Cathy Chin'shusband died almost two and a half years ago. He was
diagnosed in December and died the following month. She responded
to his death by isolating at home but eventually found her way to
a support group, and subsequently became a hospice volunteer.
On Her Husband's Diagnosis
One day we were riding home from BART because we were commuting together
from the city, and he was having chest pains. And my husband Romeo never
went to doctors if I didn't nag. And he said, as we were getting off,
I need you to take me to the emergency room, which scared me to death.
I think that was the beginning, I call it the beginning of my death.
Romeo was diagnosed with lung cancer in early December and he died the
following month: one month from the actual day of diagnosis, December
8 and January 8. Funny, how I can just remember the exact days, dates,
On Facing Death and Dying
I would listen. I would just listen. I was so scared that there were
times I can remember, several times when Romeo brought up the subject
of death and I would just push it away. I would say, you're going to
get well, you're going to get well. I think he was more scared for me
than he was for himself but there was no chance to even absorb it. I
remember having a conversation with my co-worker at that time, and I
don't cry. I never cried before.
On Faith and Healing
What helped me is knowing why I'm here, why we're all here, to be with
one another, to love one another. I think that was the beginning of
my birth. My second birth. My dying stopped. It's being connected with
people. It's being heard. It's being seen. It's not being judged. I
think my faith has resurfaced in God, in Buddha, in something much more
than me. I think I was way too self-absorbed, or way too concerned with
my self and my life. What's healing? I think what's most rewarding is
learning to deal with the unknown, and with change. How things constantly
change, even though it might take a long time for something to change,
eventually it will change.