Today is All Saints’ Day. This is my first as an orphan. My mother passed away May 31. My father joined her in heaven on Oct. 9.
They say grieving is hardest during seasons of celebrations. Life is both about grieving and celebrating. The norm is to celebrate life and grieve in death. But Christians are called to both: celebrations and lamentations in both life and in death. We celebrate life – we are called to a life of contentment and gratitude for blessings God gives. But we also lament about sufferings in life, mistakes we made, broken relationships and all the consequences of our sinful nature. While death causes much sorrow, by God’s grace, Christians are enabled to celebrate the passing of their loved ones. Christians celebrate because death in the body is to be alive forever with God. They have hope… hope of something sure.. that one day, they will be reunited with their loved ones, fellow Christians. Meanwhile, they celebrate and they grieve by remembering.
Today I choose to rejoice in my grief as I remember papa and mama.
Papa’s most often spoken words to me: Toh Sia (Thank you)
Papa’s most gentlemanly gesture for me: Carry my bag in elementary and open the door for me whenever I leave the house after i visit him.
Papa’s most comforting words to me: Kah papa kong, papa tueh di kih toh. (Tell it all to papa, papa will pray for you.)
Papa’s most often asked questions of me:
Bi, di tah kwa, tah queh ho seh o? (薇, how are your in-laws?)
Bi, kui tiam lo ah? (薇，what time is it?)
Bi, shang tsai di lai? （薇, who drove you here?)
He often asked me about Andrew and each of my children.. where they were, what they’re doing.
Papa’s last sentence to me: Di, Biya ba? (are you Biya?)
Papa’s last word to me: Mama…
Most important event of my life that I want to thank God for:
At 12:38 am on May 21, 1962, mama gave birth to me and God saved her from bleeding to death.
Mama’s legacies: 1) prayers “Goa tak dit tueh din ki toh.” (I pray for you all everyday.); 2) her bravery/courage: she lost her dad at 3, she had dialysis for 6 months at 65, she had kidney transplant and went through so many health challenges in the 13 years that followed. 3) Her faith in God and dependence on God.
Mama’s purpose in life: serve God and tell people about God’s grace in her life. She celebrated her last birthday witnessing to people at church about God’s goodness in her life.
Mama’s passion/vocation: teaching
Mama’s last smile: when I showed her pictures of my children
Mama’s last text: Thank you for your misua. I finished it. I love you.
Mama’s last phone call to me: Goa yah boh song. (I feel so unwell.)
Mama’s last food craving that I fail to give. 😦 The chicken in Hao Zhi Wei – across Shin Tong Yang in Ongpin, Chinatown (sobbing now..)
Mama’s last act of courage: she closed her eyes to sob but held back the tears.
My last prayer with mama: May 29, Sunday morning, by her bedside