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.
A 1960’s photo of my mother’s family, my mother is center standing back row with her brothers and sister. I must be about ten and is standing first from left of photo with all my cousins.
Thoo Thye: 1930 – 2006
My mother passed away in December, two years ago. She was 80. I am turning 60 next year and I have become an orphan. We shared a house together for most of our lives. Of course during that period of living together we went through all the ups and downs of any typical family. But the mother and son relationship developed.
There had been many times in the last two years that I have felt I needed my mother’s company or just to hear her views on some matters. Even though I have my own family now and a son is fast growing up, I am still not use to being without my mother. In fact, because I have my own family, at times I long for her presence to share our lives.
When she was alife, she often had strong opinions on many things and we often had heated arguments on big and small issues. There were many aspects about my life, my wife’s manners and how we were bring up our son, that displeased my mother. Sometimes the family situations at home were unbearable but at other times, joyful like any other family.
I guess I have to come to terms with missing my mother as time goes by and have to do without her being around when I needed her. I have to get on with my own life and my family without my mother. Even though she is dead and gone but her presence is often felt at odd moments. Especially at the end of the year which is also her birthday period.