Category Archives: Family Matters

Seeing You Off

The final passage, remembering the woman whom you’d come to know, as your, mother-in-law, from your father-in-law’s second marriage, translated…

Sitting silent, in the back of the church, on the wooden bench, stared at the white coffin, paved with flowers in the shrine, hearing the pastor slowly, told of your, eighty-two years of colorful life; as the pastor described you as being straightforward, generous, it’d, made me cry, and I’d, lifted up my head and smiled, started recalling the thirteen years of friendships we’d, come to share in life.

It was a snowy day in April in Norway, my husband who’d, planned to be single for the res of his life, drove me in his car, and, came to your door, my father-in-law, and his second wife, you, immediately led us in, and, in a panic, started, preparing the snacks, the coffees to serve to me, an unwelcomed guest.  Back then I wasn’t, fluent in Norwegian, I’d spoken in fluent German with my father-in-law, and, it’d, made you, who lived in the U.S. for over a decade object, that you had difficulties understanding us, and, we’d, realized that we had, excluded you, and immediately, we’d, both started switching to talking in English then.

On Christmas Eve that first year of our marriage, you’d, burst the hopes of your three daughters, sons-in-law, and nine grandchildren’s dreams of family union, you’d come to our home, and, baked for us, the traditional Norwegian pork ribs, meat balls, and sausages, and prepared seven types of pastries.  And, as lucky as I in the first time, I’d, scooped up, the only almond, hidden inside the rice pudding, and received, that special award for piggy almond candy.  Underneath the Christmas tree with the Norwegian flag, were the gifts, stacked up, you, my father-in-law, my husband and I, the four of us, sat around the tree, and started, tearing open the presents, the excitement, the joys, it’d, filled up the house.

The summer that my mother, second aunt, and nephew visited Norway, you’d not just, invited them, you’d also, found your youngest who’s my age, along with your young granddaughter, who’s around the same age as my nephew as company, you’d, set up a wooden board in your yard, with the balloons, and started, shooting the darts.  And even though, it’d rained that day, we’d, still, had a ton of fun; to this very day, my mother still talked of the cherries, the raspberries, and currants you grew in your own yard.

On your seventy-fifth, because your body was, ailing, you’d, delayed your birthday celebration in May, but you’d, not told us flat out, only asked, if we’re available to show up in June.  And, as my husband and I arrived, I’d found, that it was, a family birthday celebration your daughter, son-in-law, and grandson had set up for you; we’d, not brought anything, and we were, embarrassed, but you’d laughed and told, that it was because you didn’t want any presents, that was why, you’d, not told us it was to celebrate your birthday.

illustration from UDN.com圖/錢錢

2017 was, especially cruel to you.  First, your best friend who lived in the U.S. died in the spring at the age of over ninety, several months later, it was, my father-in-law, the second love of your life, passed away, in the autumn.  On the evening my father-in-law passed, you, me, and my husband, the three of us, stayed close by his side, until he’d, swallowed his, last breath.  You’d, dragged your, deteriorated health, your, slow steps home; the following day, we took you to the funeral home, to set up my father-in-law’s final affairs, you’d spoken of how you’d, not slept through the night, that you’d, paced around in the living room; even as your kids and grandkids were there, to accompany you, it still, didn’t, take away from your losing your husband.

Within two years after my father-in-law’s funeral, I sat here, in this, same church, heard the same pastor, hosting your funeral.  This pastor was the one who’d, conducted the wedding ceremony of you and my father-in-law thirty years back, he’d retired since, but, two years ago, he’d, made an exception for my father-in-law, spoken on his funeral, and this time, for you too.  You marrying my father-in-law, had once cast a huge shadow for my husband’s not introducing me to his own mother, but, for the eighteen years, the three of you had, died, and all the displeases of the past are now, gone, with the wind.  I’d heard of the news of your death as I’d returned from Egypt, I’d, come, to see you off, I’m so grateful for your kindness toward me, even more grateful, that you were, a “stand-in mother-in-law” to me, giving my families and I, such, wonderful, memories.

And so, this, is on how strong the connections of strangers who became, families are, and this still just showed, how if you’re kind to your daughters or sons-in-law, they will, reciprocate, and love you like you were, their own, parents too.  This is quite rare, to see a stepmother-in-law and a daughter-in-law get along so very well together.

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Filed under Connections, Expectations, Family Dynamics, Family Matters, Friendships, Lessons, Letting Go, Marriages, Memories Shared, Observations, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Story-Telling, the Finality of Life, Values

Using the Soaps with the Idols to Teach the Children, on Parent-Child Relations

The parents need to think hard, on WHY it is, that the kids wouldn’t DARE tell them something that’s important that’s happened with them, what this mother learned, from the soap operas, translated…

A short while ago, my daughter and I got into a soap with the idols, with a scene where the female main character accidentally lost the bracelet that was given to her by her fiancée’s grandmother, although she’d found one that looked like it online, but it’d cost $200,000. And, she was pressed for the time to get it, and she saw an ad posted by loan sharks, and called in for the amount to buy the bracelet. In order to pay up the debts, she’d started part-timing like crazy after her regular job, and, other than stressing herself out, she’d started playing that game of spies with her families too.

As I’d watched, I’d frowned, asked my daughter, “Do you think she’d handled it well?” “She needed to take responsibilities for her own losing that bracelet!” “Or perhaps, she could go to her families to discuss the matter.” “She’s not a mama’s girl, she’s already working, and, if she’d told her families, her families will probably, grill her for being careless and stupid!” “Family will always be your pillar of support, and even if her family members scolded her, it’s from the perspectives of care and concerns! Being truthful with the family, that, is showing trust to one another, and, after you’d lied once, you’d needed to, make up even more lies to cover them all up, how tiring would that be, can you imagine?”

On that day, I saw a note on the entrance at our house by my daughter, she’d come clean, that she’d lost the cell phone I gave to her two days ago at cram school. She was flustered and scared, and didn’t dare to tell me, but after she’d seen the conversations of the woman in the soap, she’d, decided to, admit to her own mistakes, and reported her cell phone missing to the police already, and stopped the services.

As my daughter came home, and mentioned what happened to me, she’d started crying, and, she must’ve been feeling so bad these past couple of days. I think, perhaps, there’s, that fragile heart that’s, underneath the seemingly tough exteriors, that are, in need of the families’ love and support.

And, from this, it’d, reminded me, that it is truly difficult, balancing between the disciplining and loving our own young. The kind of education I’d received from my own parents are, “the more harshly we’d treated you, it’d showed how much we cared for you”, and, I’d been, quite strict with my children, and, had I know about this as it’d just happened, naturally, I would’ve, blown up, and not only that, I’d, probably, nagged my daughter about it incessantly too, it’s a wonder, that she’d not dared tell me what had happened, right after it’d, happened. Thankfully, my daughter listened to what I’d, told her, and, that soap opera, became, the role model for us both accidentally.

And so, this still showed, how there’s a lesson to learn everywhere, so long as, you’re willing to, keep your minds open, and take the lessons that the world is, teaching to you.

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Filed under Family Dynamics, Family Matters, Lessons, Life, Parent-Child Interactions, Parenting/Parenthood, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life

Getting Out from Postpartum Depression

Translated…

Upon hearing recently, that a woman committed suicide due to postpartum depression, after work, my husband inquired, if I’d felt okay lately?  If something’s up, I needed to let him know.

Compared to three years ago when my firstborn got here, my husband had metamorphosed from that self-centered big boy, into a man who puts his family first.  That year, my first child came, my husband’s “living life his way” made me feel so very helpless and alone, the “active participations” from my in-laws made me feel even MORE pressures; plus the economical burdens, I’d washed my face with my tears every single day.

Even after my month long recuperation is up, the anxieties, the self-mutilations, even the thought of taking my child with me to suicide, still circled around my mind again and again.  I’d told my husband of it, and, he’d blamed me for being too anal.  What’s most impressive was, when I’d told him I’d wanted to get professional medical help, he’d replied, “You should go to Africa instead, fighting to survive there every single day, that’ll keep your mind away from feeling depressed!”

Whether or not it was a joke, I’d still can’t believe, that someone who’d educated as he, a dentist, graduated from a public university, can say something so awful.  And, if my husband, who had medical trainings behaved as such, then, what trials must the other women who are also dealing with postpartum depression be faced with, would they be able to, receive the understandings of their separate families?

Thankfully, I have a supportive group of church friends, they’d helped take care of my child, took me to the free counseling sessions offered by the church; the counselor, after knowing my situation, encouraged me to see a professional.  In the seeing of the psychiatrist, I’d found, that other than the medications, the national health insurances also covered the talk therapy sessions as well.

Through the talking therapy session, I’d slowly felt better, learned to introspect and gotten some techniques to help me get along better with my husband.  From the three to four times fight a day, to one fight every three to four months, and now, we have two babies, and are expecting a third.  My friends joked about how intimate I must be getting with my husband, driving us to have so many children.  Yeah, certainly, compared to the postpartum depression experiences, we are now, interacting, so much better.  Postpartum depression may be a crisis of a marriage, but it can also be a chance, to better your interactions with your partners too.

And so, this woman worked, very hard, to get herself OUT of her own postpartum troubles, and, postpartum depression is still NOT a myth, you LOSERS, it’s real, and so, the next time your separate ladies start showing signs after they gave birth to YOUR young, DO show us some kindness!

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Filed under Awareness, Bad Behaviors, Being Alone, Family Matters, Healing Process, Life, Loneliness/Solitude, Obstacles in a Relationship, Postpartum Depression/Postpartum Psychosis & Other Problems from After Birth, Properties of Life

My Turn to Take Care of You This Time

From the mind of a son, translated…

The year that I’d interned at the emergency room, I’d always feared that my father would become one of the patients, every time I’d heard on the announcement system, that there was an unknown male patient, I’d always gone to check.  My father had been ill a long time, one morning, he had a stroke, was found by a neighbor, to be lying at the park, having a seizure, but after being treated, he’d gotten stabilized, and can now, live on his own.

I can’t believe, that my father who’d always been so strong, how he’d missed the signs of him growing weaker, back then, I’d spent all of my waking hours on my post, learned to ask the patients what was the matter, and how to treat their difficulties, and, in this busyness, I’d gotten a call, as I’d dialed back, it was, a stranger, telling me about my father’s conditions, how ironic!  My heart became twitched and tangled, I’d immediately rushed to the other hospital, saw my father, panting hard, at a corner of the emergency room; what’s worse was, I’d worked through the days and the nights, and neglected to ask him how he was, and was completely clueless about his mental and physical health.

I should’ve known, that my father had concealed his condition from me, because he didn’t want me to worry, I should’ve gotten that something wasn’t right from how fatigued he looked, all those knowledge I’d learned from medical school allowed me to look at every patient’s situations subjectively, but, I couldn’t see clearly what was going on with those I loved………I’d started doubting my love toward my father now, compared to those who’d kept me up all night long, thinking over their conditions, I don’t even know when was the last time my dad went to his doctor’s appointment, must there be a give and take between a greater kind of love and the love you have for those who are close to you?

There was a time, when I’d gotten trapped in the emotions of self-blame, before my father’s bed, I’d looked over his charts hard, trying to find a way, to make this love I have for him complete; but, what surfaced into my mind was not the medical knowledge, but the days my father and I spent together.  The tears of regrets stained my white robe, and, it was, as if my father heard my helpless cries, he’d worked hard, opened up his eyes, and told me, to not worry so much, word by word.

My father couldn’t control his drool, and, it’d slowly overflowed from the corner of his lips, I’d wiped it up lightly, I didn’t want someone else to look after him again, even as my father ushered me to head back to work, I’d still told him no.  This time, I want to, keep watch over my father, as his son.

And this, is how someone had become too focused on his job, that he’d forgotten about how important family is, but gladly, he’d gotten that wake up call just in time.

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Filed under Despair, Family Dynamics, Family Matters, On Death & Dying, Parent-Child Interactions, Professional Opinions, Properties of Life, Socialization

My Father & the Symphony of Life

On death, translated…

A few minutes later, the workers flipped my father’s still limp body to the side, he was like a well-behaved child, asleep, not moving at all.

My father had never allowed anybody to do him like this ever, he’d been a serviceman his whole life, he was the forward when he was younger when he’d played basketball, before he’d retired from the army, he worked as a head of a certain department too, a very respected man by all, I suppose.

After he’d gotten out of the services, he’d started making his own way, volunteered for a Hakka magazine, and, when he was asked along, to perform the traditional Hakka skills, he’d gone, as he pleased, NEVER followed anybody’s requests………

But this time, it was, out of his hands, we saw how our father, whose body was weakened by the cancer cells, got lifted onto a gurney………

Pushed, toward the morgue………

Outside of the ICU, the doctor handed me several forms, said, my father was actually kept alive by the machines, that they’d needed the agreements from the families, in order to pull the plug on him, I, being his eldest son, if I agree, then, I should sign on the forms, later on, the medical staff would unplug him, and, allow his heart to stop on its own.

All of a sudden, I felt this heaviness on the pen that I was holding, it’d become, as heavy as a steel blade………

Like the judges of the ancient times, I’d imagined, that if I’d pushed the pen across the “verdict”, and, immediately, I will hear the sounds of sharpened cries from all around.

Every word I’d spoken to the medical staff was like coughing up blood for me, I’d pleaded to the paramedics: to up the dosage, but don’t do CPR on him, I feared, that his ribs may get broken, and my father who can’t speak anymore would have to weather through even more pains.

That was, passed the autumn season, into the winter of 2013.  The Northern Hemisphere was either covered with yellowed leaves, or covered in the first layers of snow.

On an afternoon in the bottom of November, I’d gotten an emergency call from overseas from my younger sister, said that my father’s heart had stopped in his sleep, and the nurses asked her if she wanted to keep him alive

Considering that she’d wanted me to see my father again, she’d signed the papers to resuscitate, which was very difficult for her to make.

And just like so, my father’s heart resumed beating again……

And, I’d immediately bought a non-transfer flight back to Taipei that very night, with the mindset of how the world is covered with the first layer of snow…

Knowing that that was, the last time I’d touched my father’s body, I’d known, that there was still, an old soul, hanging on, because he’d miss us, and I just wanted to feel the last heat from that soul, to this body, because, the snow had gotten thicker, and heavier!

My father had been troubled by gout for a very long time, from the year before, when he was diagnosed with fourth stage lung cancer, his gout came over, back then, there were stones, growing inside of the joints of both his hands, I’d rushed back to visit with him, other than eating his meals, he’d spent his entire days in bed.

Recalling once, as my father sat up, to change into clean underwear, he couldn’t lift his arms up, so the clothes could fit onto him, he’d sighed, “There’s nothing I can do.”

As I’d helped him, I’d consoled with him, “You’re no longer young anymore, dad!”

Actually, I felt very fake, my father’s getting weakened, was the result of the attacks of his cancer cells and his gout combined!

If taking away the cancer and the gout, my father is pretty healthy, he’s already eighty years old, and was still reporting the news for the Hakka magazines, I saw him several times, with a camera in front of him, with a notebook in hand, riding to the place where he was interviewing someone, looked like he was really enjoying himself, and, his son who works in the reporting industry, I just couldn’t say anything, he’d told me proudly several times, “my reporting abilities don’t pale by comparison to you, younger generations at all.”

I’d smiled and nodded, “You get better with time!”

He’d smiled, and gloated even more, “Must have been all the running on the courts when I was younger!”

At the start of this year, my gout started, the doctor saw how my right elbow swelled up like a volleyball, he’d managed to drain a lot of yellow fluid from my joints, and found that my white blood count was over, worried I might be infected, and didn’t know if I had a bone fracture, so, he’d done a complete CT scan on me.

And, it was, a white elderly person who was in front of me.

Because I only had to get my one arm scanned, it was over very quickly.

As I came out, I saw the white elderly man lying in the bed, waiting for the staff to finish filling out his forms, then push him back to his room.  I’d needed to wait for my results from the CT scan, and so, I sat down next to him, and struck up a conversation with him.

I’d asked him, what he had?

“Cancer of the larynx!”, he’d replied in a light voice

“Oh!”, I’d become stumped, didn’t DARE ask him for the stage.

Then, I’d asked him, “How old are you?”

“Eighty-one.”

“Are you scared?”, I thought, at his age, he’s probably not afraid of dying.

“Yes!”, his voice was shaking, which shocked me, “I love life very much, I fear leaving those I love behind.  If cancer is only painful to me, and I won’t die from it, then, I’m more than willing to put up with it, because, I love this world way too much, I can’t let go of my loved ones, those whom I love and love me.”

A very good friend of mine, fell ill, and started going in and out of the hospitals a lot.

The very first night he was admitted, his heartrate and pulse had stopped, for over twenty minutes, and was found by the orderly who was checking the rooms, they’d performed emergency resuscitation on him, and he didn’t die.

That day, I’d gone to the hospital to visit with him, and we’d held a very lighthearted conversation.

I was very curious of the time his heart had stopped for around half an hour, I’d asked him, if he’d had the near-death experiences like in the movies, seeing how his life flashed before his eyes, how his deceased loved ones smiled at him, and a lighted path………

He shook his head, smiled and told me, “It was like I was in a deep sleep, no feelings at all.  When I woke up, I saw the doctors and my wife by my side.”

“So, that was, a sort of an outer body experience?”

He’d nodded:

I know, that if I’d died, I will bring so much pains to my loved ones.  But, in that condition, it’s just, no joy, no sorrow, no ecstasies, no worries……then………life, had finished, one more cycle.

My father’s body and his coffin were, pushed in, and we stood outside the walls, hearing the fires roar, like hearing the fourth movement of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, silently, stared at the black smoke outside the chimney, coming out, rushing, toward the skies.

I saw, my father, smiling at us, through the rising of the smokes, it though……

And, it was like, I didn’t, see anything, at all!

And so, this, is someone’s final passage of life, to the moment that he’d died, and, the families are still the ones, left with the pieces to pick up.

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Filed under Awareness, Family Matters, Life, Loss, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Properties of Life

The Dry-Erase Board Used for Reminders, on How We Interact with One Another

Translated…

A very long time ago, my friend dropped a white board off at my place, I’d hung it on the walls of my living room, can’t think of a use for it right away though.

Back then, my five-year-old son was very intrigued with the cartoon, “The Sea Thief King”, and, I’d often busied myself about the house that I’d forget to remind him to watch it.  Later on, I’d drawn a picture of a clock on the dry-erase board, with the minute-hand on the time when the cartoon starts, told my son, whenever he sees the time on the dry-erase board corresponds with the time on the clock on the wall, then, it’s time for his cartoon.  With the reminder of the white board, he’d never missed an episode again.

Back then, I’d thumbed across an issue that the whole family shouldn’t miss, but, there was no way to get everybody here at the same time to tell my family members, and fearing that I may have missed someone, I’d taped the newspaper to the dry-erase board, and wrote the words of warnings.  For instance, a while ago, the drinks were placed in bad plastic cups, I’d put down, “For the sakes of your own health, don’t drink the drinks anymore.”, with the newspaper clipping as the evidence, it’d become more persuasive, my children and my husband rarely buys those drinks now.

A while ago, my son was prepping for his examinations, I didn’t want to nag him to spend less time on Facebook, I’d written down on the dry-erase board, “My dear son, you must put everything into your examinations, and just focus, I hope you will perform well on it!”, not long thereafter, he saw the words on the board, he’d erased it, and I knew, that he’d received my care and concerns.

One evening, my husband placed a paper box in the kitchen, told me, “this box is for you to place the items that don’t need to be refrigerated and the larger fruits.” I told him, “I don’t want too much clutter on the floors, it’s hard, to wipe the floors clean.”  After he’d heard, he’d told me angrily, “I can’t do anything that fits you, can I?” I was stunned, quickly ran to the front of the white board, wrote the words, “the smaller matters the wife decide, the bigger issues, the husband’s calls”.  A little while later, my husband passed by the dry-erase board, I’d called out to him, “Honey, did you see what I wrote?”, he’d started laughing, “Yes, my beauty, I saw it!”

Thanks for the PR dry-erase board at my house, helping us all with communications, without the fuses, adding more fun!

And so, this, would be a great way to interact with your families, after all, you all don’t share the exact same schedules, and, writing it on a board once, beats having to repeat to your families over, over, over, AND over again, plus, NO one likes a N-A-G!

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Filed under Communications, Expectations, Family Matters, Parent-Child Interactions

The Parents Took Care of Earning the Incomes During the Summers, Leaving the Kids Without Smiles During Their Summer Vacations

Summers are hitting the children, especially hard here!!!  From the Front Page Sections, translated…

The Child Welfare League conducted a research on the cases that social workers followed up on since last December from January 6 to February 27, toward the families whom the social workers had followed for three months.  The findings showed, that as the summer vacation started, without the nutritious meals provided by the schools, nearly forty-percent of school age kids didn’t get their lunches every day, and, even if they had lunches daily, thirty-seven percent of the kids didn’t have enough nutrition, twelve percent of the children are eating leftovers every single day.

On top of that, nearly sixty percent of the children needed to help out around the house, thirty-one percent had to work as nannies, to help babysit the younger siblings, twenty-two percent needed to work outside the home, to help make money for the household, to to get one’s own tuition for next semester.  Fifty-seven percent of the children don’t have adult supervision at home this summer, twelve percent of the kids didn’t see their parents as they headed off to bed, nearly thirty percent of these children only saw their parents once per week.

“Happy” who is in the fourth grade lost his mother when he was real young, his father was diagnosed with stomach cancer six years ago, the family economics are hounding down on him, every single summer, he’d gone to the fields to work in the scorching sun, and, his tiny arms are filled with wounds from the cuts from the grass, but, to help lessen the load on his cancer-prone father, he’d never made a single complaint; recently, his grandmother had a stroke, toward the summer that’s coming, Happy told, that he just wanted to work harder in the fields, so he could help make more money for his family.

“Sunny”, who’s also in the fourth grade, lived in the distant regions, there are four members of his family, and because there were no pipes in his house, he and his family had to use the underground water for cleaning and drinking, and, if the weather got cold, the family would burn wood, to heat up the water for use.  Sunny’s father is ill, the family lived off of the migrated mother’s less than $20,000N.T. pay from the factory, in order to take care of his mildly retarded younger brother, he’d bathed him, fed him, took care of his own younger brother’s daily living, without a word of complaint.  When the reporters asked him about his wish for the summer, Sunny said, “It would be wonderful, if my family and I can travel some place for a day!”

These wishes, seemed so simple to us all, but, they are all, distant and hard-to-reach dreams for these kids, because they were born, into difficult situations, and yet, they still all faced the challenges in their separate lives, with a positive attitude, and that, is something we can all take from.

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Filed under Awareness, Childhood, Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Family Matters, Growing Up Too Fast, Life, Maturation, Observations, Properties of Life, Social Issues, Values, White Picket Fence