Tuesday, July 6, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, I lost my maid. She died of cancer. She joined me for work, when I first moved into Miri. She was already working for another Indian guy and she was looking for more work. A young Malaysian lady, who stayed in the nearby kampung(village). She was a very nice lady who dedicatedly did her work. She was blessed with three beautiful daughters. In fact, during the entire month of Ramadan, she came to work though she was fasting. I had requested her to take a break, since she was fasting, but she insisted on doing every chore. I vividly remember her baking beautiful cakes for my daughter. She was a healthy person and never complained of any illness.

Barely a couple of months passed, when she first complained of tiredness. We advised her to show to the doctor. A visit to the doctor followed a series of tests, which changed her destiny forever. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was unbelieveable. She was so hale and hearty till the previous day. She never felt her body giving any warning signals. The doctors immediately advised chemotherapy, as the cancer had already spread to the rest of the body. Chemotherapy was not available in Miri. She had to travel to Kuching, the state capital for her sessions. She had to quit her job at both places. I felt so helpless seeing her suffer. I always wonder, why the poor have to suffer more. She was such a nice soul. Of all the people, why does God punish such nice people. She was a poor lady who worked in two houses to support her family. We  helped in ways possible.

Cancer slowly started taking a toll on her. She lost her hair, started looking shrivelled and old. She lost weight. Though her husband was working, family expenses, coupled with her medical expenses became a financial burden on them.  So she decided to resume work.  She joined back for work at the Indian guy's house. I was surprised. She knew she was dying, but still wanted to work till the last day. Cancer, could not break her spirit. She continued working for few months. I could see her daily becoming thinner and thinner. Yet she always had a smile on her lips. But she could not sustain long.  Her legs hurt everyday. She had to quit finally as her body needed rest. She suffered immensely her last few days. One night the pain became unbearable. She was admitted to the hospital. Next day morning, she died. 

I visited her house and felt very sad. Her youngest daughter is just five years old. It's an irreparable loss for the family. She worked with me only for few months, but everyone in our flats misses her smiling face. She was liked by all. The other day I heard about the famous tennis player Martina Navratilova too has been diagnosed with cancer. She is in her fifties. Despite her cancer she continues playing her game between her hospital stays. She has all the wealth in the world, but cancer has not spared her either.

It's amazing to see two women from two different strata of society battling cancer. One had to succumb to it and the other is still trying to fight it. It's a killer disease which does not spare anyone. Medical science is still trying to find out more about this disease and save lives. One day hopefully, science will have answers and help save lives of many nice souls.

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