One Man, One Life, One Inspiration
Michael Chan, eldest son of my best friend, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in December, 2006, and received the sad news that likely he had only two to four months to live. As with any loving family, the Chan clan went into survival mode, seeking to prolong or even save Michael’s life at all costs.
Grasping At a Straw, in Faith
Younger brother Richard flew Michael to Mexico to consult with a reputed herbal doctor there. Returning and beginning a regiment of organic dietary herbal treatments heightened the family’s hope that Michael would be cured.
Michael’s lovely wife, Cindy, and their two daughters, Michelle and Annette, eagerly desired healing atthis point in the life of their dearest loved one. Despite the dire prognosis of Michael’s condition, they,along with numerous other family members, colleagues, and friends prayed ardently for him to be cured.Concerted prayers from brothers and sisters all over the world went up to the Heavenly Father on behalf of Michael. As events unfolded over the next two years of Michael’s life, it was evident that God was listening to our prayers.
In God’s Hands
Once a week during the last two years of Michael’s failing health, my wife Kelly and I had the privilege of visiting Michael, either at his home or in the hospital. We observed a genuine expression of total reliance on God. With a strong faith that his life was in God’s hands, Michael did everything in his power to help people around him experience the same sense of ease regarding his condition.
Being a man of faith and a believer in prayer, Michael had spiritual resources to fight for his own life.Through his pharmaceutical training, he also understood the benefit of medical treatments, and was able to find and maintain a level of comfort for himself, while cooperating fully with the treatment strategies of the medical professionals. To the end of his life, he never gave up hope for a cure.
The Comfort of Love
Michael’s ever-caring mother tended beside her ailing son most of his waking hours. She would prepareorganic, nutritious foods for every meal, and Michael would eat slowly and methodically, taking in not only the life-giving sustenance but the very essence of love itself.
Perhaps learning from his mother, Michael too was a very caring person. He always put the interestsand comfort of his visitors first, even though they were trying to comfort him. Knowing that I love mangoes,several times Michael prepared the best quality mangoes to treat me while I visited him at his home. He also insisted that I sit in the cozy massage chair so that I could feel relaxed and refreshed before I left. During these visits, I learned a lot from Michael about being unselfish.
Dreams and Memories
One time, Mrs. Chan, Michael, my wife and I were strolling on the runway of a beautiful Bellevue Park.Michael spoke positively with high hope and confidence that if God healed him, he wanted to spend timein Mongolia in northern China, a place he had gone two years earlier on a short-term mission trip. He saidhe felt a calling to minister to the Chinese people there.
At other times as we walked inside the Bellevue Square or inside the Crossroad Mall, Michael would talkabout his childhood experiences, growing up in Seattle, or of the loving memories he had of bringing hisyoung daughters to the mall when they were kids. Sometimes he would reach way back in his memory and tell stories of terrible things that happened to him and his friends in their early life. Michael always had a way of steering the conversation away from his physical condition to a topic of interest to others.
Even after Michael’s body became very frail, he and his wife attended church almost every Sunday. People became accustomed to seeing his smiling face and hearing his words of cheerful greeting. His faith and faithfulness to the church spoke volumes about God being the ultimate source of solaceand strength.
With Bonds of Love
During the last week of his life on earth, Michael and Cindy celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. My wife and I brought a bouquet of flowers and a DVD of my students’ violin recital and left them atthe doorstep of their home. We immediately received a phone call back, thanking us and expressing ajoy and peace which was infectious to us. Michael’s tenacity in fighting his illness to the end and his continuous total reliance on God simply could not be overlooked by the hundreds of people both local and from around the world who came to wish him well. His courage was an encouragement to us all.
The strong bond of love Cindy had for Michael, her closest earthly companion, was beautiful to observe.She maintained her full-time job while every night lying beside the bed of her gravely sick husband, tending to his needs. She often functioned with little or no sleep, but she never complained.
Michael’s older daughter, a strong Christian of unfailing energy and zest, wrote comforting care letters on the computer, updating her father’s situation to keep his friends and prayer-partners informed. Her emails were interwoven with loving concern, caring compassion, and intense pleading for the intervention of God for her father. This loving daughter, in her own grief and uncertainty abouther father’s future, grasped the words and inner yearnings of the Holy Spirit, fighting the good fight on behalf of her beloved father. Michael’s younger daughter was constantly beside her father’s hospital bed. Once I witnessed a most moving scene when, after awaking from surgery, father and daughter embraced, and in a moment of eye-to-eye communication, shared their love and gratitude for eachother.
Thank you, Michael
At Michael’s memorial service last year, my wife Kelly was invited to serve as the eulogy narrator and I was the scripture reader. We reminisced the special times we had spent with our dearest brother Michael. Guest speaker, Esther Chan, a terminally ill colon cancer patient, spoke of the serendipity of a love gift of $l000 she received from Michael the first time they met. Michael, being a generous and compassionate person, knew she had needs, and he did what he could to help.
Again and again Michael lived his life for others—for anyone the Lord put on his pathway as he made his short journey through this life. In life and in death, he was an inspiration to all who knew him.