The Eyes

The eyes. I have been preparing myself for them. I remembered my husband's friend shared of her unhappiness of intrusive looks on her baby especially of the nasogastric tube in the nostril. The parents have shared of such rude stares as well in the support group. They felt self-conscious especially for their babies. 

Finally, it happened. The eyes which made me felt they want to stare deep into my soul or of my son's. Sometimes with unsmiling faces.The space between us felt invaded although more than ten feet in distance. It can be an uncomfortable feeling to be the subject of one's scrutiny. 


Staring eyes onto Patrick
This happened in the lifts. Restaurants. Carpark. Shopping malls. Even a walk in the neighbourhood park. Some would approach us, inquired was there anything wrong with Patrick. Young children were more direct. They either ask their parents aloud or they would ask me or my husband why Patrick the way he is. His yellow jaundiced skin with the nasogastric tube in his nostril. 

Patrick has not been aware he had been always been the centre of attention no matter where he goes. He would be aware of the looks coming his way. However, he does not appear to be uncomfortable. Occasionally he would smile and say, "hi!". Or he would return their stare with his stare. 

I find there would usually be the common reactions in seeing Patrick as follows:-

1) The adults or children could not hide their shocked expression. Sometimes I could tell their throat appeared to tighten up suddenly. I wondered was it because they held back questions on Patrick.

2) The look of sadness, even tears in seeing Patrick. Sometimes they may come forward to us and pray for Patrick and for us as a family. I always feel very touched when these happened. Once we had dinner at an Indian restaurant, one Chinese lady suddenly walked up to our table and asked our permission to pray for Patrick. 

People praying for Patrick
Another time my husband was approached by a Christian man who asked to pray for Patrick. My husband was carrying him in the food court area after lunch. This man said some words in English and ended with speaking in tongues. It was said some people have that gift and connected to the Holy Spirit. We experienced that a few times from strangers and from those we know. I would always felt something different when that happened. To explain it best, it was as if the air around us shifted to a different level of warmth. This could not be explained logically in a cold air-conditioned environment. 

Muslims and Hindus prayed over Patrick as well. I remembered once there was this man who was in the same lift with us. For some reason, he kept looking at Patrick. He inquired what happened to Patrick. My husband explained. This man appeared to be wearing a technician uniform of a shopping mall reacted with a distraught look. Before he left, he loudly asked Allah to bless our son. 

3) Strangers who would come up to us and say everything shall be fine. Believe it so. It shall be ok. Their gentleness in their eyes and kindness in their voice usually made me feel very touched.

4) People advising us on how to help Patrick lower his jaundice.  We received interesting advice from not allowing Patrick to wear yellow, that as a breastfeeding mother not to drink herbal soups among others. 

Occasionally I would receive advice, insisting to me I must apply their advice for Patrick's sake. Once I met a long silver-white haired man who did just that during our dinner. While having my meal, I felt someone appeared to be staring at us. I led my instinct guided me and noticed this man. To me, I assumed he was curious of Patrick's condition.

By the third time I turned my head to this man's direction, this time he made an exaggerated head nodding gesture to attract my attention. Out of curiosity, my attention on him remained longer. He was talking to me in Cantonese, a Chinese dialect. He was sitting from two tables away to our right side. He tried to raise his voice, giving me advice. Not all I could pick up. I remembered he mentioned of getting proper nutrition for Patrick among others. He kept looking at Patrick with great concern. Then he left.

Ket shared with me he was a homeless man. I was taken aback. He was?? The way he was dressed; his clothing appeared unwashed in weeks. He was carrying a plastic bag that appeared to have clothing as well. His hair looked messy, uncombed and unwashed. I remembered I had seen one homeless man walking around the neighbourhood. I was not sure whether it was him because I felt it would be rude to stare. Whether he was truly homeless or not, I appreciated he took the efforts to want to help Patrick. I still remembered his eyes of sadness when they were on Patrick. 

These eyes still come our way until today. I no longer felt they were invasive. By looking into their eyes, I could tell they were very concerned for Patrick's wellbeing. I always felt touched by each encounter. Especially those who took steps to express their love and care whether through words, prayers or actions. Although many of these encounters were like ships in the night, yet each one made me more aware of the kindness among people. We tend to read of crimes, insensitive people, greedy people in social media and news. The vibes shouted out - People cannot be trusted! 

We should not ignore the dangers yet we should not use it as a reason to prejudice against the whole society and humanity. There are goodness in people. There are not. I am grateful and thankful I am experiencing more of the goodness of Humanity. 





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