After the morning Mobile Photography class ended, I was greeted by Mdm Ong, who was seated in an electric wheelchair and very kindly agreed to have our Chit Chat session during her lunch break before her next Digital Photo Editing class started. She shared with me that she had found out about XIOHOO classes through her friends and has been enjoying the classes thus far. She finds it important to catch up with modern technology in this digital age, which further encouraged her to attend our digital classes. The convenient location, appropriate duration of 3 hours and reasonable pricing are also some of the reasons that prompted her to continue her classes with us.
When probed about the meaning of active aging to her, she explained that she tries to keep herself occupied and constantly upgrades herself by learning new stuff. She shared that she picked up a new craft called Diamond Painting and created over 20 pieces. In her free time, she also doesn’t forget to volunteer and has helped out during Chinese New Year to pack goodie bags and also offered to teach Diamond Painting for free.
While I was glad that Mdm Ong was still actively volunteering and contributing back in her free time, I was then caught by surprise by the revelation made by Mdm Ong.
“I am a stroke survivor. There is life after stroke…”
She revealed to me that she had a stroke in 2018 and it turned her life upside down since then. The stroke affected the left side of her body and she cannot move her left hand and leg. She used to sew and was a part-time bag-making teacher.
She could no longer do many things she used to do. She used to drive. She used to work as an administrator. She loves to travel and explore new places. However, she now knows that she needs a lot of effort and determination to fulfill her wishes and carry out her past activities.
She shared that it was not easy the first few months post-recovery and rehabilitation, but she slowly accepted her condition with the support of her family and friends. In her words, she “learned to live the best out of [her] life.” She believed that our attitude determines our altitude and has since learned to have positive attitudes. As such, she continued to live her life actively and did not let her remaining life be crippled by the stroke. She explained that she had conducted virtual Diamond Painting classes via zoom for other stroke survivors in two organizations last year.
“Mishap and sickness will happen to anyone when we least expect it,” as quoted from Mdm Ong. I truly resonate with the words of Mdm Ong that life may throw you with the most unexpected encounters and I am also thankful to see her strong resilience to stand up against all the odds thrown towards her to live her life to the fullest. Often, we self-sabotaged ourselves and became paralyzed by our problems. While there may be down or hard times, we must learn to face them and endure through those difficult times. Let the negative feelings sink in for a while but allow yourself to grow and fight against the difficulties after giving yourself the time to grieve. After all, life is not just about the good times and no one can truly live a smooth-sailing life. Thereby, I wish that all who are reading this and having a hard time at the moment will persevere through and be inspired by Mdm Ong to shine with their resilience.