Category Archives: Memories Shared

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

Regarding the Extracurricular & the Camps

Getting involved, in non-school related activities here, translated…

My youngest was headed out early in the morn, because the camp from her major was starting, as a freshman, she is very enthusiastic of all the activities hosted by her major.  I remembered, that, we’d, headed out before light for her last thing too, in the nearly zero degree icy cold floor of the CKS Memorial Hall, rolled around on the floorboards, it was her salsa club of her high school, she was responsible for coordinating a “recital of her younger schoolmates.”

My youngest started dancing from her kindergarten years to date, dance had become, her favorite.  It’s just, that her school teachers mentioned how if she’d worked too hard on her “hobby”, it may, cause her grades to slip, but she’d, asked us, not to worry, “the extracurriculars are important rites of passage, just let them give it all they got for this!”  but, I’d, found my daughter, with that lack, of enthusiasm, turned out, she had, dropped her activities, because she’s still, trying to figure out what she’s good at academically, she’d told us, “I’m more than certain about dance, and anything else, is not good enough for me.”  Until her final year in high school, she’d, transferred from the sciences, to the social sciences, and now, she’s, in the major she has great interests in, communications, and, she’d, danced every day, and now, she’d, gone out early in the morn, for her summer camp activities.

查看來源圖片the assortments of activities, not related to the academic…photo from online

My eldest and I, were both into the extracurriculars in our high school years, I’d, gotten involved in two groups, one was for vanity, the band, the other, school paper.  Being in band, I’d, played the trumpet, without much talent, just so I can, put on that marching uniform that made me shine on flag day, and, walking across the podium before the President’s Office.  As for the school paper, it was, where my heart lies, I’d, let my own, writing talents, poured out.  I’d recalled, how hard it’d been that I had, worked, on every topic, how I’d, gone to the shopping marts, to find the old photos, to do the interviews, and published my not-mature-enough writings, wanted to pour all of my doubts of the world, my feeling lost for my future, along with my dissatisfaction toward school, all out in the open.

I can no longer recall how the periodical had, turned out, but, my grades, slipped, and, that became, a F-A-C-T.

I’d found a university that I really don’t hate to study in, but the major I was in, it wasn’t anywhere near my interest profile.  And, by then, editing the periodicals, no longer, satisfied my mind, maybe back then, love was, taken up half of my mind.

And yet, because I’d, lost love, I’d, decided, to go for the president of the club, to let myself, embrace this major I’d, found myself to be in, tired, to learn to be a, leader.  And so, the memories of my college years, were revolved around the freshmen orientations, the camps, the seminars, the book fairs, the competitions.  I recalled all the guest lecturers I’d invited, remembered all the shows we’d put on for the freshmen orientations, recalling that freshman ball we hosted, remembered the singing and skit competition I’d, set up, remembering being in the trainees of the officers of the clubs of the school too, along with how I continued being the team counselor as I went into my senior year.

I’d once not wanted to graduate, because I loved being a student too much.  And, the best memories of being a student, are from, the extracurricular activities, as we’d, entered into the groups on our own, there’s, too many connections there.  Like how I watched my eldest get too excited as she’d, started, editing the footage, like how I imagined my youngest happily, leading the freshmen, because she’s, finally, a sophomore.

查看來源圖片volunteer counts too!  Photo from online

Some had found their significant others in the extracurricular groups, like my eldest brother and sister-in-law.  A lot of people found what they truly loved, like my youngest and I.  Recently, I’d, edited a periodical of a bookstore, and, I’d, found my passions there, and that, was when I’d, recalled, this, was what I loved, doing back then.

And so, these extracurricular activities in college, they’d not, only enriched our schooling careers, but it may also, point us, toward the directions of our, future jobs too, and so, don’t be too worried, when your own young got too involved in their extracurricular activities, besides, the university years aren’t about making the grades, it’s about, discovering, who we are!!!

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Filed under Choices, College Life, Connections, Friendships, Hobbies/Pasttimes, Lessons, Life, Memories Shared, Observations, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Socialization, Story-Telling

Wanting to Grow Old with Children Accompanying

The trials someone faces toward the end of a loved one’s life, translated…

“We’d all wanted to hold our children’s hands, to watch them get older, but unfortunately, fate had other plans………” as Shu-Mei talked, she’d started, sobbing. She’d shared with the patients and the families, her own experiences, “Do we, or don’t we resuscitate?”, that is the final questions, that a lot of the terminally ill patients will face, it’s also, a heart wrenching memory for Shu-Mei, her husband had been gone sixteen years now, and yet, that intense heartache had, stayed.

Her husband was diagnosed with a rare condition when he was forty-six, he’d become bedridden for over a decade, and, couldn’t control anything, he’d already, become so discouraged, to the end, when he was on the respirators, he’d still had difficulties breathing, the doctor said, that only a tracheotomy can save his life, and, her husband wanted to die, and they’d, turned down the doctor’s offers, but, as their daughter came to see him with her five-month-old son, it’d, sparked his will to live again.

The doctor saw how he was hesitant, gave them three weeks to think about it, during which time, Shu-Mei lost a lot of weight, the whole family was living under this, dark cloud. If they’d decided to put him on a respirator, the patient will be living, off of the respirators; if they don’t, then, very shortly thereafter, he would die, he will, NEVER see her husband again. Shu-Mei was confused on what she should do, her husband asked her, “Do you want me to die?” She’d naturally not be willing to let him go, started crying, and became, silent, and respected whatever he’d, decided. It’s just, that during these years counting down toward death, he’d always worn his frowns, and, gotten stuck between life and death, don’t’ know if he’d, regretted it?

“Back then, the medication had yet to pass the coverage of the health insurance plans, it was very expensive, there were the expandable items of phlegm tubes, the diapers, the feeding tubes, the caretaker’s fees………”, Shu-Mei told me, even as her whole family started saving up, it wouldn’t be possible for them, to pay for his care, she’d needed to work days and nights, and his daughter part-time through school, and they’d needed monetary assistance from their families, friends, relatives every now and then too. For the years, the medical bills, she’d, stuffed them all inside a drawer, and after her husband passed, she’d started, sorting through them, and, the amount exceeded five million dollars, she could bought a house with the money saved up. “Although taking him off life support only took a total of fifteen minutes, but there’s, such a high price for it, and, as life continued, and the patient had, suffered, it’d also, put the loved ones under great duress.” Shu-Mei told me, the pain, got in too deep, into her heart, that it’d, slowly, suffocated her.

A woman in the support group, whose husband was ill, started, sobbing after she’d heard, she said that they’re currently, facing this difficult choice, especially that they didn’t have enough money saved up, and she worried that she’s not as strong as Shu-Mei had been. Another woman looked worried, that her husband just had an intubation, at the age of thirty-something, he’d, fallen very ill, her mother-in-law loved this youngest son the most, and couldn’t stand seeing him die, and even if her son can no longer call her mom, even if he’s kept alive by those machines, she was willing, to keep him alive. It’s just, that the wife found, that her husband, when his own mother wasn’t looking, he’d tried, to disconnect himself from life support, seeing how twisted and in pain her husband’s face became, she said, that there isn’t a day she hadn’t cried.

Shu-Mei patted her gently on the shoulders, and cried with her, “We all want to grow old with our children, having each other with, but, fate wouldn’t allow it”. If it’s already set, then, just live with it, everything shall pass eventually. Shu-Mei consoled with the woman in her support group.

This, is a hard issue to deal, to let go, or to keep hanging on, but, when the patient is suffering so much, it’s only the right thing to do, to unplug her/him off life support, but, a part of you just, wasn’t willing, to let someone you love die, and so, you have to, struggle hard over the matter, and, eventually, you will, realize, that letting the person you loved dearly die is the best choice, because, keeping the person alive, means prolonging their sufferings, and, nobody wants to see their loved ones suffer toward the end.

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Filed under Life, Loss, Memories Shared, Moral Responsibilities, Properties of Life, Right to Die, the Finality of Life

Keep the Love Flowing

The cycle of kindness, also rolls down continually, from one person, to the next, we need more stories like these, especially at this day and age! Translated…

The rain came pouring down on my exercise walk, I’d rushed into the breakfast shops to hide out, the shop owner’s mother in her seventies ushered me in, and she’d, taken out a yellow raincoat from the closets, for me to put on, her act of kindness had, warmed up my heart.

As the rain slowly dissipat4ed, as I was, about to, return the raincoat, she’d started telling me the funny things that happened to her while she was on a trip to the eastern side of the island. A couple of years ago, she’d gone to Hualien to travel during the New Year’s holidays with her family, and, the trip was a spur of the moment thing, and, she’d only worn the short sleeves and shorts, and, the cold fronts made everybody shiver, and so, they can only, run back into the cars to hide, they’d not gone anywhere.

And, a woman who was standing at the side of the road saw, she’d immediately gone home, brought a ton of clothes for them to choose from, waited until the seven, eight adults and children had, selected the thick coats and smiled and said their thank yous, they’d wanted to ask her address, so they can send the clothe back, but, the woman turned them down. She’d told them, that her kids are all grown and lived elsewhere, that the clothes were just, taking up space in her home. And, every time after that, as the family saw the clothes, they’d always, smiled on it, and, remembered the kindness from the woman, who’d given them the coats to wear.

In order to keep the love flowing, the breakfast shop also gathered some donated clothes for the comers to borrow, other than keeping the shop connected with the local communities, it’s, a way of repaying the woman for her kindness. As I’d heard, I thought, maybe I can write this tale down, or maybe, by chance, that kindhearted woman that the family met in Hualien will see, that her kindness had become, a cycle already.

And so, this, is how some random act of kindness had touched so many lives, and, by passing the kindness to the strangers that came to the breakfast shop, the owner is keeping the kindness that was shown to her and her family flowing, and we need more stories like this in the world we live in right now!

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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Awareness, Because of Love, Cause & Effect, Connections, Friendships, Inspirational Tales, Interactions Shared with the World, Interpersonal Relations, Kindness Shown, Lending a Helping Hand, Memories Shared, Observations, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Stories of Hope, Story-Telling, Teaching by Example, The Education of Children, Translated Work, Trends

The Very First Dance We Ever Shared

The very first dance we ever shared, believe it or don’t, it was, actually, our very LAST too, because after the song was over, well, we broken up!

The very first dance we ever shared, it was, on a night, when ALL the stars came out, and, we just, danced, held on tight, underneath that light, of our front porch, we’d held on, to one another, a little longer, we were, both unwilling, to let each other go.

The very first dance we ever shared, it’s now, tucked away, inside of my memories, because, we never made it as a couple, you were, someone I thought I could trust my life with, turns out I was dead wrong, because you ended up, breaking my heart.

The very first dance we ever shared, well, that, was that, I’d put it all, behind me now.  The very first dance we ever shared, it’d still surface into my mind from time to time, but, I no longer have those feelings (ewwwwwwwwww, not the “f” word again!), attached to the memory now………

The very first dance we ever shared?  Do you remember?  Do I recall?  It’s been, such a long time since I went to my very first dance with you, and, I just, can’t recall, what song was it that was playing, that made you come over, and what you were wearing, or, what, even I was wearing!!! 

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Filed under Memories Shared, Things Left Behind