Poignant thought: what does he think about when he’s not sleeping? Is he wondering what time it is? How does it feel to be lying in bed all day with no one to talk to except your wife and caregiver? And the most that you tell your caregiver is that you want to go to the toilet or that she tells you it’s time to eat. Is that why he often asks what time it is? Time must be going so slowly – day to day.. moment to moment.