Yesterday was a busy day. 5 years without him, or 60 months, over 260 weeks, 1826 days. My parents came to visit from China and they probably didn’t realize the date. It’s my culture, being quiet. Everybody in the family was quiet. So I had to get out. Crying or not crying, I had to get out.
The shopping center in my neighborhood, the Village, will display our 2,000 origami cranes from Jan. This is a charming shopping area with gardens, restaurants, fancy stores, a place to enjoy life’s little luxuries in a scenic environment. The manager showed me a couple of spots to display. She asked, “What’s the color of childhood cancer?” “Gold.” I said. She smiled, “The tower at the Village will light up gold in September 2020.”
What a surprise and a great comfort of the day! To hear the words “light up gold” on the 5th year anniversary of Joey’s passing put me into tears. She had no idea behind the excitement on my face, there was so much pain. The pain that I can’t say it out loud with my own families today, the pain that I don’t want to talk to anyone because it’s supposed to be happy in this season.
I went home after walking around the Village. David had a friend coming for sleepover. He was happy. The house was full of laughters. And again, I just couldn’t stay. Garage, my safe place where I can cry. I need to work on ornaments. A boutique in the Village invited me to sell ornaments to fundraise. So I brought all materials to the garage, starting working on them. I had to be busy. I couldn’t let my parents see my tears.
Dinner was happy, with David, his friend, grandparents and Luke. I know Luke had a heavy heart, but he was hiding. We didn’t want the elders in the family feel our pain.
At night, after everyone went to bed, I took out the letter wrote by my friend Ann to the nurses who cared for her when she stayed in the hospital. Ann passed away early this year. She was my spiritual teacher, my comforter and she was a fighter.
She wrote “Gratefulness is a word which has eternal value to me. I saw myself as a sinner…I confessed known sin and invited Jesus Christ into my heart and life, never to be the same again. Does that mean my life is free of worry, disappointment or tragedy? Of course not…but it does mean that God will see me through those times.”
Ann and her husband Ben lost two children five years apart on the same day on 11/26 in 1965 and 1970, the same day when Joey passed away from cancer on 11/26 in 2014. One week after Joey’s passing, Ann and Ben visited us sharing their story. That was also the first time Luke agreed to talk to someone. I would never forget that conversation.
I remember the day when Ann passed away was a Sunday, when I was teaching Sunday school talking about Jesus performing miracles. After the class, I saw the facebook about her passing. I hated it. I was angry. I asked God, “How come you never showed me a miracle?”
This Spring when I went to Gainesville for Joey’s Run, I visited Mr. Ben. He showed me this letter and a folder Ann kept. Inside the folder, there was a picture of Joey.
I couldn’t hold my tears. I cried and cried with Mr. Ben. I didn’t know both of their children passed away on the same day on 11/26 until I saw the letter.
I read Ann’s letter often when I am confused, angry and depressed. “I have come to the realization that life is very precious. There are no guarantees in life even for the next moment and uniquely, there no accidental meetings that take place along the way. Every moment of each day is ordained by GOD.” she wrote.
Last night, on the 5th year of anniversary, I asked God again, what is a miracle?
A miracle is Ann and Ben survived greatest pain of the earth yet serviced other people with only love in their hearts.
A miracle is we would never ever give up hope on our children no matter what the circumstance is.
A miracle is parents who lost a child to cancer still sleep, work and fight hard to find a cure.
A miracle is when gratitude becomes an essential foundation in our lives, miracles start to appear.
People say an angel is someone who helps you believe in miracles again. Now every year on 11/26, I pray for protection and blessing from 3 angels who brought miracles to their parents.
My dear child, I miss you so very much and I will not stop believing in miracles.