Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The two late great women of my family

I want to tell you all a short story of the two great women in my immediate family: my mother (1919-2008) and my sister Wendy (1945-2012). Wendy just passed away this morning.

My mother and sister Wendy, circa 1970

In 1999, while I was in India helping save the Bengal tiger from extinction, Wendy was hit by a runaway garbage truck and sustained severe brain damage, but my mother withheld the bad news from me until my return to Vancouver. I asked her why, and she said, "What is the point to weigh you down for two months when you couldn't do anything about it?" Such was the deeply considerate person that my mother was.

Some years later, accompanied by her husband - University of Hong Kong Sociology professor Dr. Nelson Chow - in a visit to Vancouver, Wendy could not even recognize me and, much to her sorrow, my mother. She could not recognize Nelson either when she first woke up from her coma back in 99. Even during that visit circa 2005, she still thought that Nelson was "just a friend".

In her heydays, Wendy was a champion athlete (track and field), and gutsy to boot. By education and training she was a social worker, which often required her to go into the slums to visit her clients, where even the police feared to tread. And yet, she just marched right in, head held high, and no hoodlum would dare touch her.

My cousin Betty (who became a doctor), I (already plotting how to save animals and the planet), and Wendy (in her innate dignity).

Last week, my dear cousin Chris (FB name Siu Chris), who lives in Hong Kong, informed me that Wendy had suffered a fall, resulting in a blood clot in her brain, and had gone into a coma, one from which she would not this time awaken. Chris messaged me today that Wendy had passed away.

I wrote back to Chris, "Dearest cousin. Please again convey my eternal gratitude to Nelson. Ill-fated as my sister's life was in this matter, she, and we all, were fortunate to have him as her care-giver. It takes a real man, true love and total dedication to do what he has done for Wendy and our whole family. A lesser man would have just walked away. I believe that in my sister's heart of hearts she knew she was blessed at least in this regard."

Chris wrote back, "Just bid farewell to her. May she find joy, peace & eternity in God's Home together with aunt & uncle... Will send your heartfelt & sincere message to Nelson."

On a philosophical note, Wendy was the most devout Christian (Catholic) in my family. There was not one day I was with her back in Hong Kong as a teenager when she did not fall on her knees and pray, while I was not only the black sheep of the family, but of the Church, and later blasted away at its incredibly evil Inquisition, slammed its ultimately arrogant "Infallibility", and lapsed into having "no religion" (John Lennon). If God wanted to strike one of us dead, it should have been me, not Wendy.

My aunts (back row), Wendy in dad's arms, my grandmothers, mom, cousin Naam, baby brother Matthew and me.

Finally, these are two great Chinese women, whom I love deeply, of whom I am immensely proud, and next time I hear anybody say anything like "I HATE the Chinese" and/or "the Chinese is an evil race", I will tear his/her head off.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)


wolfiesmom1 said...

I love your photos of your Beautiful family in such a lovely time for all of you much love and light to you and your family~

Donna Leventakis said...

Dear Anthony,
Since my son left this world in a car accident at the age of 27 and my husband followed not even a year later at the age of 52, I am well acquainted with what the death of a loved one means. My husband was also the black sheep of the family and when God took my son he asked me "Why did he take Bill? I'm the bad guy." The truth is I even cried out to God and asked Him the same question. He gave me the answer. My son was ready to leave and God was giving a chance to my husband to repent which I believe he did before he left also. Christians know that death is not the end but the passing over to heaven where there is no more death, pain and sorrow. There He will wipe ever tear from our eyes.

joneeyu said...

my deepest condoleances on your lost.u had a wonderful family.keep faith you are doing a very special job here , now ,on this planet and your animal family needs you even more now then before as values & good customs are ignored by newer generations! so very sad...the whole world is a mess...the human species is very ill...not just the planet...so very sad for me to witness...

Bev said...

Dear Anthony, thank you so much for sharing your heart about your mother and your sister. I read your writing about your mother when you accepted me as a fb friend. I wish I could have met that wonderful lady. I am not surprised to know that your sister also was a wonderful person. You are a blessed man to have had a life with these two beautiful people. I am deeply touched by your words and my heart breaks for your loss yet rejoices for the love you shared with your mother and your sister. Thank you again for sharing your heart with us. Your brother-in-law, Nelson, is a true man and so are you. Although your writing is about heartbreaking loss you restore hope as you speak. Love, Hugs and Prayers to you Anthony. From one of your fb friends, Bev

karen said...

My Condolences Anthony , Its tough to Lose a Sibling But also Tougher when your Sibling has fallen Ill and there Is nothing You Can do for them. may your Sister rest in peace. Karen

karen said...

My Condolences Anthony , Its tough to Lose a Sibling But also Tougher when your Sibling has fallen Ill and there Is nothing You Can do for them. may your Sister rest in peace. Karen

izzybean said...

It never makes sense when these things happen, at least not to me. I was with my mom and father when they each took their last breaths. and morn the loss of them greatly to this day. and my heart goes to your brother in law Nelson, It Does take a great man to stick by his wife in sickness and health, as much as I love my father, sadly, he did walk away from my mother when she became ill.And since I have learned of you and followed your blogs etc. I have a deeper respect for what I did not know. That although there are bad and ignorant people Everywhere, that one can not damn a whole country for a percentage of those who hurt and harm. And I have thrown a few choice words to those ignorant enough who do. Sending you Peace and love...