A year ago, our son did a photo essay about his grandma, recording ‘A Day in Her Life‘ for his project. He shadowed her wherever she went and took pictures of whatever she did. Now, the photos have become our most cherished memories of her.
We didn’t know then. But God already knew.
For as long as I can remember, my mother has had an affinity for the Catholic faith. It started when I was just a young girl. We were atheists then but for some reason, she sent me for a Catholic education that lasted twelve years.
Twenty years ago, she was finally baptised along with my father. They joined a dialect prayer group praying at funerals for the souls of the departed. When she passed away, this same group came to pray at her funeral for two nights. We experienced first-hand the lilting melodic prayers that she had been praying for others but which were now being offered up for her. It was like a sweet balm in our grief and sorrow.
When our children were young, our family would go over to her house to have dinner and pray the Rosary together. We’d pray the last decade in my parents’ dialect because that was the only way they could keep up with us. Eventually, they too picked up all the Prayers in English – Prayers which, in the two weeks of her hospitalisation, she would pray aloud continuously, in English, whether breathing through a tube, a mouth mask or with the full-oxygen mask on. She was always fiddling with her rosary beads despite the multi-tubes inserted into her swollen hands.
For someone not quite literate, my mum started reading a Chinese Bible with pictures for quite a few years. She read the Bible from cover-to-cover several times, sometimes late into the night. In her last moments, we were surprised to hear her mumbling about “Abraham… Cain and Abel… Jacob…” and blessing marriages and families! What was remarkable was that she was speaking in Chinese, not in the usual dialect she used to converse with us.
Once, in the High Dependency Ward, she told us that she saw Our Lord in white and Our Lady in blue at her bedside, with their hands clasped and praying with her. Her simple faith was magnified when she told me, “My poinsettia is blooming very well, more beautiful than yours, because i watered it everyday with several drops of Holy Water!”
My mum has something we like to call blind faith. In the words of Jesus to Thomas – Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.
Thanks Mum for showing us how a simple life and a deep faith can get us to Heaven. We love you! We miss you! See you in Heaven someday! By R