We make many decisions every day, a few consciously, but most in an autopilot way. However, every decision brings us along on the journey we call “life.” When I talk in this manner, you might think that I am a believer of karma and I despise the freewill power of humans.
No! I can tell you that I myself once made a very hard decision and did fight against the flow of “should be”.
That event was a heart-wrenching struggle for me. It was in 2010, right after the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, when my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. The medical treatment decision-making was a part of chain reaction in the doctors’ training and job routine. My father himself, the body’s owner, was still in the shock stage. And the decision-influencers, the 3 children of my father’s, were hardly dealing with our own grief. Therefore, it was settled “logically” that a surgery would be performed to cut off ¾ of my father’s stomach and a series of chemotherapy was to follow.
“And, what will happen after that, Doctor?” “The patient will be fed through a tube and the 5-year survival rate averages 70%.”
The “positive” prospect of the percentage did not cheer us up. The consequence lead-loaded on every family member’s heart and each one of us was beaten off tracked from our daily life. On the surface, we were all trying to look busy and contributing to the tasks of preparation — the preparation for a daunting future life style and painful condition. There was rarely a heart-to-heart conversation as it inevitably led to a swarm of tears and choking of words.
I was sleepless and during those dark moments, I decided to study various books and information from the internet about cancer treatment options. There are alternatives but the main stream of medical system condemns them as superstitious & irresponsible. I was full of fear consistently and one night in a state of despair, I found myself needing my father’s words that were always full of wisdom and comforting.
“Dad, are you ready for the surgery? I am so sad and much afraid!”
There was silence first – the unusual one for my father. Then my father told me a dream he just had about his two friends who had died from stomach cancer too.
“They came to tell me not to do the surgery! If I can decide, I want to live a normal life even it is short. But….”
“I think I need to respect you three children’s decision and the doctors all said…”
There and then, I made the hard decision…. I had a family meeting the next morning and we agreed together to cancel the surgery. The hospital raged and requested us to sign an undertaking-all-responsibilities form. There was no lack of counter-advice, reprimand, even self-doubt and fear of being wrong. But I forced forward still, after many reconfirmations on that decision.
I am relieved to tell you that my father passed away in sleep 18 months later, 2 weeks after being admitted into the hospice ward. During those 18 months, although he had discomfort from gastric acid and lost his appetite for food, he lived a normal and mobile life. He had several trips for leisure. He rewrote several times of his will and settled his mind for the upcoming death. He organized the details of his own funeral. He spent of precious time with all the family members.
You see, a hard decision is a combination of many following-your-heart decisions. It requires a continuous mindful state, which to me, is the toughest part of the hard decision-making.
生於台北，10歲發現自己很倔強，迷看書; 20歲師專畢業成為老師，開始獨立自主；30歲進入企業，開始專業經理人的職涯；40歲在越南獨資創營人資管理企管顧問公司，為夢想奮鬥；50歲功成名就，以高價將公司賣給業界全球最大公司， 毅然退休， 開始雲遊四海，在臉書上記錄旅程與生活點滴； 60歲陸續拿到領導力培訓課程及專業企業教練認證，繼續為成就他人志業做貴人… 目前疫情無法旅行， 只好在6個讀書會裡享受書裡乾坤， 今年參加樂寫，想圓我的作家夢！