Dear Aaron & Anakin: Mommy's story with your great-aunt
Dear Aaron & Anakin,
Your great aunt passed away suddenly last week. I want to write this down so you may know my history, understand why is great aunt and her family so important and close to me, and learn from my example to always be just a phone call away from your family.
My father (i.e., your grandpa) was just starting his business when I was born. My mother (i.e., your grandma) was also teaching at a vocational school at a time. They sent me to stay with my grandma (i.e., your great grandma, who you unfortunately have never met) and grandpa (i.e., your great grandpa, who Aaron had met and past away when Aaron was 3) when I was a month old, in a town about 40 minutes drive from my parents. My eldest aunty (i.e., your great aunt who recently passed away, and whom this story is written in honor of) and her family lived across the street from grandparents’. Before I returned home at the age of 3, grandparents’ and auntie’s home was my home. Even after I moved back home, their home continued to be my sanctuary every summer and winter break.
Aunty and Uncle had a happy marriage relationship; they were respectful of each other, and never argued or raised their voice. I am sure they had their disagreements and their hardships like every marriage, but I’ve never witnessed any harsh words spoken between them. Unlike my parents (i.e., your grandparents) who are always accusing and blaming each other, always raising their voices and yelling at each other, and never seem to agree on anything…which I am sure you are aware of since you two have spent much time with them. I think it is the reason that despite of being raised in an argumentative household, I end up being able to maintain a relatively peaceful and respectful relationship with your babi. Their marriage influenced me more than that of my own parents.
Every school holiday I stayed at their house. They have three girls and took me in as one of their own. My three cousins are my sisters who I played with, confined in, and trusted in all my girly thoughts and secrets. Even though I moved to the States later on, even though they
had lived in Japan, London, other parts of the States over the years, we were never strangers.
The night aunty passed away, 2nd sister immediately thought of me. Aunty was pronounced dead at 10:38pm, and she called me at 10:42pm. Eldest sister is in London, and 3rd sister is in Washington. I am the only one in Taiwan with 2nd sister. As soon as your dad is home, I drove an hour to be with her, even though it was already past mid-night. I stayed her in the hospital, to the funeral home, and throughout the first 8 hours that we were supposed to accompany the deceased until the spirit is supposedly ready to leave the body (according to Buddhism, which 2nd sister believed in).
My babies, I hope you will be like me in treating your uncles (i.e., my brothers and your Babi’s brother) as if they are your parents. I hope you will be supportive of Ethan and Kai-Kai and the children of Uncle Jack and Uncle Zhi-Hao, if they had them, as you support each other. I hope you will be like me in always finding the time to spend with your loved ones, especially our generation when you are fully grown and us old. I am sad that aunty has left us, but I know she left knowing that I love her. Below were my first words to her after the news sunk in. With the departed, we will always wish that we could have more time. But as long as we have been taking the time and opportunity to show them our love, this wish for more time will not become a regret. And, while the sadness will be there, your heart will not be empty.
So dearest, when you leave my side to persuade your life, make sure you call on me, check on me, and make the effort to spend time with me. And never forget to show your love for me~
Taken in May 2009, during her birthday, a few months before the stroke that left her half paralyzed, and whipped the smile off her face forever.
Three sisters were not present. Eldest sister already in London, 3rd sister in Washington DC, and 2nd sister was still at work.