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Thoughtful To The End


Louise had just celebrated her 102nd birthday, was not ill, and had no pain or discomfort. But within an hour of getting up from bed as usual, she went peacefully and quickly to join her husband in the presence of the Lord.

Although unexpected, we were prepared, for mom had given instructions about her departure long ago. She had settled her affairs, having distributed her assets and belongings, and had signed papers to bequeath her body to the university.

She had also specifically told her four children in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Canada not to rush to Perth (where she lived), and not to have a funeral service. In death as in life, she considered others.

On her 100th birthday, a newspaper reporter asked her for the secret of her longevity. She replied, “Forgive everyone and don’t be a busybody.” Indeed she lived by this motto. Several times in her life she had been cheated and rejected by close friends whom she had helped. She could not stop complaining bitterly until she agreed to receive prayer one day. Amazingly after praying to release forgiveness, she was completely released.

From that time on, she never mentioned the hurt again. Living with us in the same house, we must have said or done many things which could have hurt her. I think she must have forgiven us 70 times 7 to remain genuinely peaceful, sweet and gracious.

A friend was trying to persuade his parents to become Christians. They did not believe nor were they convinced as they were Communist party members from China. Then they attended the centre run by our church where my mother was. By observing her serene and peaceful demeanour for a whole day, they told their son, “Now we understand what it is like to be a Christian.”

Educated in America with a music degree, Louise multiplied her many talents and resources to help others. For example, she took in orphans into our home, ran a kindergarten and gathered a group of poor blind teens to form a choir of such high standard that they sang before Madam Chiang Kai Shek when they toured Taiwan. She raised several musical prodigies and quietly helped countless needy students with finances, music lessons, school fees, etc.

After moving from Beijing to Hong Kong to escape the communists, she helped her large family – including parents, siblings, nephews and nieces – to leave China, settling them in Hong Kong with accommodation and jobs, and helping them to migrate to the US and Australia. Whatever she had, she shared generously with others.

Her family illustrates the scriptural phrase that says “the blessings of the Lord go down to thousands of generations”. Her great grandfather was one of the firstfruits of American missionaries to China. Her father was sent to America to do a Ph.D. and became a Methodist pastor. She and her sister were given scholarships in an American Catholic university.

My parents were nominal Christians until they came to Perth and regularly attended our church. Mom was a natural soul-winner, easily talking to people at bus stops, making friends and inviting them to church. We see God’s blessings wonderfully continuing down the generations.

Her maxim, “Don’t be a busybody”, as not easy for her strong, capable, resourceful personality. Used to instructing maids, kids, relatives and friends, her non-interference policy made her easily welcomed by her daughter, son-in- law and grandchildren.

In her 18 years of living with us, she never whined, complained or dictated how we should run our household, bring up our children, change our lifestyle or cook our food. She entertained herself by reading, playing Solitaire, doing jigsaw puzzles, knitting, making Beijing dumplings, and going to her senior clubs and ladies fellowship.

She enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest, loving God and blessing others. What a model to emulate.

Thoughtful To The End - Asian Beacon: Jun-Jul 2012 (Vol 44, No 3, p32)