How time flies! It was just like yesterday but now it has been over four months since my beloved wife & soul-mate Khomting (Khomlianting) left for her eternal home. The question is not to speculate whether she is with the Lord in heaven, or if she is somewhere in a dark-pit, in a dungeon of torment or in, as we would prefer to call, “hell”. The moot point now is “she is in her eternal home”. No matter what we do, say or think will ever change that, ever again. She journeyed with us, briefly, through the hard times, as well as the happy times. Like every human-being, she enjoyed a certain degree of happiness, faced seemingly insurmountable problems, jumped from one crisis to another, yet in the end, she left us, so empty and so barren. We have prayed, cried, suffered and fought alongside since 2004. In these last 5 years we have embraced both happiness and sorrow. We have celebrated each and every victory - there were many along the way. Together we have cried as there were heart-breaking and disappointing defeats. We all expected a different outcome and when the doctor delivered the bad news to us during the last week of January 2009, it stopped us in our tracks. It shattered whatever hope we had. Between the two of us, I believe, I was the one who was unable to handle our situation more. But every time I succumbed to pressure and the emotional pulls of the situation, Ting was right there with these lines: “Pathian in nang tawh I chate khankhua di chu a he ma mai. Uthang, bang atia lungkham sek la hem?” (Dear, why are you so heart-broken? God will take care of you and our children)
Life is no bed of roses. Even after her home-going, my parents, children and I continued to walk the rough path. The inescapable truth is that there is no way out. Our longing for my wife is undiminished, unending and unconditional. When we went to her grave on November 2 (Khomting’s 44th birthday), our youngest child Robie asked, “Dad, is this the road to heaven?”. Piercing questions, that shot into your deepest being, continued to flow from her mouth to this day. We visited the grave again on December 19 along with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, my children and several others, and when tears dropped from my eyes I knew instantly that it would never dry so long as I live. I would always have tears for you, my beloved!
One time as we lay in bed, holding each other tightly, as she wanted that particular night, Robie said, “Papa, when you go to heaven, do not leave me behind. We will go together”. I had to remove my pillow to make way for another as it was wet with my tears. How they missed their mother! How they missed the joy of togetherness! Oh, how they longed to behold her once more, even if for a few fleeting seconds, just to be assured that she was no mirage in their lives! Oh, how they suffered the pain of separation!
When my first-born Nadine missed school after several bouts of severe pain attacks in her abdomen and was lying on her bed, Robie came running to me and said, “Papa, Ulem Nu-nu kiang van gam ah chia ta di maw le?” (Papa, is my sister Lem going to heaven to be with mother?).
Loneliness and longing, deep and intense, continued to visit us as we slowly summon enough strength and began our painful walk. The wildflowers of memories continued to flash before our naked eyes every second. “Henu, inn hung kin ta’n la” (Mother, come home soon/quickly) reverberated across the house as little Robie wails in painful longing. It was never easy.
As we begin our new journey in life, we rely on the goodness and mercies of our loving Heavenly Father to comfort us. And we are confident that He will give us the strength to carry on and move into the future, however painful it may be. Your prayers and support for my daughters, parents and me have been incredibly important and valuable. As friends, relatives, colleagues and sympathizers of my family, we want you to know we appreciate you for praying, believing, supporting and sustaining us throughout the long period of my wife’s illness. As also during the days following her home-going, and to this very hour. Without you, it would have been more difficult.
As you might imagine, the costs that we incurred throughout are nothing short of staggering. The demands of my wife’s treatment forced me to step away from the day-to-day operations of our school. This essentially meant the loss of any meaningful income for a long period of time. All told, with actual treatment costs in the hundreds of thousands of rupees, and factoring in lost income to the school, the likely deficit created by the situation was in the 6 figure range. But friends, relatives and many Good Samaritans came forward to help us ward off a possible crisis. I am particularly grateful to one friend who sent 57,000 rupees to offset the cost of my wife’s treatment. And like him, many generously came forward and helped us. Without your help, it would not be possible to be in a situation wherein we are today.
And today, as we continued to move forward, my children and I would like to thank you
all from the bottom of our hearts for your prayerful support and help during the course of
Khomting Vaiphei’s long struggle with cancer. It is our prayer that our loving God, the Father of all mercies and God of comfort, who is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask and hope for, will shower on you His choicest blessings so that you may continue to be a blessing to others in need.
A grateful family,
Khamneithang Vaiphei & daughters,
Khawllemhoi, Chhungthianching, Janezokim & Robie Dongbiakvak