For the past 24 years, 84-year-old Mr Low Chai Huat has been caring for his son Terance who is dependent on him for most activities of daily living. While the stoic father of five seldom expresses his love verbally, his unwavering devotion and care speak volume of his unconditional love for his youngest child. This Father’s Day, Terance, with some help from his training officers at our Day Activity Centre, has prepared a little surprise for his father. This is their story.
Speak slowly. Say the words one by one.
At every opportunity, Mr Low never fails to remind his 47-year-old son Terance to enunciate his words clearly so that others could understand him.
Terance was only 23 when he contracted viral encephalitis. It robbed him of his ability to walk, his speech and bladder control. A promising design student then with a bright future in interior design, this has become “what could have been” in Mr Low’s occasional sharing of their past.
Till this day, Mr Low still feels remorseful over what happened. He recalled Terance coming down with a fever and was unable to get up from bed and talk. Upon the general practitioner’s advice, Terance was sent to the hospital where he went into a coma for two weeks. “My wife and I did not have such an experience before. If only we knew that this condition is so serious, we would have sent him straight to the hospital. Strictly speaking, it was our fault,” he said in Mandarin.
No words could explain the hurt and pain that the parents felt. In hopes that Terance would get better, Mr Low spared no effort in trying out various interventions such as physiotherapy. Over the years, Mr Low has never stopped believing that Terance would recover.
A look around Terance’s home, one would notice the modifications that Mr Low had put in to make their home more accessible for Terance. The grab bars installed in the living room, bathroom and bedroom are telling of the painstaking efforts and love Mr Low has for his son.
“Our bathroom is too small for Terance to manoeuvre his wheelchair. I installed the grab bars so that he can hold on to them for support as he enters and exits the bathroom,” explained Mr Low.
The grab bars also come in handy during Terance’s exercise sessions at home. Supporting himself with the grab bars, Terance would practise walking and doing simple leg exercises, with Mr Low by his side to guide him.
Though every step he makes require much effort, Terance continues with the exercises to give his father peace of mind.
“I know how hard it must be for my father to take care of me. I want to say thank you to him,” said Terance.
To show his appreciation, Terance drew a Father’s Day card for Mr Low.
It took several rounds of handwriting practice before the card was finally completed. It showed Terance’s perseverance and focus, traits that his father is always proud of.
谢谢爸爸你的照顾。(Father, thank you for taking care of me.) -阿聪 (Terance)
A card that looks seemingly simple and brief, but every character in it contains an immense gratitude that a son has for his father, for the many years of love and patience.
To Mr Low and all fathers, we wish you a very Happy Father’s Day.