Meet Amy (continued)

(2/2) “I’m going to be applying for my PhD at the end of this year, and my research thesis, in a nutshell, is going to be about intercultural care for Chinese Canadians. Right now, we don’t really know how to care for different cultures in our healthcare system, especially if you don’t speak English.

Wong Suk Chun (Amy's mom), Wong Yuet Kwan (Amy's Grandma "Po-po") and Wong Ching Fu (Amy's mom's brother) c. 1956
Wong Suk Chun (Amy’s mom), Wong Yuet Kwan (Amy’s Grandma “Po-po”) and Wong Ching Fu (Amy’s mom’s brother) c. 1956

The whole topic of palliative and end-of-life care came up for me a few years ago. My grandmother died alone in extended care. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t sit with my grandmother and watch her take her last breath.

Then two years ago, my ex-brother-in-law was dying of heart failure. This time around, I had the opportunity to sit with him. I felt him take his last breath.

So for the last few years, I’ve been thinking about these two experiences, and one of the things that came up for me is that no matter how you lived your life—whether you were good, bad or in-between—nobody should die alone.

I feel very strongly that this is probably the only universal experience that we will all have. Not all of us will give birth. Not all of us will get married. But death is probably the only rite of passage that we will all experience at one point or another.

Amy and Lizz c. 1983-1984
Amy and Lizz c. 1983-1984

My grandmother was fortunate because she had grandchildren to take care of her. But there’s a lot of folks, non-English-speaking folks, that don’t necessarily have that resource to help them through as they are aging, as they’re dying.

I am positioning my research to hopefully train healthcare workers in all capacities to understand the cultural relevancy and the cultural humility to approach non-English-speaking folks in their last stage of their life.

Each of us are struggling and suffering our own hurts and pains. But what’s more important is that we help the other person with their struggle and their suffering. I’ve had a lot of people help me, and now I feel that it’s very important for me to help others.

Amy posing behind an art sculpture of two children reading books.


几年前,临终关頋这个话题深深吸引到我。 我的祖母在长期护理设施中独自去世,没有陪伴祖母度过她人生最后一刻成为我最大的遗憾。 两年前,当我的前姐夫因病离世的时候,我也在场陪伴他人生最后一刻。

所以在过去的几年里,我反覆思考这两次经历。 我最大的得着是,无论你选择什么样的生活、无论你是好人、坏人,没有人应该孤独地死去。 我的祖母很幸运,因为她有孙子照顾她。 但是很多人,特别是语言不通的人,他们不一定得到需要的帮助,平安度过老去和临终的时光。

通过我對这方面的研究,希望能培训医护人员,了解在跨文化或多元文化的环境中所需的技能,能与患者的文化背景联系起来。 更能帮助不懂英语的人士度过生命的最后阶段。虽然每个人都有自己的困难和伤痛,但仍然要帮助他人克服困境。 因为有很多人曾帮助过我,帮助别人对我来说是最為重要。” —Amy

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