June 15, 2008

Mark and Jin at the Tiger Zoo Chonburi Thailand 2007 feeding an adolescent live tiger in a hat she crocheted herself.

Jin (Kun Yuwanit Tipkunok)
July 1976 - June 2008
32 years of life

Our family is mourning the death of Mark's longtime friend and caregiver, Miss Jin (Kun Yuwanit Tipkunok). She will be terribly missed - her beautiful smile, her upbeat style, her unwaivering love for Mark. Jin both saw and brought a lot of beauty into many peoples' lives including ours. Others couldn't help but see that beauty through the sparkle that seemed ever present in Jin's eyes. Jin has too many wonderful qualities to begin to list, but we will always be grateful for the time she spent with Mark and with us, at his sickest times when he was getting chemotherapy and radiation and when he was too sick to go far from home or hospital, and at his best times such as time at Jomtien beach or the Pattaya water park or the Tiger Zoo in Chonburi. Jin worked at the Tiger Zoo in Chonburi some years ago and people there remembered her and chatted with her each time she returned. She visited the zoo in recent years with Mark several times and with Mark and I and Mark and Stephanie. Ironically she died in this city after a prolonged battle with pneumonia and heart attacks .

Jin enjoyed the widest range of experiences in life- it was a pleasure eating with her at an excellent restaurant or eating our favorite noodle soup at a stand on the street. She loved the trip to Chang Mai to see the King's International Floral Show (Royal Flora Ratchaphruck 2006), where Mark nearly fainted among the thousands of beautiful orchids, as he was very sick, but tried his best to go anyway to share the adventure with Jin. She loved the Christmas season spent on Koh Tau with Mark, his sister Stephanie and myself; especially the beautiful Christmas supper on the beach and we loved her enthusiasm at every new adventure she shared with us. She shared her village with us in trips we took there, near Korat, Thailand.
Jin always believed and seemed proud that I (Mark's mother) loved her and would tell people even in her last days: "Mom loves me." I would call or e-mail and tell her this and when she was in ICU and fighting for her life Mark would relay this message to her. I would tell her as often as I could...and yet I am left with the feeling I didn't have enough time with her. I didn't do enough with her or for her even though we had a million adventures. Mark feels this too; it is really that we did not have enough time with her and so we are left feeling we were unable to do enough for her. Her death is a great loss to Mark.

Jin had so many skills. She had the ability to make a feast for a half dozen people or a hundred people out of what would look to us like not nearly enough ingredients. It was fun to go to the market with her and to cook with her. It was fun to ride on the back of her motor bike through the city of Bangkok. It was fun to celebrate Thai holidays and customs with her. Every minute with Jin was treasured in life and now that she is gone, the treasure of time with her seems even more valuable. Jin was a fun person to be around, with every experience seeming wondrous as you experienced it with her, but more than that she was a friend to all and family to a lucky few.

June 10, 2008

Another scuba trip: another amazing adventure for a man with cancer. Which one is Mark?
Just talked to Mark on the telephone. He reported he was on a bus going back to Chonburi, Thailand from the coast where he had gone scuba diving once more; this seems like a miracle when I recall how sick he has been with cancer and cancer treatments. Another minor miracle seems to be my telephone conversations once or twice a day with Mark. We talk via Yahoo Messinger; my computer to his cell phone at a cost of 5 cents a minute.

If you are new to the blog, read the posts below and you can see that Mark has been going to the hospital in Chonburi three times a day to visit his friend and former caregiver Jin who has clung to life by a thread and the help of a ventilator and lots of medical and nursing care as well as Mark's great decisions about care and his knowledge of respiratory therapy. Mark got a day off to go scuba diving with Alan a former co-worker from the Reno area and a great friend. How did Mark get a day off? Arri (pronounced R-eee) the manager of the Angel's Guest House came from Pattaya with Alan and kindly stayed with Jin while the guys went scuba diving. Mark needed this break from his commitment to make sure Jin makes it through this health crisis. Arri deserves a huge thank-you and I will soon try to post her picture too.