Realizing, how her mother really HAD, loved her, after her mother’s death, translated…
As Yue-Ching Feng looked up toward her own mother’s photo on the shrines, it seemed, as though, someone, chipped off pieces of her heart, she’d started, hyperventilating, couldn’t talk, tears showered downward. Her mother looked very peaceful, with the wrinkles smoothed over, pale complexion, you couldn’t tell she’s seventy-six. A month and a half after the funeral, Yue-Ching became lost, normally, she’d worked, with full zest, gone out to dine at the gourmet restaurants, traveled a lot, during those month-and-a-half, she couldn’t, produce enough energy to do anything at all. For the ten years that followed, she’d often asked herself, why did her mother’s death bring so much pain to her? Because she wasn’t, that close, to her mother at all.
In her college days, she’d read “the Heart Mandala” by Ai-Lin Chang, the writer described the Iraqi Complex so well, it’d, convinced her. However, being deadlocked in a relationship triangle with her parents, it’s, nothing, comparing. During her teenage years, Yueh-Ching was very pretty, very active, laughed and talked with her parents, and would play coy with her father every single day, and her mother always, smiled that tolerant smile toward them both. Back then, her older brother in his high school year was closer to her mother, the two of them would always go to movies together, and afterwards, engaged in discussions of the films for days on end.
As her parents turned sixty-five, her older brother had set up his own family in the U.S., and would take his wife, and his son back to Taiwan, and for Yueh-Ching, who’d gotten divorced and returned back to being single, she’d found a job back home in Taichung, went home three days of the week, bought the groceries, and cooked, took her parents’ blood pressure readings. At age forty, Yueh-Ching learned to be tolerant. She’d discovered that as her mother entered into the elderly years, she’d become, reliant on her father completely, not just in the body and mind, but the soul too, on the one hand, she’d become weakly, and needed his looking after, on the other, Yueh-Ching thought, that it may be like the movies, how her father was her mother’s first love, and her last too. And so, Yueh-Ching tried not to talk to her father alone, every time she’d wanted to say something, she’d, spoken, to both of them, to make her mother felt, that her father, belonged, to solely, her.
So, she wasn’t, that close at all, to her own mother growing up. After her mother died, every now and then, memories of her mother would, surface. A day after her mother’s forty-seventh birthday, Yueh-Ching made her way home, her father was out. Her mother just got her cataracts fixed for two weeks, her eyes looked brighter, her silky silvery hair, made her looked, spirited. Her mother took out a small wooden box, with four rings inside, two brooches, she’d placed the wooden box into Yueh-Ching’s hands, said, “I’d given you some from before, now, the rest will be all yours, I’d given your sister-in-law her share when she married. I’d only brought about a dozen items as I came over from China. But, the most precious emerald pendant, I’d sold, I couldn’t, give it to you. Such a shame. You know what? Twenty odd years ago, when you and him got married, as we’d, settled on the dowries? But, your mother-in-law came to me in secrecy, and demanded $200,000N.T.’s, said that you’re older than her son, so, I’d, sold it. I’d not told you, fearing it may, put a damper on your relationship to your husband, but what I worried more was, what would your mother-in-law tell her son.” Her mother was right on, four short years after they’d married, he’d had a change of heart. Thinking hard on her mother’s words, she’d felt, how much shame her mother bore for her sake, how she’d worried over her.
Six months after her mother died, Yueh-Ching started sorting through the photos of the funeral, and found, that there were, a TON of people who’d come, to pay their final respects, her father’s subordinates before he’d retired, her older brother’s classmates, her coworkers, classmates, her mother’s mahjong buddies, her classmates from Tai-Chi. And, they’d all seem, to have sat in front of the shrine for a long time. That was, odd, as most people, including herself, would just bow out of respect, then, leave. She’d recalled, how no matter who it was that came over to her home to visit, after her mother put out the teas, she’d always, sat down, to converse with the guests, she’s elegant, the guests all talked a lot, and they’d, felt good. Her mother was the daughter of a rich family back in China, and Yueh-Ching had, often, overlooked her mother’s charm, she was way too, self-centered.
Started when she’d gone to college in the north, graduated, started working away from home, to when she got married at twenty-eight, she would receive a package from her mother once every three, four months, with a dress, tailor made to her figure, she’d put these on out of habit. Recalling, each and every one of these dresses was, very fitted, the material was good, and the style, fashionable. She’d imagined how careful her mother was, picking out the materials, and she’d paid heed to the fashionable styles too, and instructed the seamstress how to make it herself, for the sake, of making her own daughter look beautiful.
Five years since her mother passed, one evening, she was accompanying her father watching television, it was a documentary about venomous snakes, the black tree cobra in it made Yueh-Ching recalled something that happened when she was only four. The first home her parents had, the place where her and her older brother was born in, was a Japanese-style house by the foot of the hills. As she sat in the yard, playing with her dolls underneath the trees. Out of the blue, her mother screamed, “Ching-Ching, don’t move!”, her mother’s body came very quickly toward her, she’d used that ironclad coal sorter she had in her hand, started, hitting the ground just a meter from where Yueh-Ching was repeatedly, Yueh-Ching saw that her mother was hitting a black, shiny, worm the length of a chopstick, so many times, that worm twisted for a bit, then, became, stiff. Her mother dropped the fork, grabbed Yueh-Ching, pulled her close, in her mother’s arms, she’d felt her mother, trembling. Her mother, who was usually scared of a cockroach, in order to protect her, had killed a centipede that’s very large.
Her mother had died for ten years, and Yueh-Ching is already sixty, entered, into the elderly years. One day at the crack of dawn, she’d dreamed that she swam like a mermaid, in the depth of the ocean, saw a huge clam, it’d opened up the shells, there seemed to be, a golden colored pearl the size of a ping pong ball. At this time, the rooster crowed, between dreaming and awake, Yueh-Ching saw her mother’s face, only ten centimeters away from her, smiling at Yuen-Ching, the way she’d looked, that day as she’d handed her the wooden box full of her things. Was it her mother, waiting for her for ten years, for Yueh-Ching, to feel her love, to finally, meet up with her again?
So, this woman’s mother DID love her, it’s just that back when she was younger, she couldn’t appreciate how her mother loved her, and, she’d realized, just how much her mother truly cared for her, and found closure, from her mother’s death, knowing, that she really, loved her very much.