Posts tagged with "death"

August ending

August passed me by.

My Tai Chi stu­dio closed at the begin­ning of the month due to the new provin­cial tax pol­i­cy. I was going to look for anoth­er stu­dio, but I haven’t had a chance. Instead, I took up singing lessons. It did­n’t help that Starcraft 2 came out, and the fact that most of my friends pur­chased it too so there’s always at least one per­son online and ready to play with me.

greeting Audra

 

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Grandma died

The details are scant, as I only found out sec­ond-hand through Darren. They say she was on painkillers and went peace­ful­ly in the hos­pi­tal. It was her pain that scared me most; bet­ter to pass on than live with suf­fer­ing through can­cer and chemother­a­py at her age, I always thought.

It brings me com­fort to know that Mina, her trusty and loy­al maid, was there with her when she died. Also, to know my aunt will be able to go back home to a nor­mal life, instead of dot­ing on my grand­moth­er indef­i­nite­ly after giv­ing up her law prac­tice and leav­ing her hus­band and daugh­ter in Canada.

I called my dad, and he seems to be tak­ing it as well as I am. I learned all my Chinese idioms for death by lis­ten­ing to what he’d say in these sit­u­a­tions. One is some­thing like, “She’s passed her body”, which always sound­ed very spir­i­tu­al to me and plays on the Chinese belief that our spir­its pass from this world into an ances­tral realm. Another has some­thing to do with becom­ing “fra­grant” or the smell of incense. But when he asked if I knew, he said, “Did you hear that grand­ma went?”

I just hope my cousin Priscilla is alright. She’s a pint-sized woman (even by Asian stan­dards) who more than makes up for her small stature with a razor sharp tongue and wit, but she was the most ador­ing grand­child I’d ever met when it came to our ma ma.

All of grand­ma’s kids were already in Hong Kong to be with her1 — many of them fly­ing in from dif­fer­ent parts of Canada — which is a tes­ta­ment to how impor­tant she was. She was the uni­fy­ing force who tied the fam­i­ly togeth­er. Siblings would make peace with each oth­er out of respect for her, and the peace has last­ed.

I’m not sad. I was already sad when I was in Hong Kong last year, on the day I left her. Back then, I made my peace, nev­er expect­ing to have the chance to see her again. Instead, I’m glad to have been able to let her know how much she meant to me (even though I was­n’t sure if she remem­bered, with the sever­i­ty of her Alzheimer’s), to hear her tell her sto­ry in her own words, and to cap­ture her voice and char­ac­ter on video.

When I see her smil­ing and hear her voice, I see an inno­cence about her I was­n’t used to see­ing. She was always a strong, classy lady.

  1. The excep­tions being my dad and Darren’s dad, who were fly­ing out yes­ter­day and next week respec­tive­ly, until they heard the news. They’re chang­ing flight plans for the funer­al. []

Graveyard of Aphids

Thumbnail: Flowering cabbage

At some point, the flow­er­ing cab­bage plant Heather G gave me start­ed to shed. The top leaves remained sup­ple and fresh, while the bot­tom leaves would dry up and fall off. I could­n’t fig­ure out why. I liked the look any­way, to see this plant grow­ing out of the decay it cast around itself, so I did­n’t wor­ry too much.

I was­n’t used to hav­ing a plant that was so alive. It had a pun­gent smell, and I noticed a few insects on it here and there. I thought the insects were a good thing, cause that meant the plant was healthy enough to sup­port oth­er life.

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