I’m feeling pretty shaky today. I found out over the week-end that Hsiu–Chuan (Susan) is teetering on the edge of life. In fact when I talked to Roy on Saturday, he didn’t expect her to live through the night. She’s still here, but probably not for very long.
Susan has such an amazing life force; it’s hard to imagine that pettering out. I was recently looking at some photos of her, taken on a trip to the Yukon about ten years ago. There’s a picture of her sitting in Joe’s truck, beaming with happiness. She loved that truck and wanted nothing more than to get out into the bush with it to hunt for a moose. It wasn’t the season though, so we went fishing instead. But I will always remember that image of her, so full of life.
I will also remember her boundless generosity, and the fact that she made the best Chinese food I’ve ever tasted. I will remember her spunk as she marched into the kitchen of a Canadian-Chinese restaurant in New Minas, Nova Scotia many years ago, and started telling them what to cook for our meal and how to cook it.
I will remember her frustration with my brother, who – while I love him dearly – probably isn’t the easiest person to live with. Every time I visited her, she would start with, “Your brother – he makes me SO MAD!”
Roy and Hsiu-Chuan had their troubles, but this past spring, they decided to try to get back together. Very shortly after that, she got sick. He has probably spent more time and paid more attention to her in the last several months than in all the years he has known her. Lessons are taught in many different ways, and they don’t always come in ways we would choose, but I think my brother may have learned a great deal in the last little while about love and service to others.
Go gently Susan. I look forward to someday seeing you on the other side.