In a span of a single month I’ve lost two dears: a friend of my Mom Aunt Wang who’s 87 and grant aunt Lily who’s 3 months shy of 96. Aunt Wang died of 呼吸衰竭 weak respire (?) and GA Lily died of massive strokes. Pix on piwigo
Tuesday morning I looked out to the backyard and was thinking that I should take pictures and send to Frank so he’ll come up with landscaping ideas. Then I thought about his Dad (who lived to 101 years old) .. .. and Grand Aunt Lily who’s my maternal grandfather’s youngest sister, about their longevity and their fierce independence: Frank’s Dad lived in a house (with stairs ..) till the end, and Lily lived by herself in an apartment, to the end.
Few moments later I called my uncle Jiujiu – Mom’s bro in Beijing. I needed few info from him. Upon taking the receiver from his wife, the first thing he asked was
“Did you know about Si Gupo [Lily]?”
I let a split second passed then asked
“She passed away?”
“Yes” Jiujiu replied.
Grand Aunt Lily was beautiful and independent. It reflected in the way she left us: swift and elegantly in style. She felt in her apartment the night before and lay there for the night till the following morning 10am, when her son came to bring her meals. At that time she was still conscious and said to them (son and wife):
“Don’t pick me up yet, give me the medication.”
After she took the drug, she soon passed out.
They took her to the hospital. She never regain conscious and passed away peacefully two days later.
My cousins tried to call me few times (while I was still in Europe) but to no avail and it seemed everyone forgot they could reach me via e-mail. Anyway, the visitation is tonight at 6-8pm and the funeral is set tomorrow at 9:30am. I just got home on Sunday night and now I’m on the Mega bus to DC. I was lucky to catch this bus at Penn Station: it left as soon as I got on.
All her three children are here: daughter came from New Hampshire and the youngest son came from Jakarta/Singapore.
During the phone call in the morning, Jiujiu learned about my planned China trip has been confirmed.
“Ouuuu … you’re coming this far but not visiting us in Beijing?!”
Guilt engulfed me.
I detour BJ was due to other cities that I needed to visit and didn’t want to prolong my trip.
“You really should come, who knows how long before we’ll be gone too ..” Jiujiu was saying and his voice was trailing ..
Dilemmas and decisions ..
The MegaBus ride seems good so far, no traffic. Hopefully I’ll get there on time for tonight’s visit.
I didn’t call GA Lily often enough – I’m more of an email person (of course this isn’t a valid excuse!) than phone person. She wasn’t as chatty as Lucy and often said since she’s left home (Beijing) early on, she didn’t really know anything about our past. Which in turn, thinnered our bond. We are from different era, the central thing bend us together is our family and past. Lucy loved to tell stories and our phone calls were long, counting in hours. It’s not that I don’t love Lily enough. Just we didn’t have that much to talk about.
Did I miss the bus??
Guess I did.
But her distinct accent/voice when she called me Xiao Ning, not quite standard, more sounded like Xiao Ling will always remain with me.
I didn’t make it to the visitation that night. At funeral the following day, Uncle Allan, upon seeing me, scolded me ..
“You should called when she was alive .. ” referring to the fact that I didn’t call often. He, her oldest child later gave a prolong eulogy. GA Lily obtained her BA degree in economics fm Zhong Hua University (by French government out of Boxer indemnity); then became a high school teacher; gotten married in 1938. She was very nourishing, loved to garden. Her major characters were
· Benevolent love
· Kindness n fairness: sensitivity consideration
· Zeal for simple life
· family harmony
· Value system
Dear Gupo, I miss you very much. More pix on FB