Sunday, October 11, 2015

Personal Note: Early Saturday Morning My Mom Passed

My mother had been hospitalized for over five weeks.  A ventilator machine aided her breathing as she laid in a semi-comatose state.  Throughout this time, the doctors used every mean to heal my mom but her health refused to improve.

In her advanced directive (living will), my mother insisted that she not be on long term life support.  So we had no choice, but to honor her wishes.

Thursday afternoon, October 8, 2015, shortly after 2:30, they gave my mom morphine to ease the pain and meds to ease her breathing, then they removed the ventilator. Her body wound down with her hand in mine and hymns playing.

Saturday morning, October 10, 2015, at 4:11am, my mother, Pao Yue Chen, went home to be with the Lord. Although she was still breathing, by Friday afternoon, she was no longer gripping my hand nor responding to my voice. Around midnight, the playlist ended with the Sevenfold Amen, the last song in the album Hymns Triumphant (London Philharmonic Choir & National Philharmonic Orchestra) and I turned off the music to let her mind rest if it wasn't already. At about 4:00am, her vitals on the monitor flat-lined at which point the first doctor came in to verify that there was no sensor error. At 4:11, the second doctor confirmed my mom's passing.

My mother's interment will be next to my dad at Meadowridge Memorial Park.  You are welcome to join us, in our celebration of my mom's life and in our rejoicing of her return home to our Lord Jesus the Christ, our God and Savior.

Visitation & viewing will be

Friday, October 16, 2015 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm and from 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Memorial service will be begin

Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 1:00pm

Meadowridge Memorial Park
7250 Washington Blvd
Elkridge, MD 21075

(north of Washington, D.C. and south of Baltimore, Maryland)


If coming down Interstate 95:

1) Take the exit for Maryland Route 100 East.

2) On MD Rt. 100, take the first exit, U.S. Highway 1 / Washington Blvd South.

3) Once on U.S. 1 / Washington Blvd South, you will see Meadowridge Memorial Park on the right (west) side of the road.

If coming down Maryland Route 295 / Baltimore-Washington Parkway:

1) Take the exit for Maryland Route 100 West.

2) On MD Rt. 100, take the exit for U.S. Highway 1 / Washington Blvd.

3) At the end of the exit ramp, turn left (south), on to U.S. Highway 1 / Washington Blvd.

3) Once on U.S. 1 / Washington Blvd South, you will see Meadowridge Memorial Park on the right (west) side of the road.

Enter Meadowridge Memorial Park via the main gate (second driveway, the driveway with brick walls).

Visitation, viewing, and memorial service will be held in the main building at the end of driveway.

Meadowridge Memorial Park

Main Gate

Praying Hands

Geese in Pond

Tree Overlooking Pond


My mom will be laid to rest next to my dad.

My mom and dad's plots is by the statue of Jesus welcoming us home with open arms.

Statue of Jesus welcoming us home with open arms

Sunday, September 20, 2015

One Thing

My mom has been hospitalized for several weeks and I've been spending all my free time at the hospital.  While there, at my mom's bedside, and she was, at the moment, soundly sleeping, I wrote the following poem.

(I don't usually write in the Jack Kerouac "On the Road" "stream of consciousness" "interior monologue" narrative mode form.  However, I wanted to capture my thoughts at that moment.  And with my left hand holding my mom's and only my right hand free to work my phone to dictate my thoughts, using the "interior monologue" narrative mode form seem to be the obvious choice.)

One Thing

Through my mom's
Hospital room window,
The city, the world, everything,
Is small and vain.

In this moment,
With my hand
In the warm grasp of hers,
As she struggles to breath
And her pulse is weak,
There is only one thing.

Unlike the numerous "one things"
That came and went,
In which we really meant
One more thing,
This "one thing",
Pressed and distilled
From and by the very stuff of life
Is life's very essence.
The only metric
By which everything meaningful
Is measured.

In this moment
Of retrospective, introspective,
And prospective clarity,
The "one thing"
That really matters
Is love,
Only love.

In this moment,
I see that "one thing"
In my mom's hands,
A history
Written with the lines of her palms
Of unrequested forgiveness given
Of unnoticed selfless acts
Of an abundance of grace dispensed.

In this moment
I see a woman
Who clearly discerns life's "one thing"
And pursues
To become
A master of that "one thing"...
A master of love.

In this moment
As my gaze returns
From the window
To my mom's hands
I recognize that "one thing"
And it renders 
The city, the world, everything
Small and vain.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Birthday Letter to My Little Girl

My little girl just turned ten and I see her teenage years come barreling around the bend like a runaway freight train: those growing pain, testing her boundaries, rebellious years.

During my time as a youth group leader, I often encountered teenage kids who were afraid to go home because they thought that they had done something so unforgivable their parents would not take them back and they would rather stay away from home than to face that painful rejection.  Not knowing how desperately their parents wanted them back despite anything they may have done, they stayed away, digging themselves into a deeper hole.

So, I wrote the following birthday letter to my little girl in advance of her teenage years.

Birthday Letter to My Little Girl

Soon, you will reach the years of your teen
When you'll test the waters in between
What is right and what is wrong.

Both the winds from the east and the west
Will fill your sail and heart with unrest
Like the call of the sirens' song.

When that that time comes, I will trust in you
To discern the markers in your field of view
And know where to point your bow.

If you take a wrong turn on a dare
And a squall catches you unaware,
Remember what I tell you now.

Despite anything you do or say,
Egregious offense along the way,
There'll never be a time when it's too late.

Come home, no trouble can be outrun.
Like the father of the prodigal son,
For you, I shall daily wait at the gate.

Always, I will be your harbor of grace.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Triump of My Day

Fridays, after I pick her up from school, is the time that I reserved just for my little girl. It's the best part of my week.

The Triump of My Day

Tired and empty,
I may be,
from the day's fight
to keep the world at bay,

And no decisive
with which I have
to earn a hero's pay,

But heaven's grace
binds to me;
of which I don't
deserve in any way,

My little girl's joy,
when she sees me,
that sunshine is
the triumph of my day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dream House

Before Amanda so unexpectedly passed, we were planning our future. I wrote the following for her but didn't get a chance to give it to her.

Dream House

I dream of a house where we can live
Where we can fall in love again;
Where there's no mistake we can't forgive
Where time has erased all our pain.

I dream of a house where we can live
With no fear of an encroaching past;
Where our hopes are once again naive,
Where good times won't slip by so fast.

We'd be brave enough to take a chance;
And be, forever, man and wife.
In this house, our little girl would dance;
And we'd remember the meaning of life.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Eve With My Mom

For the last several months, my mom has become more and more weak. As I sit by my mom's bed this New Year’s Eve, unlike everyone else, I was not looking forward to the new year. Instead, I was remembering the past with my mom. When my mom fell asleep I wrote the following.

Mom, I Love You

If I can have back all those years,
More often would I tell you, "I love you."
Erase your heartaches and dry your tears,
Find more joy in the days we knew.

If I can have back all those years,
I'd not squander the love you gave
Thirst for your wisdom with my ears
Find sweet the moments that you saved.

If I can have back all those years,
I'd thank you for each sacrifice made
For your faith when our fortune veers
For when I wouldn't believe and you prayed.

If I can have back all those years,
More often would I tell you, "I love you."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Running Wild

The last time I saw Lori and her little daughter Grace, I took them down to Baltimore's inner harbor. Grace had a ball. Everything down there fascinated her and she ran after everything that caught her sight. I started to write this piece about Grace, but as usually it turned into a retrospective of my own life.

Running Wild

Hey, child, running towards tomorrow,
Looking back, are you being followed?
Mamma tend to worry about that boy.

Hey, child, somebody's calling you.
Running on, who are you listening to?
Hope you don't loose yourself on the way.

Walking up right on your own,
Within the year you were born,
Strong willed child, running wild.

Hey, child, looking for who you are,
Working hard, will you be a shining star?
Gonna have to catch your breath some day.

Hey, child, Jesus is calling you.
Turning back, who will you listen to?
Will you find your way back home?

Strong willed child, running wild.