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ndebord
March 1st, 2006, 05:49 PM
People can be so $%#^% stupid when it comes to this sort of thing...

Sigh is right... Virtual hugs, Nick. I know this is so hard.

Judy,

Well, it is all over now. We got a call this morning that [my mother-in-law] was gravely ill and then shortly before I entered the Holland Tunnel, that she had passed. The strangest thing. A nurse there (Cabrini Hospice, which I had just got her into the previous day), said that she was down the hall (my mother-in-law had a corner room) and saw her get up out of her bed and walk into the bathroom and sit down on the toilet). The nurse ran to her and realized that she was slowly lapsing into unconsciousness and put her back to bed. That is when they called us.

She had said before, that when she was going to die that she would just walk off. Little did she know that the walk was only going to be from her bed to the John. I don't know how she did it, because she had zero strength before this in ER, ICU and the floor in Beekman. Couldn't even turn on her side.

Ah well, she passed in beautiful surroundings. She had a great room with a marvelous view and a large window. The nurse was very nice and now we can let her go without a heavy heart. It was 3 weeks, but it could have been worse and she went out quietly and peacefully. A blessing.

BTW, I'm going over to Martine's and get some chocolate for the social worker and the attending physician at Beekman, who were both more than helpful throughout this whole thing. I wanna blow their socks off with something better than the ordinary thank you.

Thanks to you and everyone for your sympathey, it has been a long 3 weeks, with lots of ups and downs, but fiinally a closing.

ktinkel
March 1st, 2006, 07:49 PM
She had said before, that when she was going to die that she would just walk off. Ah well, she passed in beautiful surroundings.Oh, Nick my condolences.

But your mother-in-law seems to have foiled some of the bureaucracy. Good for her.

I hope your wife is well, and you too.

Judy G. Russell
March 1st, 2006, 08:15 PM
Oh Nick... I am so sorry. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how much you expect it and even want it to happen to bring an end to the suffering, you're never really ready for this.

But you have the great comfort of knowing you did all you could to let her go out her way, and that you got her where she needed to be to go out in comfort, peace and grace.

Hugs to you and your family.

Lindsey
March 1st, 2006, 09:20 PM
I am sorry about your mother-in-law, but glad for all of you that she went peacefully.

I think your idea about the chocolate is wonderful.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 1st, 2006, 10:59 PM
Nick, please let us know what the arrangements are.

earler
March 2nd, 2006, 05:16 AM
My sincere condolences.

-er

Mike Landi
March 2nd, 2006, 06:25 AM
I'm so sorry to hear that she is gone, Nick. You've had a terrible 2006 so far. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

ndebord
March 2nd, 2006, 09:49 AM
Oh, Nick my condolences.

But your mother-in-law seems to have foiled some of the bureaucracy. Good for her.

I hope your wife is well, and you too.,


Kathleen,

Thanks. She did beat the bureaucracy, if not some of the more rabid family members who wanted her to live on tied to tubes. (SIGH) And my wife and I are doing well. Today I started to get ready to go into da city once more and realized I don't have to do it! Although I lived in NYC for 26 years, I really have gotten used to the slower pace of NJ and did not enjoy driving in or taking mass transit in every single day.

ndebord
March 2nd, 2006, 09:52 AM
I am sorry about your mother-in-law, but glad for all of you that she went peacefully.

I think your idea about the chocolate is wonderful.

--Lindsey

Lindsey,

We do appreciate everyone's kind words. The fact that she went peaceful is a balm to the family and as for the chocolates, I take no credit...no credit at all. That whole scenario is entirely due to Judy's obsession! I mean, I love Martine's chocolates, but hadn't had any in probably 2 or 3 years before Judy decided to make her second home in our fabulous health care system.

<g>

ndebord
March 2nd, 2006, 09:53 AM
I'm so sorry to hear that she is gone, Nick. You've had a terrible 2006 so far. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Mike,

Thanks. I don't blame the year for our troubles, but I sure could hope for some decent weather so I can get away from this neck of the woods for a little R&R. I've had it with Manhattan for a while for sure.

ndebord
March 2nd, 2006, 09:58 AM
Oh Nick... I am so sorry. No matter what the circumstances, no matter how much you expect it and even want it to happen to bring an end to the suffering, you're never really ready for this.

But you have the great comfort of knowing you did all you could to let her go out her way, and that you got her where she needed to be to go out in comfort, peace and grace.

Hugs to you and your family.

Judy,

Yes, we know what we did to ease her suffering and are so happy she took her final walk on her own terms. Still have a couple nuts to deal with who say we killed her by moving her to hospice, but a plague on both their houses. <sigh>

Today is the first day I don't have to fire up the car and drive into the City in the last 3 plus weeks. Now if only the snow will slow down, I'll not have to go out of the house at all.

In any event, I think I'm just going to go back to bed and sleep for 12 hours or so and let the world just pass me by for a bit.

Thanks so much for all your support.

ndebord
March 2nd, 2006, 09:59 AM
My sincere condolences.

-er

Earle,

Thanks, we appreciate the thought.

Judy G. Russell
March 2nd, 2006, 10:58 AM
In any event, I think I'm just going to go back to bed and sleep for 12 hours or so and let the world just pass me by for a bit.The best of all possible ideas.

Mike Landi
March 2nd, 2006, 12:39 PM
...said on a day when the snow is flying.

ndebord
March 2nd, 2006, 10:32 PM
The best of all possible ideas.


Judy,

I didn't make 12 hours, but I made a decent 9 and then a little nap, 20 minutes, as I planned. <g>

My mother-in-law, although a good Cantonese Confucian, is going to Valhalla in the land of the Golden Mountain! Kensico Cemetary, right next to her husband, Ping Kam Yeung. Her name is Mei Ying Yeung and she was a seamstress in America, but in her heart of hearts, she was still a regular on HK soaps, where she played a maid in a series of dramas in the 50s!

Judy G. Russell
March 2nd, 2006, 10:55 PM
Nine hours will do... for a start.

Now... tell me more about this HK soaps business. Was your mother-in-law really an actress? How cool is that!

earler
March 3rd, 2006, 04:51 AM
There is this poem that you might like:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!


-er

ndebord
March 3rd, 2006, 09:49 AM
Nine hours will do... for a start.

Now... tell me more about this HK soaps business. Was your mother-in-law really an actress? How cool is that!

Judy,

My mother-in-law had a 4th grade education and came from a poor family. Her best friend worked for a small film company that did HK soaps. She was a maid and they needed a maid, so she played herself. <g> Did that for 2 or 3 seasons with what we would call cameos whenever they needed a maid, or rather one of many bit characters in these mini-dramas which were shot in record-breaking time!

ndebord
March 3rd, 2006, 09:53 AM
There is this poem that you might like:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!


-er


Earle,

That is a very nice poem. I appreciate the art, being an occasional poet myself. I wrote one some years ago with a similar theme:

Is there any other end than the expected one

that comes with life's last breath?

It seems to live each day is life,

and there is no other.

For false prophets and faint hope aside,

what's cold and still is still forever

in that dank, dark hole we all wish to believe

is just the promised path to a new day.

davidh
March 3rd, 2006, 11:16 AM
Valhalla in the land of the Golden Mountain A blessing to hear that she was able to depart with some level of dignity. My condolences to your family.

The juxtaposition of the place names you posted made me a little curious. I knew for many years that San Francisco was called Cuu Kim Son in Vietnamese but didn't know (or forgot?, til I checked Google) that Kim Son referred to Golden Mountain, apparently derived from Chinese at the time of the Gold Rush. Apparently, by extension, Golden Mountain also refers to America?

[I don't know about Chinese, but in Vietnamese, America is called either "Hoa Ky", i.e. Flower Flag, or My, i.e. Beautiful, which I assume may be cognate with Chinese Mei?]

Somewhat coincidentally, last night I just finished watching the 1992 video recording of my father-in-law's funeral in Vietnam. Unfortunately my wife was unable to attend. The funeral mass started before 5 a.m. But I guess that's not unusual. My wife told me how as a child she used to walk to church in the dark with the family in the morning to recite the Rosary, etc. (I wonder if the anticipated extension of daylight savings will increase the auto accident rate much on morning commutes?)

David H.

Judy G. Russell
March 3rd, 2006, 01:08 PM
That's terrific! What a great story -- "and I played myself in the soaps!"

fhaber
March 3rd, 2006, 02:23 PM
Nick, please accept my condolences as well. And you do deserve some time in the sun, for sure, for sure. Go sun yourself.

Wayne Scott
March 3rd, 2006, 08:43 PM
Nick, I know it's part relief that she no longer is ill and part terrible sadness. I'm thinking of my sweet mother's death more than 30 years ago and my Marion 1 1/2 years ago. I miss them terribly, but in both cases the family was pleased that their ordeals were over.

If you don't mind a hug from a mean old curmudgeon, I'm sending you one right now.

Wayne

ndebord
March 3rd, 2006, 08:57 PM
Nick, I know it's part relief that she no longer is ill and part terrible sadness. I'm thinking of my sweet mother's death more than 30 years ago and my Marion 1 1/2 years ago. I miss them terribly, but in both cases the family was pleased that their ordeals were over.

If you don't mind a hug from a mean old curmudgeon, I'm sending you one right now.

Wayne

Wayne,

Yes, loss is eternal, til memory fades with our own passing. If you are close to someone, the loss can be close to unbearable. My sympathy to you for those you've lost.

I lost both my parents within 3 months of each other and the patriarch of the family 3 years before them (age 92, my grandfather and the man I looked up to and lived with every single summer from the age of 13 months until 18). As it is, I'm the next to the last one standing in my generation and the previous generation family tree. Lost my brother years ago, all the others on both sides gone now, except the tough nut (Aunt). One first cousin, but he died in 1968 on the other side of Monkey Mtn., ironically not far from where I was at the time on a sand spit across the Cau Do River.

Having said that, I have one grandson, 9 nieces and nephews and 13 grands. The family seat has moved from the midwest to Texas and religion and politics from progressive to fundamental and Republican hard core.

ndebord
March 3rd, 2006, 09:13 PM
A blessing to hear that she was able to depart with some level of dignity. My condolences to your family.

The juxtaposition of the place names you posted made me a little curious. I knew for many years that San Francisco was called Cuu Kim Son in Vietnamese but didn't know (or forgot?, til I checked Google) that Kim Son referred to Golden Mountain, apparently derived from Chinese at the time of the Gold Rush. Apparently, by extension, Golden Mountain also refers to America?

[I don't know about Chinese, but in Vietnamese, America is called either "Hoa Ky", i.e. Flower Flag, or My, i.e. Beautiful, which I assume may be cognate with Chinese Mei?]

Somewhat coincidentally, last night I just finished watching the 1992 video recording of my father-in-law's funeral in Vietnam. Unfortunately my wife was unable to attend. The funeral mass started before 5 a.m. But I guess that's not unusual. My wife told me how as a child she used to walk to church in the dark with the family in the morning to recite the Rosary, etc. (I wonder if the anticipated extension of daylight savings will increase the auto accident rate much on morning commutes?)

David H.


David,

What part of Vietnam did your wife come from? I would guess Mekong Delta, what with the Catholic religion stuff, but that ain't necessarily so of course.

I've forgotten most of the Vietnamese phrases I picked up in 1967-1968, but Hoa Ky is a very interesting variation on the Cantonese saying about the Golden Mountain which is what I was referring to. And yes, they did extend it past it origins in the gold rush in SF to include the entire country. My wife's grandfather skipped ship in NY harbor in some distant past and hid out in its Chinatown with only the opium in his shoes to support him for a while. Then he worked as a tailor until one day they had an amnesty and he was able to go legal. In the mid 60s they decided that it was ok for Chinese to bring women (gasp) to the country, among others, so he managed to bring his immediate family here (otherwise I'd have never met my wife)!

Saigon, if you've ever been there, is called the Pearl of the Orient and is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been privileged to visit (even in the midst of civil war). I landed at Tan San Nut (sp) airport in 1967 (just off the race track outside Saigon) and proceeded to be transferred over the next week and 3 stops north to Dong Ha. I made it my goal to get back to Saigon before I left country and managed after 10 months in I Corp.

davidh
March 4th, 2006, 12:53 AM
What part of Vietnam did your wife come from? I would guess Mekong Delta, what with the Catholic religion stuff, but that ain't necessarily so of course.
Actually her family became refugees twice. In 1955 they escaped from North Vietnam by raft to French boats in Gulf of Tonkin and then to HaiPhong. Then by American ship to South Vietnam. Then in 1980, part of her family, by boat to Maylasia. And from there as refugees to America. A lot of people were highly motivated to escape in that period because the young men in South Vietnam became cannon fodder for the Khmer Rouge to kill when VN went into Cambodia. The VN gov't figured they'd kill two birds with one stone, wipe out the Khmer Rouge and also young VN men (such as my brother in law) who'd become habituated to capitalist imperialism in South VN would be reduced in numbers.

I had once mentioned to her (partly because of her strong hatred of communists) that perhaps her family might have seen Lt. Tom Dooly in HaiPhong, but she would have been too young to remember. Of course, at that time I had not known that Dooly although he did a lot of good, also had some character flaws (apparently was encouraged to resign from the Navy because he had seduced the son of an admiral. Maybe not PC to mention, but probably behavior against military regs, regardless of one's politics. They couldn't afford to court martial him easily because he was a national hero and anti-communist.)

I don't know where the main concentrations of Catholics are/were in Vietnam. The Hoa Hao Buddhists were and are big in the Mekong delta. Although they are not a mainline buddhist sect (i.e. they only exist in Vietnam), they are often well respected in Vietnam for agrarian "clean living" and lack of ritualism/monasticism, etc. I really don't know if they are socially/economically comparable to any of the christian sects in the west, but it's perhaps interesting that they and the mennonites are the most persecuted religious groups in Vietnam. Perhaps because both are decentralized and independent and therefore difficult for the communists to control. Of course, the communists in Vietnam and China hate the Catholics but they are a little bit afraid to jail and kill too many catholics because there are nominally over a billion in the rest of the world. Although my wife is catholic, she respects the confucian families in vietnam more than buddhists and catholics, in general, probably because they are less superstitious and more moral. She thinks the catholics are more hypocritical than the buddhists and confucians.

The Hoa Hao actually had their own army at one time and were both anti colonial and anti communist. General Big Minh (also a buddhist) beat the Hoa Hao buddhist general and their army then disbanded. You may remember that General/President Thieu escaped with a plane load of gold to Taiwan and the gov't was turned over to Minh to perform the final surrender to the communists. In the US press Minh at the time was portrayed as a lover of peace, I think. But I guess that most Vietnamese in the south now think of him as a traitor.

However, there are of course exceptions to the rule. She said that one of her relatives was a catholic priest and was so loved by the people that even the communists respected him. They blindfolded him and took him into the jungle to give last rites to some guerilla(s) wounded in battle and then returned him to his parish.

Of course, after the communists finally took over South Vietnam the people got to see what they really were. Many of the local people in the south who had secretly fought for the communists turned against the communists after 1975 and some had to be "eliminated" by "accidents" after the "liberation" because they were not good for PR.

Apparently there were more than a couple girls from south VN who went to communist schools in North Vietnam and were raped by Uncle Ho. Supposedly he was "planting seeds" of revolution in south vietnam. The ones who complained about this behavior at the time unfortunately had to "disappear". The ones who kept their mouths shut for a few decades survived.

Bishop Francis Xavier Nguyen van Thuan of Saigon was held by the communists in jail for 13 years, 9 years in solitary. He coverted so many of his Polish guards that the communists were rather upset. (Of course the Polish soldiers were probably already nominally catholic to some extent and definitely would have known about Solidarity and Carol W. i.e. JPII.) He smuggled messages on pieces of paper out of prison to encourage the faithful and these many messages were collected into a book now in print "Road to Hope" or "Road of Hope" (Duong Hy Vong). He was released and exiled in 1988. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal and he gave one of the Lenten retreats for the Pope and others at the Vatican. He died at about age 74 in about 2002, but before then he was one of those thought to be a likely successor to JPII.

Life sure gets complicated sometimes.

David H.

ndebord
March 4th, 2006, 10:09 AM
That's terrific! What a great story -- "and I played myself in the soaps!"

Judy,

When I think of their life in HK in the 50s, I think of that Clark Cable movie all the time. Last night we were going through a box of old photos and found one of their wedding day when they were walking down the main street just afterwards. The neighborhood was called "Diamond Hill" and I've never seen it and never will as they have "redeveloped" it, but what a memory and slice of life frozen in time. My wife says it was very poor there, but because they were on a hill, it was almost like a separate village inside Kowloon.

Judy G. Russell
March 4th, 2006, 10:22 PM
I'd love to see that wedding day picture. What a treasure...

ndebord
March 5th, 2006, 11:24 PM
Actually her family became refugees twice.
l

David H.

David,


My wife is also Catholic, strictly as an accident. Her Cantonese family had no money, but they sacrified to put her into private school in Kowloon, which turned out to be be run by Nuns...so the Gods have a sense of humor. <g>

Vietnam was starcrossed. So many refugees, from so many different times. To be a refugee twice and survive is truly amazing, what with the Malay and Thai pirates active in the South China sea.

I remember that use of South Vietnamese men in Cambodia. Cannon Fodder is an apt term for them. I know a former South Vietnamese Marine who now runs a restaurant in Jersey City (great combo French-style Vietnamese Cuisine!) talking about how almost all of his unit were massacred by the NVA after the fall of Saigon. (The marines were better than anything the VC or the NVA could throw at them.)

Anyhow, for 60 days, I lived in Cholon, a chinese suburb of Saigon. After 10 months upcountry, I managed, with effort and luck to make my way back to where it all started for me, Tan San Nuit (sp) airport off the racetrack in Saigon. I made it through Tet and other stuff and got home in almost one piece. So I was one of the lucky ones. My condolences to your wife for her troubles in that troubled part of the world and my congratulations on her managing to make it to the States. Even with our current adversities, we are still the most equitable place to live on the planet imo.

davidh
March 6th, 2006, 01:52 AM
My wife is also Catholic, strictly as an accident. Her Cantonese family had no money, but they sacrified to put her into private school in Kowloon, which turned out to be be run by Nuns...so the Gods have a sense of humor. <g>

Vietnam was starcrossed. So many refugees, from so many different times. To be a refugee twice and survive is truly amazing, what with the Malay and Thai pirates active in the South China sea.

I remember that use of South Vietnamese men in Cambodia. Cannon Fodder is an apt term for them. I know a former South Vietnamese Marine who now runs a restaurant in Jersey City (great combo French-style Vietnamese Cuisine!) talking about how almost all of his unit were massacred by the NVA after the fall of Saigon. (The marines were better than anything the VC or the NVA could throw at them.)

Anyhow, for 60 days, I lived in Cholon, a chinese suburb of Saigon. After 10 months upcountry, I managed, with effort and luck to make my way back to where it all started for me, Tan San Nuit (sp) airport off the racetrack in Saigon. I made it through Tet and other stuff and got home in almost one piece. So I was one of the lucky ones. My condolences to your wife for her troubles in that troubled part of the world and my congratulations on her managing to make it to the States. Even with our current adversities, we are still the most equitable place to live on the planet imo.

My wife is rightly proud of the fact that she went to public high school in South Vietnam. They were hard to get into because of the examinations. And in those days not many girls ever graduated from high school. Private schools were less prestigious and easier to get into.

She narrowly escaped a pirate attack. Pirates chased her boat just as they were about to enter Maylasian waters and luckily the navy of Maylasia caught the pirates before they attacked her boat. I knew personally another refugee whose daughter was kidnapped by Thai pirates and they never found her.

She was impressed by the good character of the Maylasian people, even tho' life in refugee camp was hard. So I suppose there are some countries where the followers of Islam are humane and the terroristic and/or fundamentalist mafias are not running the whole show. The refugees in Thailand refugee camps endured tremendous suffering. I remember seeing photos taken of the beaches of Thailand in the UNHCR magazines back in the 80's showing the dead vietnamese people washed ashore and partly buried in the sand.

The first boat she took to escape fortunately sank at the mouth of a river. If it had not, everyone would have died at sea because the boat was way overloaded. The boat on which she did successfully escape was so crowded that some people had to sit on the laps of others. They endured one storm so terrible that the waves seemed like mountains. Fortunately even tho' she can't swim, her body likes the ocean and she was the only person who did not get seasick during the storm.

There are many vietnamese who keep paintings of refugee boats with either the Catholic Virgin Mary or Buddhist Bodhisattva Quan The Am (Kannon / Avalokiteshwara) standing over the waves of the ocean, in gratitude for having been among the lucky ones to survive these ordeals.

I think she's a heck of a lot braver than I am. Of course, I'm sure that she was worried about her younger brother and her kids (by previous marriage) dying in Cambodia too. A choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Her other brother who stayed behind had been in concentration camp (as a teen ager) for 18 months shortly after the communist take over. They sent them out into the jungles with machetes to "clear land" and he was lost in the jungle for a couple days one time.

Tan Son Nhat is the airport. I was there in 1996. Memory is foggy now, but I think I remember seeing the hardened concete "hangars" still there left over from the Americans. I remember flying home in 1965 out of there. I was still a green kid and was fortunate not to have been in real combat even tho' I was attached to an Airborne unit, but I was still sad to leave such a beautiful place. I was only in Saigon long enough (about one day in 1965) to go to a book store and buy a couple books (dictionary, grammar, and history/culture) I brought home as my only souvenirs of VN.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my wife's kids came to USA while still young and speak English with no accent, but they have very little appreciation of how terrible things were and still are in Vietnam.

David H.

ndebord
March 6th, 2006, 09:09 AM
I'd love to see that wedding day picture. What a treasure...

Judy,

I sent it on via email. Can't figure out how to do it differently and as I make the transition from dialup to T-Mobile EDGE, some of my apps work well and others not at all (yet). OE is one of those that doesn't work, but does do html. So I've used Foxmail 3.1 instead which has never failed me, but had to do a file attachemnt.

<sigh>

ndebord
March 6th, 2006, 09:12 AM
Nick, please accept my condolences as well. And you do deserve some time in the sun, for sure, for sure. Go sun yourself.

Frank,

Just saw your post. Sometimes I get them all, but often just some of them.

Great idea! Thanks. WE want to get away from NYC for a while and sunshine would be a nice change. Just another month or so to take care of stuff and then we'll go south for a week or two.

Mike
March 6th, 2006, 11:49 PM
My condolences to you and your family, Nick.

Judy G. Russell
March 7th, 2006, 12:12 AM
Got it, and it's gorgeous. What a great picture -- a snapshot in time.

ndebord
March 7th, 2006, 06:37 PM
Got it, and it's gorgeous. What a great picture -- a snapshot in time.

Judy,

Glad you got it. If you want to, you could post it here if you think others would like it. We have a box full of old photos that we are going through and I'm digitizing to burn to a CD. I have a decent scanner and printer, so think I may scan more photos and print out some, as most of the photos, like that one, are tiny snapshots in their original form.

Judy G. Russell
March 7th, 2006, 08:43 PM
I do think folks would like to see it -- and it's attached.

ndebord
March 7th, 2006, 11:48 PM
I do think folks would like to see it -- and it's attached.


Judy,

Thanks, appreciate.