Saturday, August 15, 2009

The bravest of us

Yesterday, a kid in tutorial asked me if I had to choose between brain and body, what would my choice be? I shot back quite arrogantly that I already had both so I didn't have to make the choice. Well, it was an impertinent question meant to disrupt the session, and sometimes my mouth shoots off faster than I can control it.

Not too long after, Dad texted me about the passing of my eldest cousin. Tshoong was indeed someone who didn't have the choice between brain and body. At some point earlier in life, he developed a condition that atrophied his muscles so badly that he lost all motor-control over his whole body. Whatever was happening in his brain was firing off all the wrong impulses through his nerves, causing him to become a mass of twitches and tics that never abated.

I can imagine how frustrating that must have been for him. There was a perfectly good mind trapped in a ruined body. Even the simplest normal human function that we take for granted, for him he had to depend on other people for assistance.

It wasn't this condition that killed him in the end. He'd lived this way for many years already, anyway. The docs signed off that it was a heart condition with a diabetic complication that eventually took him.

Thinking back on the question if I would choose mind or body, I don't know if I would have the courage as Tshoong had to maintain his mind and intellectual faculties for as long as he did, even when he didn't have the body to carry it around in. And it's only now that he's still... and at peace at last.

This is my Facebook status update for today, preserved here because I wrote it with him in mind:

gathers with the clan. Black umbrellas and the rain.
Time to rest now, cuz.

Among his generation, he was the bravest of us all.

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