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What I learned from my dying father

Posted October. 09, 2021 07:16,   

Updated October. 09, 2021 07:16


Even a hospice doctor, who cares for dying patients every day, finds it hard to bear the weight of sadness in the face of father’s death. The author writes about her own experience like she does in her diary.

The author’s father, who has worked for his whole life as a local health professional, is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and tries to find something to laugh about while talking to his daughter on the phone. As time goes by, however, the fear of death that there will not be miracle for a cancer patient comes over him.

After chemotherapy proved ineffective, her father goes on his last trip. Seeing her sick father, who intends to drive 1,900 kilometers away from home, the author is amazed by the ability of a human being to live the present to the fullest at death’s door. An ordinary life can be great when you savor every moment with joy.

“I could waste the rest of my days, asking ‘Why me?’ but come to think of it, we all are dying from the moment we were born. But we are still alive before we actually die. So I will take it on the chin and live my life to the fullest.”

Nevertheless, the greedy appetite of cancer cells cannot be stopped. Her dying father is beginning to be separated from the world. When her father suddenly said to her, “Always be kind to others” as if it is his will, the author bursts into tears despite her effort to contain her sadness.

After her father’s death, the author realizes that nothing is important than love in the face of death. Although morphine and other drugs are excellent at reducing pain, the key treatment in the end is human connection.

The author also writes about how she turned into hospice doctor from reporter. She frankly describes about the feelings she experienced while caring for and treating patients at a hospice as well as her father. Above all, she emphasizes that the key to treatment lies in the stories of patients rather than the state-of-the-art medical technology.

Seong-Taek Jeong neone@donga.com