Where There is Love, There is Life

“Where there is love, there is life.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

One quote which I have not truly understood, until the day I met Madam Lee and her mother, Madam Khoo. Madam Khoo Geok Tee has been battling rectal cancer for two years. Today, she is eighty-nine years old, and still fighting strong against this illness. Her late sisters also encountered cancer and had battled the war until the end. Nevertheless, the idea of inherited genes and higher risks for cancer did not prepare Madam Khoo for the journey she was about to go through.

“Mentally terrified and horrified”. Those were the words used to define Madam Khoo’s early experiences towards battling cancer. Madam Khoo went through surgery as the first stage of her treatment. She prayed hard and hoped the surgery itself would be sufficient to suppress the cancer cells. Unfortunately, she was already at her third stage of cancer. Madam Khoo was emotionally drained down when she realized that she needed further treatments to suppress her cancer cells from spreading. It was difficult for her to accept because she was afraid of becoming a burden to her children. Moreover, the thought of leaving her loving husband and family added to her despair. According to her daughter, Madam Lee, her mother was on the verge of giving up. However, Madam Khoo went on with chemotherapy, encouraged by her spouse, who was also ill at that moment. Both of them, strive to give each other the strength and encouragement to fight on for their life.

The faithful and filial daughter, Madam Lee, readjusted her lifestyle several times to spend more time with her mother and father. It is not a simple and easy task to take care of two elderly ill parents. The daughter, Lee, believes that it is important to keep a positive mindset and look at the situation objectively. She also mentioned that, the key is to not be overwhelmed by the idea of the sickness. Her family was always there for her when she needed a shoulder to rest on. That made her believe that she must be there for her mother as well.

“My husband and children read me well.” Madam Lee said with much gratitude for the love of her family. She admits that the support of family and friends is extremely vital to keep on living. Madam Lee believes that the crucial force which fuels her mother’s persistence and courage in fighting cancer is the love for her husband. Madam Khoo stays alive for her husband, as he fights to stay alive for her as well. “It’s a lifelong love affair”, said Madam Lee. They refused to leave this world without one another. Where there is love, there is life.

written by Clement Long, Community Relations