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My sister’s memory of mum

December 11th, 2008

Our mother left us this family altarpiece which we have continue to use after her death. Her tablet inscribed on a brass plate sits on the far left. The Goddess of Mercy sits in the middle. Food offerings and incense are to invite all our ancestors to gather and be with us through our the year.

Swee’s memory of mum

Today is Tuesday 9th December 2008 and marks the 2nd death anniversary of my beloved Mother. There hasn’t been a day that passes without thoughts of my mother. There are still moments when I find it hard to talk about my mother’s death as it seems only yesterday that she was cremated.

Two Sundays ago, I came across a photocopy of a hand-written note left by my mother dated 27th October 2006 detailing her final wishes. I have deliberately kept this piece of momento in my bedside drawer. Although I am not educated in Chinese, I was fascinated to see my mother’s handwriting again and I have learnt to memorise every character. Ms Tham, Mum’s accountant read the contents to my brother and I after Mum’s passing so that we could carry out her wishes.

Our mother’s last letter to us, which she read to use before going into hospital for surgery, 2006.

Although my mother was not highly educated as my grandparents were poor, she self taught herself to read and write. I am amazed Mum’s ability to put words on paper. I sobbed by the time I got to the last character. On hindsight, I think my Mum knew that her final moment was coming as she prepared herself to be admitted for her heart surgery on that fateful 31st October 2006.

Paul was unaware until he heard me sobbing in the bedroom. Paul’s memory of my mother is she was a kind and strong woman with a heart of gold. Although my mother came across as being frugal, many misunderstood her real intentions. My mother was a very generous woman and donated her money, time and effort helping out at temples and giving to the less fortunate.

I may have lost a mother but I have so many beautiful memories of a great and wonderful woman whom only I had the priviledge of calling Mum. I am envious of those who still have their parents.

Last year, my mother’s birthday fell on 25th December (Christmas Day) and this year, my Mum’s lunar birthday falls on Saturday 13th December. Paul and I will have a small offering at the Buddhist Temple in Auckland to remember our dearly beloved Mum.

Gratitude to our ancestors

April 25th, 2008

Ancestors\' tablets in temple

The first week of April, during the annual remembrance festival, my cousins and I went to visit the graves of our relatives (our grand father and mother and uncle). We all recalled in our own ways, our gratitude to our parents and our parent’s parents. We are glad to be here.

Our ancestors, either buried or cremated, not physically with us, silent, but are not forgotten. They are still alive in our mind. I guess, in their spirit world, they too are seeking out their missing ones, dead or life, in their own form, to tell stories about themselves and to listen to news of other persons or events.

Two years ago, my mother died, in the hospital; she was in a coma for forty days. It was my good fortune, to have my mother, to know her only when she decided to let you into her thoughts, was by her side and to share a house together, almost all her eighty years of life. Of course, there were many times over the years, we each thought the other was unthinking and that we had injured each other, by words and/or deeds, assured that we were not continuing to be together anymore, but then we stayed on anyway.

What I find most amazing is the fact that we have ancestors, relatives, brothers and sisters, not of our choosing, nether did they particularly had any interest in us, but yet we are part of this humanity. We are all related by blood and could reach each other, if we so desire, but often don’t, for mutual comfort, to help each other, to dispel our pains, fears, longings etc.