Archive for May, 2012

My Aunt Jane passed away last week.  It has been a very sad time for my family.  Aunt Jane was my mother’s sister.  She was only 66 years old.  She had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only six months ago.  Two weeks after Aunt Jane was diagnosed, my mother lost another sister, Aunt Susan, who was 67.

I am writing an open letter to Milo, who is now 2 1/2 years old.  Below is what I wrote to him about Aunt Jane.

May 21, 2012

Dear Milo,

It’s been a sad time.  Auntie Jane passed away.  It was expected.  She had pancreatic cancer.  She was diagnosed six months ago and given 4-6 months to live.  Auntie Jane was my cousins’, Sally and Tina’s mother.  They lost their father when they were school girls.  Now they lost their mother.

Auntie Jane is Ah-mah’s sister and she helped Ah-mah and Ah-kong at their company for many years.  She lived near Ah-mah and Ah-kong.  She met you when you were born and loved you very much.  You saw her often enough that you recognized her.  She was very gentle and kind.

The last six months of her life, Auntie Jane lived in New York, near her daughters.  This last month of her life, I brought you to visit her three times.  I drove you with Ah-mah to visit Auntie Jane, because we didn’t have much time left with her.  It was a long drive, but you were a trooper.  I brought you because it made Auntie Jane happy to see you.  I even told you this, that you made everybody happy.

When we saw Auntie Jane one month ago, she was very skinny, half the size of her normal self.  But she was still able to walk around and have a conversation.  You gave her a hug.  We went to the park and played.  She was very happy to see you.

Three weeks later, we came back to visit.  It was Auntie Jane’s 66th birthday.  She could no longer talk very well and needed help to walk around.  You sang her happy birthday six times.  All the aunties  were there and everybody clapped.  I watched Auntie Jane watching you.  Even though she could not speak, I could see some light dancing in her eyes.  Your singing brought her some joy.  For the rest of our short visit, she watched you play and sing.

The next week, we came back to say goodbye.  Auntie Jane was bedridden and could not open her eyes or speak.  She was most likely unconscious, but they say she could possibly hear us, so we spoke to her.  Ah-mah was very, very sad.  I was sad too.  You and I sang Frere Jacques to Auntie Jane.  I could tell it was very confusing to you and part of me debated about bringing you.  It was a very stressful visit.  But I thought it was important that we say goodbye.  I think she heard us.

The next day, Auntie Jane passed away.

A few days later, we drove back to New York for Auntie Jane’s funeral.  We drove together with Ah-mah and Ah-kong in another car.  We shared a hotel suite with two bedrooms and a living room.  The hotel had a pool.  You had a wonderful time playing in the pool.  I was asked to give the eulogy for Auntie’s funeral, so I woke up early to finish it.  The morning of the funeral, you declared, “I make everybody happy!”

Your father and I laughed.  While I hope you don’t grow up with a god complex, I was glad for your light in a very sad situation.  I was very glad you could bring a little joy to Auntie Jane during her last days.

I know you probably won’t remember Auntie Jane in your conscious memory, but I hope this note in your letter reminds you of someone who loved you.



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Long Hiatus

I have let this blog lie fallow for much too long.  There are any number of reasons why I don’t write.  And it’s a funny thing writing a blog.  I try to be positive and uplifting, but sometimes life isn’t always positive and uplifting.  Sometimes, it’s downright painful.

So I can’t always promise positive and uplifting.  Hopefully, I can promise some honesty.  That’s the best I can do.

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