It's (almost) Winter Break! More time to update till school starts again in Mid Jan 2011! - 12.3.2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Old Lady Hui's Perfect Corpse and my Perfect Hawaii Vacation

"It takes a whole life time to complete a perfect corpse."

I attended a perfect funeral.

There would have been no any other more perfect way for me to experience such unique occasion.

For one, I have never met the passed away lady while she was living. So, the sadness and grief that I was dealing with was minimum. And, I was very honored to be included in this funeral as a "close family friend". Even though I have never met the gracious passed away Old Lady Hui while she was living, I was invited to all intimate family gathering and funeral planning/preparation events. My tie with Old Lady Hui was established because my boyfriend's mother's was her god daughter. I became very curious of the passed away lady's life story as I can tell she was very well loved by if not thousands but hundreds of close friends, relatives, employers, employees, business partners, refugees, and even local politicians.

I did not sense "guilt" from her closes family and friends - an emotion that was very common in a grieving family. There were no denial of her death. There were no anger. I can sense some depressive feelings from her old husband who now has begun his journey of living as a single man again, without his best companion for many many decades...

The emotion of this family express great acceptance to their well loved mother/grand mother's death. If you were there, you would be able to sense this power peace within everyone's heart... It was very amazing... and words really fail me here. It was something you could only experience... for me to explain what was really going on would be like me trying to describe you the taste of an unfamiliar fruit.

The family was not wealthy in material gains but was very well spiritually grounded. Despite of this difficult time, they remained friendly and warm during my stay with them. This family is definitely a powerful one. But, not the kind of "power" that you fear... like the kind you would be happy if their power over you is gone.

This family has great power to influence and inspire. They have benefited the state of Hawaii and her Asian American community with their contribution to the local agriculture technology and trading, as well as, their hospitality to many many many immigrate families. What is amazing, is that everyone at the funeral had expressed feeling very honored and thankful for their PERSONAL relationship with Old Lady Hui... so it's not so much of a power relationship we are dealing with here.

As if, everyone's soul was reached by her and her family...

Her "process of death" was an interesting one as well.

It was a sudden and unexpected departure. Old Lady Hui was taking group photos with friends and family at a farewell dinner party for a Taiwan Politician. She had a stoke while taking pictures. She told her husband and friends around them, "Aiyo, my head hurt. my head hurt." Someone went to fetch her a chair, as she rested her head on her husband's shoulder... and slowly, she gently fainted onto the ground.

There were actually pictures of her resting her head on the shoulder of her husband during the last 2-3 minutes of her life.

Her family doctor was at the dinner as well. She received immediate medical help.

It was her time. It was her time to go.

She left this life after a farewell dinner party with almost all the people she knew. Most of her family and friends were there. It was a dinner with great food, she ate well. She took pictures with everyone she cared and loved.

She left.

In the state of California while this was all happening, Mitch and I was planning on our 2-week Hawaii Vacation. Mostly, I was planning for this get-away.

I needed it.

I SO needed it.

I have adjusted to my life in Los Angeles.
I have already let go of San Francisco Bay Area.

I needed it, because I had reached to a point where I felt like I had to make the decision of "making money" (2 years of schooling -> therapist, make my $ through private practice/education services) or "following my hopes and dreams." ( 7 years of schooling -> M.A. and PhD -> Research, Teach, and Practice.)

I knew I had to get away from Arcadia (my current "situation") to detach myself from my life to gain a little space for a different perception when I get back.

I asked Mitch's mother if I could stay at the farm house for this pensive time because I am a bit poor now (lol) I gotta save on the hotel money. It was a YES! AND I WANNA GO TOO!

So, 3 of us booked for our flight and our rental car.

Few weeks after our reservations were made, we heard of Old Lady Hui's departure. And that was just few days before the funeral.

We were all in awe with this amazing timing. Because tickets to Hawaii sell like hot cakes at this season. We would not have the ability to fly out in time if it were not for our early reservations. Not only we got a good deal on our traveling package, our stay had even time to help prepare for the funeral. Because it was a 2 week stay, we were able to go to the praying ceremony, the reception, the cremation, the burial at sea, and the burial on land. (yes, it was a big funeral.)

Being a "sad occasion", I never felt it would be appropriate to take pictures during the funeral or at any related events. But, people at this funeral is so different. They were not smiling much but many of them took pictures... as if they would want to remember this. As if they would want to be reminded that Old Lady Hui was no longer here.

It took me a good week to finally felt comfortable enough to appear in other's pictures of this funeral. As if, a little part of me TOO want to remember Old Lady Hui's funeral.

I have never met her when she was living. But, I almost felt like if it was not her death, I would not have the opportunity to learn so much about her, the people around her, and the inspiring life that she had lived.

It is difficult and may not be all so necessary for me to type out my whole chain of logic/emotion/thoughts. Regardless, I know my attendance of Old Lady Hui's funeral was not a coincidence. She was someone I had to get to know.

Since my graduation from Cal, I have met 4 inspiring women who have kept me on track in pursue of my career goal/hopes/dreams/ideal/unicorns/butterflies/rainbows/love/peace. They have shared their life stories and wisdom either through words or action. They were kind of like my teachers in this "school of the fucking real world". Old Lady Hui was one of them in its most mystical and unique way.

In her funeral, through the people she have touched and reached, I have gathered so many important stories and information to help me define my next step in my academic/career journey; the interaction of different personalities, different moral standards, differences between spirituality and religion, racial and ethical community ties, stories of the pursued of money and fame/inner peace and harmonic relationship with each other... etc.

I KNEW she was someone I "needed to meet", when I was offered her ash to scatter them on the ocean as one of her close family/friend. It was a very powerful and comedic moment. As Old Lady Hui's 1st born son paused to look at me when deciding whether or not if it was appropriate to offer me a handful of his mother's ash, someone at the boat yelled out a sincere tip on how to scatter the ash, "MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT RAISE YOUR HAND TOO HIGH! OR ELSE THE ASH WILL GET INTO OUR EYEBALLS!"

No one laughed or smile at that moment, of course. I didn't find it funny until now... lol. Anyways.

I was given a flower bud.
I was invited to reach my hand into the ash bag.
"Grab a handful, Grab More."
I reached for Old Lady Hui's cremated physical form.
"Now scattered it to the ocean."
Silently in its own mystical way, as the oldest son, the same uncle who taught me how to play the Ukulele, moved onto the next family member, my heart sincerely thanked Old Lady Hui and her family's hospitality and the opportunity to know this wonderful life story.


Old Lady Hui's close friends and family.

Old Lady Hui's youngest daughter, helping her father getting onto the boat.

Scattering of the Ash.

Oh yea, so now. I have decided to stick with my fucking hopes n dreams.
YES! I will be dirt poor* for a while...

But... if I have to ask myself "What would bring me the longest term of happiness? What's best for the SOUL?"

Yea.. hopes and dreams.

* see next post on "I will be dirt poor."

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