Tag Archives: relationships

My Baby Sis

My parents have shaped so much of who I am today. They’ve given me a safe home, and (like all awesome, competitive, A-type personality Asian parents) bought me some hobbies in art and music and dance. They’ve taught me the importance of education, to seize the best opportunities, and to take risks. Everyday, I become more deeply grateful that I come from a beautiful home. But, if there was one thing that I am the most grateful for, it’s the fact that my lovely parents gave me siblings.

Up until age 9, I seriously thought the world revolved around me. I had the full love and attention of everyone in the family..24/7. I would shed a tear, and the next moment, I would get whatever I screamed for. My grandpa once cooked 3 separate dishes for me…cause I wasn’t willing to eat any of them. I was…spoiled (ya think?!)

Then came my sister, a rotund 9lbs of boneless chub. My parents and grandparents busied themselves with the everyday activities of a newborn. When she cried, I got in trouble. When she learned to walk, she started keeping my stuff. When there was something yummy, she always got the last piece. And yet… I came to love her so so…so so much.

Because in the midst of the annoying crying, nagging, intrusion of privacy, unwanted touching and attention she brought to my life, my sister taught me to love more than anyone else in this world. She shaped the way I loved at the time in my life where everyday I was molding my heart and mind to the person I would become.

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From the sharing of things I didn’t want to share, she taught me about generosity and how I can give without expectations of anything in return. From those stubborn fights, she showed me that apologies aren’t here to prove who’s right, but to show us that relationships and forgiveness matter more than what we want to agree on. In exerting her carefree, social butterfly, “whatever” – personality, she taught me to accept and appreciate people simply for who they are despite how different our dreams, priorities, and lifestyle may be. From those hours of parental attention I did not receive, I learned to be introspective and to rely on myself to learn from my mistakes. Trying to live up to the unrealistic and incomprehensible amount of admiration she carried for me, I hold myself to a higher standard in everything that I do. This fall, when my “baby” sister went to college, and started partying, I learned what it feels like to wear my heart outside of my body.

Lizzy taught me so much about love, the type of love that I always hoped to give to the people I care about. When I see all the wonderful things that my parents have given me, I am most thankful for my darling baby sis. Because whether she knows it or not, she taught me how to deliver the single greatest experience of our human existence…unselfish love.

For Mrs.S

 

I appreciate your candor and thoughtfulness…and lastly, I hope you’ll find a life of happiness.” 

Mrs.S passed away last night, and her family handed me a small white card with cherry blossoms (my absolute favorite), and those were her last words to me.

Mrs.S came in 2wks ago screaming in pain from metastatic ovarian cancer that she fought brilliantly for 10 years of her life, beating all the odds and statistics we love to throw at our patients. Her CT scan showed that more concerning than her shoulder pain, was her entire right chest was crushed by a gigantic tumor mass. The pulmonary doctor chuckled to me “she’s all yours, that’s the worst lung I’ve ever seen.” Mrs.S had almost no lung left. She went to Mexico to receive dendritic cell treatment, which did not work. It was clear on that night, she did not have much time on her side.

Over the next 2 weeks of my internal medicine rotation, I sat with her. There was no cure, there was no particular medical miracle I can offer her except pain control. She began to tell me the stories of her life. she met her husband at age 26, when he was 19. They spent a lifetime touring together as musicians, and they have no children. Some winters in Michigan, they would spend months indoors next to the fire together because it was painfully cold outside. They told stories and read novels to each other to pass time. They spent their 25th anniversary in the hospital over a liquid diet. She spoils her niece like crazy. She hated Spy Kids movies…we laughed over all these details of her life.

Then one day, sitting in the green armchair of the hospital room, she got serious. She looked at me and said she was afraid, not of death, but of leaving the love of her life all alone.

I looked at this woman who is more than a lifetime ahead of me in experience and age, standing less than a week from dying, being afraid for the pain this would cause her husband. As she spoke these words, her husband, working intently on his computer at the other corner of the room, came over. He told her that he had a lifetime of “happiness and love”, and he’ll be okay.

There are defining moments of our lives where everything we do just makes sense. As I watched a loving husband comfort the fears of his dying wife, I fell in love with internal medicine. There was no where else in the world I would rather be, nothing else I would rather do despite the months of indecision over my specialty options for residency applications this year.

And dear Mrs.S,

Your husband is busy driving across the country to take that trans-America trip you wished for. That’s how he chose that morning to celebrate your life.

As for me…I too, hope I’ll find a lifetime of happiness.