Posts tagged loss
If you would like to have background music while you are reading, please click on the arrow below.
I got the call this morning at 8:00 am, (1/31/15)
And Jershi told me you passed away.
You waited for Jershi to wake up before your departure.
There was such love and a special bond between you two,
I couldn’t help crying out loud.
It was expected, but it was hard to handle,
I just wanted to weep, and needed to let it out.
We went to see you last night,
The doctor had suggested that your cancer had taken its toll.
It became too much for you,
It was time to let you go.
No matter how hard it was,
Jershi decided to keep you one more day,
So we could go say good-bye to you.
And today he arranged for the specialist to give you an injection,
To stop your pain,
To let you rest in peace.
But you left naturally,
For you knew that none of us would be able to see the needle go into you,
And then watch you stop breathing,
Oh, God what a loving and thoughtful dog you were.
I still remember the day you came,
You were four months old…
You had to travel by plane from your hometown to the strange city of LA.
You took it well,
You adjusted quickly,
For you there was no past, only the present.
You moved forward with trust in Jershi.
Throughout the last ten years,
You gave us not only Love,
Your unconditional love,
You gave us your all,
You were always loyal,
You were always joyous, uplifting
There wasn’t any dull moment around you.
We gradually found something different in you:
You were obedient,
You were always calm,
You seemed to know when we were in need of comfort,
You would always stay close to us.
It reminded us that you comforted your old neighbor who had cancer before you came to us,
And you were so young, only a couple of month old.
When Jershi found out you had cancer,
He tried all means to save you,
For you were so dear to him,
He could not let you go.
Months after months…
You never moaned and complained.
I took you to have chemotherapy one time,
You were still joyous,
You weren’t bothered by the painful treatment…
You knew how much Jerrshi wanted to keep you with him,
You just took it in.
It was heartbreaking to feel how fragile you became,
I could only hold you tightly and cry my heart out.
At that moment, I could feel the warmth that you transmitted to me,
It seemed that we were no longer two different species.
The flowing of love was all there was.
It was such a warm and beautiful feeling.
I could not help holding you tighter, close to my heart,
I could not help murmuring in your ear,
“Buster, I love you.”
At that moment, I realized that you showed me,
Love is not just restricted to among human beings only,
It applies to all beings.
No matter what we are – animals or human beings,
We can all love each other.
Love is above all else in the world,
Love has no boundaries.
We could see the old soul in you,
You came into our lives for a purpose,
You gave Jershi unconditional love,
Not only did you broaden his mind,
But also you helped him grow…
My appreciation for your help to my son Jershi indescribable,
Moreover, you did the same for us…
Oh, you don’t know how much we miss you…
Because you were not an ordinary dog,
You were our teacher.
You were our friend,
You were our family member,
And you continue to be all of these things for us.
We love you no matter where you are…
Thank you, and thank you…
For your presence in our lives over the last ten years.
If you would like to have background music while you are reading, please click on the arrow below.
Years ago, I encountered one of the most difficult and devastating times in my life. I lost my father and my husband within one month of each other. At the time of my father’s passing in Taiwan, I was pregnant with my son in the United States. Because of my delicate condition and the fact that I already had to come to terms of the reality of my husband’s worsening condition, my friends here and family in Taiwan decided not to share the news of my father’s passing until after my son was born. In the meantime, I was forced to try to survive in a new country, the United States, where I was used to being taken care of by my husband.
As his condition worsened, I battled my own fears and anxieties of learning to do things on my own in a foreign country. Then, a ray of hope entered our lives on the day that my son was born. The light only lasted twelve days before my husband passed away, and I entered into a period of unimaginable darkness. Things only grew worse by the news of my father’s passing. I felt like I was living in the dark, cold, underground subway station, completely deprived of light. As I tried to navigate my way through this all-consuming darkness of loss on my own, my professor and colleagues advised me to see a psychiatrist to help me confront my fears, stress and emotions revolving around this loss, so I did.
I started to see a professional psychiatrist. I visited him in his office a few times, and before I knew it, he had changed the location of our meetings to a restaurant. I began to feel that his feelings were impure. It was as if he was transforming our meetings, meant to help provide support as I grieved substantial loss, into dates. He acted jealous if I told him of any other men in my life, immediately telling me that they were bad news. Although he never tried to turn our relationship into anything physical, he started to treat me like a girlfriend seeming to forget that I was instead his patient, there to seek his help, not his courtship. He became obsessed, bringing his wife to the flea market where I sold Chinese food so he could secretly watch me from afar. Had his wife known of his deceitful agenda, it would have caused her pain and potentially harmed their children as well.
Although he had many professional psychiatric certifications hanging on his office walls, his motivations for seeing me as a patient were impure and completely unprofessional. He was supposed to show care for me as his patient, but could not provide me with this service to which I was entitled. Instead, his selfishness came out and turned him into a predator. Any love that may have been there within his true self had been suffocated by his desire for me, causing me to lose trust in him. I stopped seeing him as a result of this misguided trust.
It was regretful that his impure motivations, conjured up by his ego, caused him to fail in carrying out his mission as a psychiatrist. In his case, true love lost in a battle against the ego, therefore preventing me from ever getting to see or know his true self. Had his intentions been pure, guided only by true love, he would have been able to fulfill his duty to me, his patient. Instead, he was blinded by lust and possession and guided by his false self, his ego.
As we can tell by the movement of a watch whether or not it is real or fake, we too can tell by the movement of people as to whether or not their love is pure. In order to do this, we simply look to see if they’re acting in the best interest of those they come in contact with, or if they are instead acting from a place directed by personal wants and desires. Knowing that this psychiatrist was being guided by lust and not true love, I knew it was time for me to move on.
I wouldn’t allow this negative experience to bring an end to my quest for help, so I decided to seek the advice and assistance of a social worker. This social worker was a 34-year-old woman. After entering her office, she invited me to explain all that had transpired in my life. There was honesty in her voice that triggered emotion in me that was completely freeing. I began to weep uncontrollably as I described to her the loss of my two loved ones. As I wiped away my tears, I thought she was going to give me words of consultation. Strangely, I did not hear any sound. When I looked up, I saw that she was silently sobbing, with a river of tears streaming down her cheeks. I couldn’t believe it – she was crying with me.
At that moment, I recognized that this woman was showing me her true self. I felt nothing but love coming from her. This love touched me and warmed me and seamlessly melted away my sorrows. She filled me with the healing energy of love. As I left her office that day, I felt lightness conquer the dark shadows that had been cast upon me ever since I found out my husband was sick. For the first time in a long time, I finally felt that the warmth of the sunshine. I felt loved, and I was comforted. What a wonderful feeling of being loved again. The love she gave to me that the day is with me still as true love is never-ending.
As I decipher between the real and the fake selves that I have encountered in recent years and in recalling the periods of darkness and light in my own life, I now know that our genuine selves are always there – they just get silenced by selfishness or other ego-driven ills at times. Having been a beneficiary of true love, given selflessly to me by this social worker, I am now aware of this power and potential each of us have within. This love, in its purest form, has provided me with immense healing in my own life and I am forever grateful to the woman who gave this gift to me. Her love bathed me in light during one of the darkest periods of my life. In turn, I have gained intimate knowledge of the greatness we can contribute to the world when we share the true love that’s in our hearts.
If you would like to have background music while you are reading, please click on the arrow below.
The world is constantly changing, life is unpredictable and science does not provide all the answers. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is lit round the clock; researchers do experiments in their laboratories day and night. They gather and analyze data, then give us scientific theories. But science cannot give us answers to questions like these: Who are you? What do you want? How are you feeling? What is the purpose of life?
When I suddenly lost both my father and my husband, I struggled to survive these enormous blows. At the same time, the impermanence of life affected friends who either already had their Ph.D. degrees or were still working to get them. They began to think about the value of life, and some of them started thinking outside the box.
Here’s an example. Other two families and I decided to set up a stall at a flea market. Because most customers were not Asians, we sold their favorites: fried noodles and spring rolls. We shared responsibilities. I was in charge of vegetables, including bean sprouts. Thanks to our success in selling thousands of spring rolls, we needed lots of bean sprouts. My kitchen was not big enough, so I used a big laboratory autoclave, which could cook a lot of bean sprouts in just a few minutes.
You would probably be surprised to have seen us there in the flea market. We’d remove our lab coats, roll up our sleeves and begin yelling and shouting to bring in customers. Don’t belittle us; we did a tremendous business because people loved our food. It was a pity that we could not continue because we had to go back to the lab to continue our research. It was a memorable moment in our life’s journey though. That was the first time we got out of habitual thought and did something different.
When my husband passed away, I thought my life would become simpler. I imagined I could focus on raising my children and earn a living to support them. I never imagined there would be problems in being a single mother.
A colleague suggested that I see a psychiatrist to help me cope with my loss. So I went to see one of the psychiatrists at MIT. He was friendly and appeared to be a gentleman. After the first couple of meetings, he suggested that we meet at a restaurant. After a few times, I grew uneasy having appointments outside his office. I also gradually realized that he had very strong opinions about the men I knew. He put down every single one of them, saying either that they were not good enough, or that they did not publish papers in first-rank scientific journals. I felt that he had an impure motive, forgetting that as a psychiatrist he was supposed to be helping me. It was a shame he was blinded by his own desires and forsook his professional responsibilities. So I stopped seeing him.
I found it quite challenging being a single woman. I remember how an MIT researcher once invited me to dinner. Afterward, when he dropped me off at home, he asked for a cup of coffee. It seemed innocent, so I let him come in. But before I could prepare the coffee, I needed to get my daughter to bed so she could get up in time for school the next day. When I came out of her room, he came close to me. I was shocked and stopped him. He didn’t like my reaction and told me that I’d given him a hint that I’d be receptive because I’d put my daughter to bed, which left us alone together. What kind logic is that? I not only shooed him out, but told him that I would not see him anymore. I believe that relationships need to be based on a certain degree of mutual respect.
One incident in particular hurt me a great deal. It gave me a glimpse of the ugly side of human nature. How I wish it had never taken place. It made me lose trust in someone I had previously respected – the husband of a distant relative who had come to Boston for a meeting. After we returned from dinner, he tried to kiss me as we chatted in my living room. Shocked and terrified, I rushed to my room and locked the door. In the grip of fear and distrust, I frantically took all the boxes I could find and stacked them against the door to keep him from coming in. I had thought of him as a nice person, a friend without ulterior motive. In fact, he had helped arrange my husband’s funeral and had delivered a eulogy, which had given me a great deal of respect and appreciation for him. Now, he had shattered his perfect image right before my eyes. It made me sad. I knew he was ashamed, and he left right away. I never told his wife about the incident, hoping he would be loyal and faithful to her for the rest of his life and that he would keep his family intact.
People don’t come into our life by chance, even ones like these who appeared like dragonflies, just touching the water, then flying away without leaving a trace. Still, these incidents gave me a lesson in life. How we hope there are always perfect endings as we go through life’s journey. But now, I’ve learned that life takes unexpected turns, and is constantly changing. We need to accept things as they happen and make the best of every situation. We cannot change others, so we must change ourselves to live a life that we can be proud of and that makes us happy.
The image was taken from one of LA art exhibition and the author is unknown.
I was born in a small town in Taiwan. My father worked for the First Bank of Taiwan, and as he would often be assigned to a new location, we were always moving. We went from city to city throughout my childhood, which made me insecure. After entering high school and staying there for six years, my feeling of being unsettled gradually subsided.
I completed junior and senior high school in a girl’s school. Since our social circle was limited to females, we found ourselves closed off in a conservative atmosphere. On top of that, I had to spend a couple of hours traveling back and forth between the small town we lived in to the city where my school was located. In the time remaining to me after school and commuting, I studied hard so my life was fairly simple. There was very little social life, and my friends and I were quite naive and unsophisticated. We were as pure as a sheet of white paper.
I did my undergraduate studies at National Taiwan University in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. It is a bustling city with lots of things to see and do. This did not change me much, however. Other than sleep, I spent most of my time studying in the library. Being a horticulture major, I led a less colorful life than the students who were majoring in business or literature.
After graduating, I followed a path taken by many others and came to the United States for graduate school. I got married and earned my master’s degree at the University of Illinois. After my husband had got his doctorate, we went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he did his postdoctoral fellowship and I did DNA research.
Our life was rather calm and pleasant for the first year in Boston, and then we discovered my husband had liver cancer. Suddenly, my life was turned upside down, and I felt I’d been thrown out of heaven and plunged into hell. When we were moving from the city to city during my childhood, I had only felt insecure. But now my days were filled with fear, distress and anxiety. The time of happiness and peace was gone.
I remember a day that began as a normal Thursday. I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to take the written test for a driver’s license. I was learning to drive so I could be more independent. It was a long way to the DMV, and I walked. This triggered the delivery of my second baby sooner than I expected. And it opened the curtain on the most challenging chapter in my life’s journey … as you can see from the poem below, which I wrote previously.
All this happened a long time ago.
Yet it seems as though it just took place.
It was early on a Friday morning at the beginning of autumn.
The pain was so fierce and unbearable.
I kept telling myself, “This can’t happen now.
Endure. Hang on … You must! Because Bob and Elaine are going away for the weekend.”
I could not spoil their vacation … but I needed them to get me to the hospital.
Oh, no! It was time and the baby was coming.
Three hours later in a hospital room in Boston,
The high-pitched cry of a newborn boy seemed to rip through the thin air of the sky.
It scared the birds, who sprang into flight, shaking leaves to the ground.
Outside the room, Elaine and Bob tried to comfort my little four-year-old girl and prepare her for the arrival of her brother.
Inside, after giving birth, I stared at the window. Exhausted. Tears filling my eyes.
I did not have any feeling. All I had was emptiness, loneliness and hopelessness.
I felt as though I were falling to the bottom of a pit.
I felt I was at the very bottom of the earth.
How I wished this was a dream. I wanted so badly to wake up
And find out that the baby’s father had been discharged from the hospital with a clean bill of health.
God seemed to be playing a joke on me.
Twelve days after the birth of my baby, without ever seeing his son,
The father rushed to the finish of his life’s journey, shorter than 30 years.
It seemed God still wasn’t finished playing jokes on me.
What lay ahead was totally beyond what I could have imagined.
In Asia, women who have just given birth
Have a month-long “confinement” period to recover.
As for me … Perhaps I am special?
Oh, no! I did not want to be so special.
I used to be carefree, everything was handed to me.
I did not know how to do anything.
Because my husband took care of everything for me.
Now, after his passing,
I had to come out of my shell – to learn fast and deal with everything.
Beginning with arranging his funeral service.
And learning to drive a stick-shift car.
Elaine was from England. She taught me not only with patience and love, but also strictly and with principle.
By the time my confinement ended, I had my driver’s license.
The next thing was to fight with a well-known life insurance company.
Due to the ignorance of the agent, I had run into problems collecting the insurance payment.
The company hired a Cantonese-speaking man to come to my house.
His job was to persuade me to accept a smaller amount.
He tried his best, alternating between a sympathetic and a hard-line approach
Spending the whole day trying to get the result his company was hoping for.
In the end he could only tell me that he had never encountered anyone in my situation,
Having just lost a husband, with a tiny infant and still in confinement,
Who could still fight with him and not budge an inch.
His words rang in my ear, making me realize I had grown up.
I could shake off the thought of suicide.
Thank God … Thank Him that I could finally stand on my own two feet.
I then hired an attorney to deal with the insurance company,
Which finally gave in, and I received what was owed to me and my children.
Strangely, the same thing happened with MIT, where both my husband and I had been working.
An employee had made a mistake, so again we were not going to receive anything.
My husband’s professor tried and tried to get it resolved but to no avail.
Finally, an MIT vice president came to talk to me,
Hoping that I would admit it was my husband’s error rather than the employee’s.
I do not know where I gained the strength and the wisdom.
But after a heated argument, he fled.
Once again, I’d done it and won.
Slowly I understood.
God was not joking with me.
Because I had to fight for these things,
He led me step by step out from under the shadow of grief over the death of both my husband and my father (who died just a month before my husband).
In this most dreadful and heartbroken period of my life,I survived.
I would never have imagined when I came here from Taiwan that I would be struggling to survive. I came here to realize my dream, my hopes. And yet all of these were shattered. Now all I hoped for was to stay alive. I was gratified that there were angels surrounding me during this terrible time. I can’t help but name some of the people who helped me most in time of need.
My professor, Dr. Huberman, for whom I did DNA chromosome research for five years, treated me like a sister. When I lost my husband, I had to take care of a baby and a five-year-old daughter. He never put pressure on me; I could set my own work schedule. He was always there to support me. What he gave me was pure love.
Robert and Elaine were a couple I will never in my life forget. The help I received from them was immeasurable. Elaine, who came from England,taught me to drive in strict British style. That I am now a skillful driver can be attributed to her coaching. Robert was a typical American gentleman – kind, patient and considerate. I remember one night when I couldn’t go to sleep. They came to my house and watched me and made sure I fell asleep, then stayed the whole night. I can never repay them for all they did for me. I am forever grateful for their kindness.
Dr. Green, my husband’s professor, helped me unravel a badly tangled life insurance problem. Initially, it appeared I wouldn’t be receiving payment from MIT’s life insurance. The reason was that the employee in charge of the insurance application had erroneously told my husband he would need a physical examination, so my husband did not apply because he knew he would not pass the test. But in fact no physical examination was necessary for this group insurance policy. Dr. Green tried everything possible and met with the employees involved to provide life insurance coverage for me. He even rallied some professors to help to resolve the problem. In the end, thanks to all his efforts, he forced an MIT vice president to visit me, and the Institute finally gave in and paid us what we deserved. Dr. Green showed me how to fight an uphill battle and win.
One more person I want to mention was my life insurance agent. Initially, the company informed me I could only get installment payments rather than a lump sum. This was because my husband did not sign a paper needed for the lump sum option. After his passing, this agent went directly to the insurance company and admitted that he had never disclosed the need for this signature. I’m very grateful for what did for me and my family because the lump sum made a tremendous difference. It was not easy for him to admit his mistake, as he risked being penalized by his company.
I am filled with tears when I recall all the trials of those days. They are tears of joy because I can finally let go of the past. Those are also tears of gratitude for the love I received from the people around me at that time. As I went through the challenges and changes in my life, I began to realize whatever happened had a purpose. Through all this, I started to grow. I was no longer the innocent, carefree girl of before. I felt like a rose, which could neither be pressed nor crushed, but had survived and bloomed through these hardships. The stem of this rose may look bent and imperfect, but it still bears a beautiful, fragrant flower. It is the beauty and the fragrance of life. It is a sign of my growth. And I believe it will also help people to grow alongside me.
Note: The poem is a modification of my article- I Have Survived http://loveneverending.com/?p=645 which I posted earlier in this blog and will include in my book.