Today I welcome all of our friends to join my family in remembering our mother, and celebrating her extraordinary life. What an extraordinary life she lived.
[young photo of Nainai]
Upon graduating from high school, Mom showed tremendous courage in deciding to travel thousands of miles away from home to attend an elite teacher’s college. Mom once told me that she believed education was the future of the nation and the only way to modernize and save China. So, she left her comfort zone and traveled thousands of miles through dangerous terrains, Japanese occupied territories, lawless lands, lands without any government, until she finally reached her destination: enrolling at National Hunan Normal University.
There, for four years, Mom had to live the life of a student in exile because home was thousands of miles away. During winter and summer breaks, she and a few of her buddies who came from the same province stayed in their dormitory by themselves. You can imagine the hardship she went through, but she was always a great student who excelled academically. Four years later, she graduated with her degree, majoring in education, and she was ready to launch her teaching career. Yet again, she traveled hundreds of miles to China’s wartime capital of Chong Qing to reunite with her family. She found a teaching position at the National Borderlands School, which had a student body comprised of minority students from the borderland of China. So that’s the beginning of Mom’s teaching career, and right at this institute, she met the love of her life, my Dad.
After a fairytale wedding, after China finally won World War II and beat Japan, Dad and Mom got married. That was the beginning of a 50-year beautiful marriage. They first went home to meet with the parents, and then, following my father’s career, they went to Taiwan. Father was an engineer working for the government, while Mom continued her teaching career by teaching education psychology at both a teacher’s college and girls high school.
[older photo of gongong nainai, family photo]
For the next thirty years, they raised 5 of us. Our home was always spotless. Gourmet food was always on the table. I miss those dishes very much. Mom was a great chef. She made it look easy to cook those gourmet foods, and yet, I have not been ab
le to see something similar for the next 40-50 years. In any case, Mom and Dad raised 5 of us. They gave us a warm, loving home and eventually we all came to the States to pursue our American dreams.
Mom and Dad eventually retired and came to the States to reunite with us. Their retirement life in the U.S. was peaceful, and family get-togethers always brought them plenty of joy. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all that.
[old photos of grandkids with gongong/nainai]
Dad and Mom always had their own way with their grandchildren. They have their own relationship with them. Unfortunately, Dad left us too soon in 1995. After that, Mom stayed in NY and took care of my brothers and sisters. We are so lucky to have had 25 more years with Mom.
[photos of traveling, for all families]
We went on so many trips. We traveled all around the world-- Europe, Asia, Japan, Alaska-- Mom flew the helicopter with my kids to land on the glaciers. The kids always admired Grandma’s adventurous spirit. In the past 25 years, we had a great time. Unfortunately, all parties end eventually, one day.
[99 bday everybody photo]
Today, we are here to say goodbye. I asked my daughters, do they want to jointly say goodbye to Nainai. They told me they all have their own words that they want to share with Nainai individually. That shows how successful Mom was with the next generation. They all adore her. They all have such a close, intimate relationship with her.
I think Mom’s life has been an extraordinary one. Until the very end, her quality of life was still very good. Luckily, we had a big gathering celebrating her 100 year birthday and she handled herself so elegantly, so well. We will miss her forever.