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Love in the time of death Fong Kam-ho
Home should be a place where people receive and share love. Home, however, has been merely an empty place for Fong Kam-ho after the death of her pet dog, Peggie.
Kam-ho has to take medicine regularly now, including sleeping pills and drugs for her schizophrenia. But the drugs make her jittery and make her hands shake, so she has to take other pills to overcome these side effects.
Now that Kam-ho has turned 50, death often enters her thoughts. She says she often feels she will die soon. â€œSometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and think, 'Maybe when I next wake, I will find that I am already deadâ€™,â€ Kam-ho says. She has even thought about what she would do if and when the end of the world comes. "I made a good friend, Ah Mui (â€œLittle Sisterâ€), in Kwai Chung Hospital, and we have a pact that when the end of the world comes, or war breaks out, and we canâ€™t contact each other on the phone, we will meet outside Sham Shui Po Police Station. And we will not leave the place until we see each other.â€
Kam-hoâ€™s many happy memories with her dog help her deal with the many sleepless nights. When talking about the happy moments in her life, she will always mention Peggie, an adorable Pekingese with shiny yellow fur that she started raising in 2001. Peggie loved to walk with Kam-ho in the street and would turn the head of every passer-by. Kam-ho said she loved Peggie and treated the dog as her daughter because of a miscarriage sheâ€™d had. She cries when she thinks about the child she lost.
Kam-ho met another man when she was 37, and after a year she became pregnant. She had high hopes for the coming of the new life, but then the baby died. And she suggested they should part. Though her life became more colourful with Peggie, the wound caused by the loss of her daughter has remained. â€œOne day in 2004, I could not stop crying and just could not control my emotions,â€ Kam-ho says. â€œI happened to see the social worker that day, and the social worker arranged for me to see doctors at Caritas Hospital, who confirmed I was suffering from emotional problems.â€
Kam-ho feels an invisible knot in her heart every day when she wakes up. â€œI always feel like I am going to die soon, that I will die one or two minutes later,â€ she says. â€œI feel very uncomfortable, and I also fear that I will die even when I am sleeping.â€
In 2008, Fong was allowed to move into a public housing unit for a single person. Her anxiety remains, despite the fact sheâ€™s moved out of her former 100 sq ft en suite room. Sometimes she would sit overnight in a park close to her home with Peggie and would only return home when she was really tired.
Peggie died in 2009. After Peggie died, friends introduced Kam-ho to a man who became her boyfriend. However, three months after they met, she found that Ah Fai would hit his own hand and mumble to himself, cursing.
She looks worried as she continues, â€œSometimes I see him hit his own head, and he says he has a headache the next day. But he cannot remember anything about it later. What can I do?â€(Excerpts from the book Life and Times)