The Greatest Love of All. Part 2

The Greatest Love of All 
Part 2

How do I help the mother who sat opposite me, like I had the answer ready. How do help her son? I know that if I could help her son, she would be helped. But first, I must see him. No, before that, we must eat.

The poor lady had not had a meal the whole morning. I am very sure the agony of what her son was going through in IMH must be gnawing at her since the night he was taken away. So, yes, I brought her for a meal of lei cha (thunder tea rice). Then she and I boarded a cab to Buangkok.

I have never been to IMH and frankly, the very mention scares me. I’m sure everybody feels the same way ….. It’s been said that one who enters comes out differently, or worse, don’t come out at all! So just imagine a mother’s anguish when her child, a special kid, who never done anyone harm, suddenly gets put into a mental hospital …. Isn’t this what IMH is?

But I knew that if I refused this mother, she would have no one to turn to. As the cab turned into the driveway, I focused my thoughts on one goal: how to reach out to her son. As I walked with her down the long corridor, I sensed her heightened hope. She could see her son again. Even the sun agreed with her. A slight breeze cushioned me against the heat of the day, and the greenery and flowers lining the stretch gave color and hope to the dreary place. 

Then we got there. 
“I like to see my son,” she announced to the nurse behind the glass window. The nurse pressed a button and we entered through the door.
How do I explain the surge of emotions that took hold of me as I looked into the window of the locked door which led to the room that held the patients? All clad in matching blue shirt and pants, they reminded me of prisoners on a death sentence. Their eyes were glazed, their movements jerky. How can I explain the anguish of a mother who had to see her son, who did no harm, who had a syndrome that needed help, being subjected to this pain?

Then I saw him. Thin, gawky, but oh, so fragile, so unsure. She sat opposite him. I sat beside her. The table that separated us seems, at that moment, a yawning gap. 
“Here, Juen Sen, meet Auntie Catherine.”
Tell me what I should do. I wanted to reach out and give me a hug. Maybe not now …. I reached out a touched his hand. He shrank back. He was scared. I looked into his eyes. What should I start with? 
“I hear from your mum you like reading. You like literature. What books do you like to read?”
“My favorite author is Rudyard Kipling,” he said with a wisp of a smile.

At that moment, I felt a strong wave of empathy towards JS. There was hope. All was not lost. He reads, in fact this was his means of understanding the world around him. And if he likes to read, hey, the world of words would be the connection I could build with him. I suddenly felt so happy for him. For his mum.

But what could I do? He needed to feel he mattered to the world …. That he could make a contribution, no matter how small, to Give some meaning to his life. As I left both of them to share some time together, I wondered about the mother who reminded me of my mum, and of the boy who brought back memories of my little brother, Anthony.

I have a row of soft toys lining the headrest of my bed. Each one is special to me. Given by my three girls, collected during my trips with my husband and with them, they spell love, hope and kinship. Every night, before I shut off the light, I am reminded of the family bonds that give me meaning and purpose in life and the legacy of hope I want to leave them with. That night, as I contemplate the pink furry heart, the Daisy and Donald stuck to each other, the mama and baby cat, the bear which came with 12 roses on my birthday, a thought struck me so hard that I ran over to my study room and penned it down. Yes, I know how to help him. I hope it’ll work. But if I don’t try, I’ll never know.

Treasured memories from the People I Love

Treasured memories from the People I Love


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