My heart is full – filled with gratitude and appreciation for all who have journeyed with us alongside our mother these past 2 years. This period was a difficult time for our family as mom battled multiple cancers. Many of you were with us from start to finish through your prayers and well wishes. You have given us the encouragement and strength we needed. Last Friday (Nov. 23), the Lord called mama home. Again, your presence through social media and visits at mom’s wake and interment, filled us with love, comfort and joy as you condoled with us, in prayers and words of encouragement.
We were overwhelmed as so many friends gave tribute to our mother. To many people, she was Elder, Teacher, Friend, or Colleague. For us, she was simply Mama. Being a traditional Chinese mother, she was quite strict with us when we were growing up. She disciplined us to strive for excellence in all that we do. My mom was a woman of God. She loved the Lord with all her heart and encouraged us to do the same. She is one of the most selfless, generous and thoughtful persons I’ve ever known. She seemed to have the ability to see and sense the needs in others and would go out of her way to help them. She would often help people financially. She even asked our messenger to bring medicine to those who need them. She also had a deep sense of responsibility. Despite not feeling well and even while she was in the hospital, she would often inquire if we had done what she asked us to do for her different ministries.
Even as she graduated from high school in her Chinese studies, my mom only finished Grade 3 in English. Yet her seemingly lack of education was not evident when you would meet and converse with her. She aspired to improve her English proficiency so much so that she was the one doing most of the documentary work in our office. After becoming a senior citizen, she decided to learn computer and became proficient in Chinese word processing. She became the de-facto secretary – taking minutes and disseminating agenda (all typed by her in Chinese) for the Church ministries she was involved in. She would also volunteer to make posters, tarps, flyers and tickets for the different ministries and activities in her church. And I would be “voluntold” to design them for her. She would give me her USB stick with the details in numerous files. Then she would say, “Please design a poster/tarp/flyer/ticket for me. Take your time (but :D) submit it to me this afternoon or a couple of hours later.”
My mom’s battles with Lung and Pancreatic cancer had not been easy. Many tears had been shed and questions asked but at the end of the day, she always turned to the Lord. We thank God that during almost 2 years of her journey, mama was relatively pain-free and healthy. She was even able to continue her daily 1-hour treadmill walk a few days after her chemo sessions. It was only during this November that her health deteriorated rapidly. During her last few days, she slipped into a coma, which was truly God’s grace because it meant she no longer felt any of the discomfort brought about by her condition. The evening before she slipped into comma, she had one last lucid moment and turned to me and my wife and said to both of us “You do not need to fret/worry because I am at peace.” Those were her last conscious words before she went into coma. It was a great source of peace and comfort to me.
As the end drew near, she was surrounded by all of us – her husband and children, as we recited Psalm 23 in Chinese and sang one of her favorite songs, Jesus Loves Me. As we sang “Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes Jesus loves me.” (the chorus) for the 2nd time, in the midst of her comma, she suddenly opened her eyes wide to look at us for the last time. As we were about to end the song, she slowly closed her eyes and went home peacefully to the Lord with my dad holding her hand.
My mom was faithful to the end as the Lord was faithful to her till the end. We couldn’t ask for a better way for my mom to transition to eternal life. In the past 2 years, we often prayed for the Lord’s healing for my mom. The Lord finally answered our prayers. My mom is now cancer-free and will never be sick again as she enjoys the presence of our Lord in her glorified body.
We mourn, yet we rejoice. We weep yet we give thanks. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. In all things, BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD.
One of my mom’s favorite songs during these past 2 years was the Chinese Christian Hymn “一生愛你” (With All My Love). She often sang this song to herself as a reminder and a challenge for her to stay the course. The chorus perfectly describes and summarizes my mom’s life.
All my life, I love You. All my life, I worship You.
All my life, I love You. All my life, I glorify You.
My whole life I offer, no turning back.
All my life, I love you. I will follow You til the end.. *
*My own rough and unskilled translation. I know there is an official translation for this song but I feel like my own poor translation captures a more raw and direct essence of the song.