Monday, January 17, 2011

I MADE A CHOICE - A Valentine's Day 2011 tribute to my wife, Doris

Raymond chose to marry his wife Doris at the age of 24, despite knowing that she suffers from schizophrenia and depression, amongst other things.

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.”
- St Augustine -

Schizophrenia is the most distressing of all mental disorders. The illness alters the way people think and feel, so that perceptions may be changed and thinking can be disturbed.

This is very disabling for the sufferers and very distressing for their families, who often become the primary caregivers.

I made a choice at the age of 24 that I would indeed, take the road less travelled and marry Doris.

So, why did I make that choice?

Unlike the many girls that I dated, Doris was very down-to-earth. I found her to be sincere, loving and caring. This was the woman that would change my life – dramatically.

Often marriages are put to the test when couples are confronted with financial problems or if a spouse is stricken with chronic illnesses.

All marriages will go through good and bad times. But if couples stick to one another during those rough times, the relationship will improve steadily as time goes by.

Today, my wife has a total of five illnesses, including schizophrenia, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol and incontinence.

Being the sole caregiver to my wife for more than three decades is no easy feat, and I have suffered burnout so many times.

Even though Doris is currently coping well with her mental illness, a relapse of her schizophrenia is always possible.

This is because of her struggles with arthritis, which often leaves her in severe pain and misery.

People with mental illness can relapse if a severe physical illness is not properly managed.

For schizophrenia, like some other mental disorders, is unpredictable.

Doris worries a great deal that one day she might not be able to walk.

But I have to constantly assure her that despite all her ailments, I will continue to care and love her to my last dying breath.

For I made a choice 35 years ago to marry Doris and keep our marriage vows intact despite the adversities I know I will face.

There is no question that the world today, is filled with an appalling amount of evil and suffering.

So, it is abundantly clear to me that what the world needs is love - lots of it.

If we can give love, understanding and support to a beggar, the elderly sick, the man who has lost his job, the children who go hungry, the depressed and the oppressed, then wouldn't everyday be Valentine's Day?

Come 14 February, let us make a pledge to 'infect' those around us with the power of love. For love has the power to heal.

My sentiments about my beloved Doris is best summed up in this Valentine's Day poem, entitled, “Love grows in a red rose.”Poem: Love grows in a red rose A Valentine's Day tribute to my lovely wife, Doris Lau Siew Lang

Dearest Doris, I may have to write till I'm blind

But with you in my heart,

I can survive, I will be fine

Treasure the pretty red rose

Your favourite flower – the one I gave to you some time ago

The beautiful rose that made love grow

As my affection for you each day continues to flow

Place the red rose on your coat

And allow your dreams to stay afloat

I'll take down on the dance floor

Dance with you cheek to cheek

Then you'll smile again, cheer you up

Perk you up - that's for sure

And when you finally pass on and be taken to the Lord

Like a drifting cloud

Each night, you will pass by

And as I look up yonder, high in the sky

I will see your face and try not to cry
For whenever I see a red rose in all its splendour

Your name, your face, your smile, your warmth

I will always cherish,

I will forever remember

Happy Valentine's Day, Doris

I will stay committed to you - and that's a promise."


Raymond Anthony Fernando


Philip Loh said...

Dear Raymond, I just happened to stumble upon your blog after I sent out a letter to one of my sisters explaining to her why I had to stay away from the family for the past ten years.

Cutting to the chase, it has to do with my wife who is also suffering from depression. Each time we come in contact with family members she would relapse into a bout of depression which would last for weeks on end.

Like you, I too love my wife dearly. On top of that there is my nine year old boy to look after as well. We are okay as long as she is okay but then again the shoulders become heavy with anxious anticipation, not knowing when it will strike again.

Fortunately, with the grace of God, I have a good job which has provided us well. I would like to meet up with you one of these days when you next visit TTSH. I work there in the Medical Records Office.

Meantime, perhaps we can connect via FB? I'll send you a friend invite.

Thanks for listening.
Philip Loh

rayhope said...

ok, Philip,
Sorry, I did not accept you as a friend earlier because I was not aware of who U are. Do submit again again & I'll accept U this time around since I now know you are genuine.