Saturday, January 30, 2010

Long Road==Jan 27 2010


He was supposed to be on a very different trip...climbing mountains...forging rivers...crashing through the jungles of Sabah. Instead, he flew across the world to see his sister who was dying. I picked him up from the airport on Tuesday night and we left Seattle before 3 am.

"Are you alright dad?"

"I'm fine"

We drove. At 5.15 am, he became deathly ill. We had to stop the car several times. We became familiar with the rest stops and the gas stations. By 5.35 am he suddenly- miraculously got better. At 7.30 the phone rang; his sister, my aunt, was gone...she died at 5.30 am. 

"Dad, are you alright?"

"I'm fine."

I reached across and patted his arm as we drove. As Lewis Carroll so aptly penned..."The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: of shoes and ships- and sealing wax- of cabbages and kings."...and so, we, on our seven hour journey down to Selma, Oregon, talked, laughed and I heard my father tell me stories I had never heard before. I asked questions I've never had a chance to ask. Finally we arrived at the mortuary ...Hull & Grants Pass, Oregon. 

"I'm here to see my sister."

I let the kind gentleman know my father travelled from Sabah to Singapore to Seattle and now to Grants Pass, Oregon to see his sister. He looked very empathetic. I wonder if you go through a special course to work at a mortuary. Do they teach you to talk in an ultra soft voice? Do they train you to lean towards those grieving and nod your head at everything they say? If so- he was trained well.

"Would you like me to prepare her for you to view her...she has just come in...."

"No, I would like to see my sister just as she is."

"Give me one moment."

We waited. We commented on what a lovely mortuary it was. We viewed every picture on the wall. My father read the motto, "we are here for your today and your tomorrow." I asked again..."Are you alright?"

"I think it is better like this..."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, it might have been better that I didn't see her struggling in pain. Maybe it is better I am seeing her like this."

"Yes, I think so."

"I needed to come, even though I didn't make it in time."

"You are right."

"How could it have happened so fast? They just told me she was sick? She was well a week ago."

The kind man returned to usher us into a small room. He carefully explained her mouth was not totally shut and her eyes were not fully closed. He paused at the door to warn us of her body being there immediately when we entered the small room. He need not have worried about us and dead father and I have seen our share of them ...but then this time it was his it would be different.

He patted her cheek and forehead and said, "Oh sissy...oh've gone." I stroked her arm and felt tears welling up. It was difficult for me to see my father grieving for his only sister. He didn't cry but he kept saying,"Oh sissy...I tried to come quickly."
There was not going to be a funeral. She chose not to have one. Her sons said they had to fulfill her wishes. My father sat in the car outside the mortuary and said, "Now what? Shall we have lunch?"
I said, "Why don't we go to Elmer's Restaurant...since it was her favorite place to eat." 

His face brightened up, "It will be like a tribute to her memory."
We ate at Elmer's and he told his 'sissy' several times..."we are here for you."

After eating, we headed back up to Seattle. Seven hours of more talking, and phone calls to loved ones. As I drove, I listened to my father retelling the day's events over and over to each new person he spoke with. I could tell there was a certain healing going on with each new telling. There would come a time he would weary of having to relate the events; but for this time, he needed this therapy of sorts. I listened as he told me more stories. Eighteen hours after leaving my house, we pulled back into my driveway. 

"Are you alright dad?"

"Yes, thank you, I am fine."

There will be many more days for him to climb mountains, forge rivers and stomp through the jungles of Sabah. Today was the only day he could make the journey to say farewell to his sister. I am thankful I was a part of this journey.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

excerpt from letter dated Jan 15 2010

....We Love and miss you guys. On the 25th (of January) morning I head off to the Jungle with Ps Eric and othes, someone is flying in from Sprignfield, we will be going to a village  Probably leave about  4 am drive to a remote town Pensiangang (to get there we have to drive across thre rivers (about 2 feet plus deep, from there we walk (climb) over a mountain--they said quite high ((when they say it is quite high- you can believe it is high--the villagers say it is about a 6 hour going through the jungle, then stay in a little village overnight and another  4 to 6 hours to reach this new village of Kaubu (over near the border to Indonesia (Kalimantan)  then small boat down river to (across the Indonesian border) to a small viallge, hold a day of two meetings there, then in the boat again to go up to village of Silinatang  (Kampong Silinatang)  for a night meetings and then in a larger boat (4 to 6 people) to Pensianggang to ge our cars and then again across the rivers and home....

The above is an excerpt of a letter written not by some young person- or middle aged person- it was written by my father who will be 80 years old this year. 
(first pic) my dad and a Finnish girl (she and her husband requested to live a month with my parents just to follow them around in whatever they did and wherever they went). (second pic) my dad in one of the interior villages.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Things about me....

  • Tell your readers 10 things about you that they may or may not know, but are true..

  • Tag 10 people with the award, and be sure to let them know they’ve been tagged (a quick comment on their blog will do).
  • Link back to the blogger who tagged you.

 Just call me "A" graciously tagged me- so now I'm sitting here scratching my head thinking about ten things about me that you may or may not know...but are true...First, I've linked back to the blogger who tagged me....later I'll choose the 10 people I'm going to tag. Okay, I guess that just brings us to the 10 things...

  1. My husband and I first met in New Delhi. 
  2. If I am not driving, I prefer sitting in the back seat. I like having the front seats blocking my view of the road :)
  3. I have never changed my name after getting married- not because I didn't want to change it, but simply because I was married in Singapore where it is not necessary to change your name--- and then I traveled so much I never got around to changing it...and now 23 years just seems too much of a hassle to do it. 
  4. My wedding ring was made from the grandmother's wedding diamond (which she left me)- and some gold, which someone else gave me (we melted the gold and made it into a ring- placing my grandmother's diamond in it)
  5. It is difficult to think of 10 things about me
  6. I do not like watching a movie if I've read the book....never come away satisfied
  7. I once worked as an intern in the White House when Reagan was president. (actually my office was in the Old Executive Office Building...right next to the White House)
  8. I also worked as an intern in Senator Jepsen's office- one night I was working late and the cleaning lady was cleaning Senator Ted Kennedy's office and my friend and I asked her if we could go in- she allowed us to- and we spent a great deal of time looking at all his family pictures on the wall- there were ALOT of them!
  9. Multitasking is one of my favorite things to do-- except, I can't have music or the tv as background noises if I'm trying to do things...unless I'm relaxing...(this makes for interesting situations, because I married a husband who has to have constant background noise no matter what)
  10.   I have been a long time penpal person- from the days of snail mail- I have kept up with most of my penpals for a minimum of 12 years and a maximum of 30 years- (those are penpals I have never met except on paper and through pictures)

Those I'm going to tag---

Katrina- she is my daughter, and a magnficent blogger

Cassandra- also my daughter- and has just started blogging 

Heather- She has a way with words which I'm always amazed at

Sneo- I love her blogs about her trips & her life in general

Nancy- Can't say enough about her blog- really enjoy every post

Life, Lime and Lemons- just got married- so I think I want to hear a bit about her life ...I'm sure I'll learn something new

Whitney- has a lovely way of putting her thoughts into poetic verse

Windy Skies- love his pictures and his journeys - would love to hear more about his life and what he likes and doesn't like

Shelley- my best friend who resides in Japan

Sarah- my dear friend who resides in Turkey

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jan 17 1931- Peking, China

On January 17th,, 1931, Margaret Belle Hansen was born in Peking, China. She spoke only Mandarin until the age of five, after which she learned to speak English. 

 "Margie" sitting on her mom's lap, picture taken in Peking, China.

Little "Margie" could never have imagined 12 years after her birth she and her family would be prisoners in a Japanese Internment camp in Wei Hsien, China. 

Dec 1943 marked the date Margaret and her family arrived in New York as exchange prisoners of war. Before she knew it, she went back to Asia as a married woman.  
Margaret on her wedding day 

In 1955, Margaret Belle Seaward settled into life in Singapore where she made good use of her childhood Mandarin. One day I must write a book of her life, as it was filled with grand adventures and marvelous miracles.

On Jan 17th,  2010, Margaret turns 79 years old. She now resides in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. She flies between Singapore and KK regularly. In a given month she will fly over to Australia to speak for a conference and then zip back to Malaysia to speak for some meetings; a quick dash down to Singapore and back up to Kota Kinabalu....then she wonders, "why am I so tired"

"Mom, because you are almost 79 and you act like you are 19!"

I want to wish my mother a Happy Birthday- and thank her for all she has instilled in me. "Impossible"...."no"...."it cannot be done"....were never part of her vocabulary. She taught me above all to put God first. She taught not only by word, but by her very lifestyle.  I can only hope that when I am 79 I will be as 'young' as she is. :)

Margaret and Fred Seaward- taken in Singapore 2009

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Be a proud member of the International Bloggers Community! "

Reflections has so generously honoured me with this international blogger's community award. Thank you very much !!! Now I in turn want to honour some others- listed below- I will also follow the rules of this award.

7 people I tagged and give this award to:

Just call me A


Windy Skies

broken muse

Now the Rules say:
1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Copy the image above, the rules and the questionnaire in this post.
3. Post this in one or all of your blogs.
4. Answer the four questions following these Rules.
5. Award this to 7 friends on your Blog list. 

6. Go to BLoGGiSTa iNFo CoRNeR (PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THIS LINK) at and leave the URL of your Post in order for you/your Blog to be added to the Master List.
7. Have Fun!

Questions & My Answers:
1. The person who tagged you: Reflections

2. His or her url or title:

3. Date when you were tagged: 4th Jan 2010

4. Persons you award & tag are: displayed above

Where do I begin?

(written on March 28th 2018) For someone with so many words...words that just tumble out even when they are not wanted...words that jump h...