A real-world case of in sickness & in health, on finding one’s true love, translated…
The Breakup Which Came at the Season of Sorrows, at the End of Autumn
As the season marched into springtime, when the cherry blossoms are about to bloom, that, is when I always get reminded, of the love they have.
It was, November 9, 2011, this was the date, of the hospital’s biopsy results for my coworker, Guo-Rui Chang, after he’d fallen ill a long time. It was, still the time, of the MSN messengers, before I got off work, his message flashed “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. Is it true? Several people who’d cared very much about him, started spreading the news, “How can this be? He’d become, visually impaired, with Lou Gehrig’s disease now?” Someone worked up the courage, to check with him, but, as those words came out of his lips, his voice, sounded, so hollow, and it’d felt, so lost, and that there was no place he could run to to escape all of this.
not my picture…
A thought flashed across my mind—does she know?
Several days later, we’d gotten a chance to have a cup of coffee. We’d started talking, she’d, slowly, told, and, that peaceful tone of voice she’d, carried, filled with her full emotions, I could tell, that each of these moments, were, heart wrenching for her to experience.
She’d said, from before, Guo-Rui wasn’t well, he’d become, fatigued easily, especially after supper, he’d wanted to, turn in; then, he’d started, slurring his speech, and, she couldn’t understand him, and so, she’d, put her ears close to his lips, asked him to repeat himself, but, as he’d repeated himself, he’d, gotten louder and louder, seemed as though, he was, using a lot of force, and still couldn’t express himself clearly, at the end, he’d, shouted out in such anger at himself………during that time, their relationship became, turbulent, they’d had a ton of arguments, Guo-Rui once asked her, ‘Didn’t you ever consider, that I might, be sick?’, she’d replied back at him out of spite, ‘yeah, go get your health checked out, I’ll sort through the feelings, let’s split up for a while, allow ourselves to cool down.”
As Guo-Rui heard of separating, he’d become more emotional, used ALL the strength he had in him, to hold her off the ground, wanted to prove, that he had, the ability, to make this love last. But, in her insistence, they’d, officially, broken up, in the sorrows of the season of autumn. Later on, she’d learned, from a mutual friend, that Guo-Rui was diagnosed with ALS, and the news, hit her, awfully hard.
After the confirmed diagnosis, due to coincidence or fate, they’d, gone out to eat. At this time, she’d, observed his movements, including how he’d walked (very slowly), how he’d, talked (with hardship), how he’d, hold up his chopsticks (barely able to), how he’d, lost, a lot of weight, become malnourished looking………everything, is slowly, falling apart. She’d cried, as she ate, “Will you allow me, to be your family?” Guo-Rui shook his head hard; he felt bad for her, didn’t want her to suffer the trials; and so, she could only, adjust her ways, and, went to his house, every now and then, to share the meals, to have conversations with him, and, slowly, they’d, returned back to, where they used to be once.
She’d, returned back to his side again, and, everything is, different; he could no longer, say those sweet nothings to her anymore, it’d even become, too difficult, for him, to hug her now. And even so, he’d still, worked hard, to break away from the bondage,, passionately gotten, involved in various functions. Surely, the Guo-Rui I’d known, was one, who wasn’t fitted, to experience ANY hardships, and, she, willing, to be his support.
not my animation…
Finding Love Again, and Gaining Back the Courage to Fall in Love Again
One day, Guo-Rui learned from a radio program, that the British Royal Symphony was coming to Taiwan to perform, he’d felt, that it was, a hard to come by opportunity, and asked her to get the tickets for him. And, because some of the songs which will be performed aren’t the popular tunes, he’d, downloaded the songs, to familiarize himself with the music, played the songs continuously. He’d also loved the stage shows, being born in an army retirement village, the shows on the subject of army retirement villages especially draws his attention, but, heading to the National Theatres to see “You Can Only Savor the Past”, getting himself out the door, became, a huge trial for him then.
First, she’d needed to get a cab, ride to MRT Danshui Station, and, after she’d gotten on the MRT, she’d needed to have the ventilator on her, riding all the way to CKS Memorial Station. And, all the way there, she was, on heightened alert, because, there was, the time when Guo-Rui went to the Soda Green concert, and his ventilator stopped working all of a sudden, and, she’d immediately notified the manufacturers; and the manufacturers gave them a new one, but, as Guo-Rui basked himself in the heights of the concert, the mood was quite upbeat and celebratory, and, he’d not even, needed his ventilator at all.
This day, they’d, arrived early, she’d taken up a corner, took out a can of Ensure, through the feeding tubes, she’d, fed him, and, after he was full, then, they’d followed the rest of the audience into the concert.
There were, so many humorous parts to the scripts, very crazy and humorous, and, it’d, shown that clarity toward life, he had a good time, but, couldn’t bring himself to applaud, and can only, respond using his never-ending laughter. Another lead, who is an opera singer, with his voice, it’d, helped the visually impaired see, and, the entire show was, very clear and precise, there wasn’t, a need to imagine, and, the audience got to, enjoy the show by just, watching.
look at how happy they both are, in each ohter’s compnay??? Not my photograph…
To this point in our conversations, I felt, that she was, somewhat, different. From before, she was this, hesitant person, and now, she’d, gone straight on; maybe, their world is on the verge of collapsing, but, she’s not the least bit fearful, when situations surface, they’ll, deal with it, with the challenges, they will, conquer it, and, if they have dreams, then, they, reach for them, and achieve.
That was, the beginning stage of ALS, my friend wanted him to list out his wishes, and, “going to see the cherry blossoms” was one. At the start of spring the next year, they’d just, found back, the courage to love and be loved, Guo-Rui said, “Let’s find a day, to head to the nearby Tien-Yuan Temple to see the cherry blossoms!”
That very morning, he’d felt, that his legs had become, “temporarily defrosted”, he’d not planned to take his wheelchair, wanted to walk on his own.
The early sunlight pierced through the spaces between the branches on the trees, splashed the warmth across the ground, and, what caught his eyes, was this huge patch of pink and white colored Somei-Yoshino, he’d, circled around, the forest of cherry blossoms, walked on slowly; although, he’d taken the steps very slowly, but, the two of them, basked themselves, in this time of peace and quiet, there were, branches that bent downward, like chandeliers, and, they had their pictures taken, beneath that tree, and enjoyed this, hard-to-come by small-time blessing.
As the trip of seeing the cherry blossoms ended, all around them, the crowd started, pouring in; before he’d left, he’d, turned his head around to look—the cherry blossoms withered and died at the most glorious moment of their bloom, seemingly, sharing, this lethal diagnosis of his, at the prime of his life too!
So, this, is how much the love between this man and woman there is. And, they’d, weathered through their shares of storms from before, and now, as the storms over, he’d fallen ill, and, she’d, decided, to spend the rest of their lives together, and, he’d, cherished her, loved her, and, she feels, the exact same way towards him too. Such, an amazing love story, despite the circumstances in their lives, don’t you think???