Letting go is easy

Essay by whitneychiuCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2014

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Let Go, It's Easier

You know that smell of vomit? That's what I smelt for two days straight. My uncle got diagnosed with lung cancer when I was in 7th grade. I know what you're thinking, that this is going to be another sad sob story you have to read. Well, you're kind of right. This was a traumatic time for my family and I. I still remember how sad and depressed we were throughout his chemotherapy. My uncle got diagnosed with lung cancer and after that, he got sick real quick. He was in the hospital a lot and the last day he was there, we learned something really important. The funeral also taught me a big lesson about life and I think it relates to a lot of people. But this is what I learned, what made us sad was seeing him going through so much pain.

Soon, we all realized that letting him go to the other side, was much easier for all of us.

Whitney Chiu Chiu 1

Engl 1301. S16 / Isip

Essay 1 - Revision 2

Back in November of 2009, my uncle got really sick and had troubled breathing. He wouldn't be able to do the things he would normally do; like fishing, golfing, and other activities. We all knew something was wrong so my aunt took him to see a doctor to get a normal routine body check up. That's when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. We all saw it coming but never said anything. He smoked cigarettes like a fat kid ate cake. I could've sworn he'd smoke over three packs a day. He was addicted and my family knew it was a problem. My family never did anything about it until he was diagnosed. We tried to stop him by just telling him it was bad to smoke so much, but he's a grown man. How were we suppose to stop a grown man from doing something he was addicted to? When he was diagnosed, thats when my family finally

started to take action. Everyone worked more hours to make more money to pay for more and more doctor visits. Every doctor said the same depressing thing that no one would ever want to hear about happening to their family member. After hearing about a dozen of doctor opinions, it was sure that his stage of lung cancer was so bad, there was no way he would live any longer than a couple of months.

After he started chemo, he got very sick. My uncle was one of those big, scary, tough guys that never got sick. So when my uncle was diagnosed with cancer, I was really scared and confused. Every time I went to visit, I would see him laying there with "accident pads" and a bucket next to his bed. So you would know how weird it was to see my "strong" uncle laying there literally shitting himself. I still remember the day I went to visit him, and his reactions to chemotherapy got so bad we had an ambulance come to my aunts house. He couldn't breathe that well and seeing him suffocate on just air, really freaked me out. I hid in his closet smelling the scent on his clothes and just cried for hours. Every single sound I heard, and all the things the paramedics were saying about my uncle really haunted me those couple of days. Hearing the paramedics talking about my uncle, saying that he's basically dead, really really traumatized me. He ended up getting surgery when he left to the hospital. Apparently something really bad happened. I never got to see him when he got out of surgery because I was too young. I have a feeling he looked pretty pale sick so I think it was a good idea I stayed in the waiting area.

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That night, he went back to the hospital because too much was happening to his lungs. My uncle was struggling really hard to breathe and that was really hard on him and my aunt. The surgery went fine, but something in his body was rejecting what the surgeons did and it all just went downhill from there. His cancer ended up spreading almost everywhere, and there was

nothing that could've been done. It was already too late for my uncle at this point. I remember this day so clearly like it happened yesterday. This was technically his last day on earth, even

though his body is still here. When he got to the hospital this time, it was a lot more traumatic than the last visit. He would code almost every hour and nurses and doctors would have to come to his room and save him. My family and I would take turns going into his hospital room to visit him because the hospital only allowed four people in the room with him at once. It was a really scary time seeing him in a hospital bed, almost unconscious, and having no idea what was going on. This made me really depressed. My cousin's ended up flying to Dallas from LA to see her dad one more time before he passed away. The part that sucked the most, was that my cousin brought her 3 year old daughter Audrey. Audrey was at the age where she got to know how caring and loving my uncle was, but didn't really get to remember all the memories she had with him. She was also at the age where she asked many many questions. She would ask me these questions like, "Why isn't grandpa waking up and playing with her?" and I had no response.

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That night, he died. He was basically unconscious the whole day and he was only alive because a machine was breathing for him. I actually was in the room when he died. I wasn't too scared because I got a heads up. I only knew this because the last time I got to see him, the doctors told us to say our good byes. The doctor told my aunt he would be better off if we pulled the plug that was keeping him alive. It was crazy because once the plug was pulled, everyone was allowed to be in the room. We all watched as his breathes got longer and longer. And the beeps on the machine showing his heart rate were getting slower and slower. This was when I actually saw my uncle die. Even though I wasn't scared, I felt a little weird and out of place. My aunt was sobbing and I thought obviously it was because her husband just passed away in front

of her own eyes. But the real reason why she was crying, was because when she was in the room while the plug was pulled, my uncle opened his eyes and held my aunts hand as he died. She thought that pulling the plug set my uncle free. She believed that letting my uncle go, meant that she was letting him leave his cancer filled body and entering another dimension where his health was perfect. It was really ironic because my uncle died on the same day as Chinese New Year. And in 2009, the animal of the year was the Ox. And even more ironic, my uncle was an Ox. So even though we went through the tragedy of him passing away, it was some sort of sign that he was ready to celebrate his new life on the other side.

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That next day, was his funeral. My aunt planned a beautiful memorial at a cemetery that most of the rest of my dead family members were. Back when my uncle first got diagnosed, she already planned out his memorial, and the place, and where his grave would be. His grave was next to my fourth uncles grave and my grand parents grave. This really assured he won't be alone while he's dead. At the service, my aunt gave a pretty long and boring speech about his life story and blah blah. But, when she got to the end, she talked about how so much weight has been lifted off from her shoulders. She believes her husband lifted all that weight off of her shoulders. She made the right decision on pulling the plug. We all wanted him to just be able to leave his cancer filled body world and have peace. Him dealing with cancer made a huge impact in my life. Letting him go wasn't the easiest thing to do, but it sure made me feel good. Knowing he wasn't breathing from a machine made me so happy. Knowing he is living a better life made me so happy. Knowing my aunt knew that he was living a better life made me so happy. While he was being set down into his grave, we all tossed a rose down there and said our very last good byes. The hard part was when my cousin and her husband went to say their good byes, they had

to explain what happened to my uncle to Audrey. They told Audrey he was sleeping and that he will be sleeping for a very long time. To this day, Audrey still believes that he is sleeping, but now she's at the age where she understands what death really is.

Every year on his birthday, my family in Dallas still visits his grave. We bring him duck, rice, fruits, alcohol, and ironically cigarettes. I think this is just an asian thing, but we pretend like we're celebrating his birthday with him, so we bring him a feast of his favorite foods and his favorite thing, cigarettes. We burn all those things in a big pot so it'll "send" to him on the other side. Every year we visit him, it's not sad anymore. We talk to him like he's there. We update him on who's getting married, and who just graduated high school and all that stuff so he's not being left out. My cousin ended up getting pregnant again and now has another daughter named Nia. We told my uncle about his new grand daughter Nia, and that blazing hot summer day, suddenly turned not as blazing hot as it was. We all thought it was a sign that he is still here with us. It's funny we bring him cigarettes because essentially, thats what really killed him. But it's his birthday and thats what he would've wanted if he was still alive. My aunt always said "Don't worry he's in another world, cigarettes can't do shit to him, he already died here, let him be happy!" I can see my aunt happy every day now, when back when he was sick, she was super depressed and down all the time. I believe letting him go was easier for all of us.

Honestly, this has taught me that letting go can be easy. Not just in a life or death situation, but in many other situations. For example, if you get dumped by someone, let that jerk go. Don't go chasing someone who doesn't share the same feelings as you. Let the sucker know what he's missing out on. Let him go and find yourself another man!

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I like to think that my uncle is watching over me occasionally. Keeping me safe and

making sure nothing too bad happens. I believe he is sometimes. Because even though the odds of me getting hurt are way higher than me not getting hurt in a bad situation, I would end up not getting hurt. Once I was driving and I got into a car accident, my car bumpers ended up falling off, the frame of my car was bent, and the airbags came out and smacked me right in the face. The damage to my car was so bad that everyone thought something had to have happened to me. But not even a scratch was made on my skin. The only thing that physically happened to me, was maybe a small bruise from the seat belt. I think my uncle was my guardian angel when that accident happened and helped save my life.

So remember that smell of vomit? That smell will always stick with me, because that literally was the smell of death. My uncle being diagnosed with cancer was the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me. Although it was depressing, it made a huge impact in my life. The last day he lived on this earth, I learned something really important. At the funeral when my aunt gave her speech, it showed me how it can be good to let go. I learned from his death, that letting go in certain situations was easier and the right thing to do. My uncle will always have a spot in my heart. And I will always thank him for being there for me, and teaching me that even though he has passed away, he is now living a better afterlife because of the decision we made to pull the plug and let him be free.