|Article by Chin Ming Lee|
One man’s difficult life offers wisdom for a young person starting out on her journey.
SO, Uncle married already?” I ask with a smile.
Immediately, his cheerful face turns into one of sorrow.
“My wife passed away a couple of years ago.”
“Oh, I am very sorry to hear that.”
“It’s all right. It’s been a while.”
I am taking down Mr Lim’s history (not his real name), a friendly, bubbly 63-year-old, as part of my training as a medical student. It is his third day at the hospital, after being admitted for chest pain and shortness of breath.
“Do you mind telling me what she ...?”
“Breast cancer. She was only 58. I regret not treating her better when she was still alive.”
Silence. I do not know how to respond to his statement, so I am relieved when he continues talking.
“I used to be a hard-headed man.”
Mr Lim came from a poor family and worked really hard in school. Eventually, he obtained a scholarship and went on to become a lawyer.
“But the early years weren’t easy,” he says. At 30, he married an accountant from a well-to-do family.
“I wasn’t a very good spouse. Come to think of it, I don’t know why she stood by my side all those years.”
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