How to face life greatest adversities?

On the eve of my sister’s 28th birthday, I woke up at 5am plus to cook breakfast and lunch boxes for Little Prince and myself.

Then, we headed to see the dentist who works from 7 am to 3pm, for the 2nd of 3 root canal treatments for Little Prince teeth K and L. Thankfully, it was an early appointment hence no other patients.

Since he was the first patient of the day, he got to choose the cartoon that he could watch from the dentist chair; he chose the Trolls, over listening to his hero Gaudi that he did during the 1st of 3 treatments.

Initially, the dentist thought that no local anesthesia was necessary. I was holding his hands that he put up, very gently massaging his head, whispering him brave messages. However, after ~ 30 minutes of Little Prince’s crying, myself keeping calm and consoling him, the dentist almost losing patience (she was not as patient as the dentist who extracted his front upper teeth but appeared to be more decisive), Little Prince had an injection of local anesthesia, and I was worried that he would bite his lips due to the numbness, hence I later accompanied him to the school and spent some time there, in spite of my impending work deadlines.

After an hour sitting on the dentist chair, he requested for a toilet break. After we returned, he seemed to be more cooperative. He still has a lot to learn about relaxing himself, as I observed that he was tensed on the chair, and the dentist threatened him that the needle may poke his tongue.

Things turn around for him after we started walking to his school, amid the hazy and sandy weather. We were slightly late for his splash day, but thankfully I asked if his fellow friends had tried the inflatable pools. Yes, so I asked [1] for a permission if he could be excused from his group and join another groups in the inflatable pools. Thankfully, his teacher from Canada said Yes. Little Prince greatly enjoyed the splash day, despite missing few stations, but I think he experienced his favorite ones from the inflatable pools to tricycles.

At work, I am thankful that a colleague from Malaysia helped me to partially grade exam papers and I treated her the most expensive restaurant meal that Little Prince and I had in Abu Dhabi since the beginning of 2018. We were still working while waiting for the food and after we finished our very early dinner.

Arriving at home, from my brother, I received the saddest news regarding Papa’s adversity. Dr informed that suspected cancer cells have spread to his brain and he has only 6 months if opting for non-treatment [2]. I broke into tears, and Little Prince consoled me by copying what I told him this morning at the hospital, “please do not cry otherwise naughty bacteria will find it easier to attack (us).”

To face and overcome life greatest adversities:

  1. nurture inner peace + inner strength + resilience.
    1. accept that adversity is inevitable in life.
    2. Look for the learning opportunities in every calamity. To quote Benjamin Disraeli, “there is no education like adversity.”
    3. Be prepared to accept the worst, yet hope for the best.
  2. nurture gratitude
    1. cherish every day and every one who has helped us or been nice to us or reached out to us.
    2. The difficult times in life help us appreciate when things are going smoothly.
  3. substitute fear with faith that the Universe (God) has a good plan for us.
    1. use our subconscious mind to plant the seeds of positivity in our mind, body and soul
    2. affirm “this too shall pass”
    3. One should decide whether one’s fears or one’s hopes are what should matter most,” Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
  4. stand on the shoulders of giants
    1. Who do I know that has overcome similar obstacles to those that stand in my way?
    2. consult our cherished mentors


[1] Matthew 7:7:
Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.

[2] Honestly, I have been angry at how unfair and tough life has been for Papa who worked hard his entire life. Instead of getting furious, I could be more humorously curious; I must nurture more calmness and practice 逆来顺受, as Papa taught.

I am thankful that Papa loves Mama very much. “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” “父亲可以为他的孩子做的最重要的事情就是爱他们的母亲。” Instead of worrying that Mama may likely spend many widow days and years without papa (the dragon maternal great grandmother of Little Prince and Little Princess has lived more years as a widow than a wife), we can focus on making Papa happy in the remaining days and months (and hopefully years) of his life with Mama.

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