English version below
As an Asian, it wasn’t easy to say the 3 words to our parents and siblings, though it is easy to say these 3 words to our lovers.
At least it wasn’t easy before I did it.
But it became easier when the first step was taken.
Eve of Chinese New Year
As I sat there smoking on the eve of Chinese New Year, I looked at mom’s petite (in fact skinny) body sitting quietly on the rattan couch.
The house was quiet and I spent my time observing mom. Her eyes were focused on the television screen which was playing an old movie that she has watched many times.
I was caught by surprise by an emotion that rushed into my heart suddenly and tears began to gather in my eyes. And I thought to myself: mom is really getting very old, and she is losing her memories bit by bit (and dad has been reminding me every now and then).
I recalled a recent incident that really made my heart ached. We have gone for a family breakfast in one of the mall and mom wanted to go to the ladies. I walked her to the ladies and went back to the restaurant. It didn’t occur to me that mom would get herself lost, as the restaurant was just about 100 metres straight up from the ladies.
She did not come back.
When I found her, I could see that she felt lost. With a walking stick in her right hand, she smiled to me and said she couldn’t find the restaurant. My heart began to ache though my face displayed nothing.
With this recollection of this incident and what dad told me during the reunion dinner, I made a plan and decided to execute it on the very first day of Chinese New Year.
A Dream Came True
“Desire what you want with all your heart because desire is a feeling of love, and you must give love to receive what you love.” — Rhonda Byrne
At the end of 2014, I had a dream.
My dream was to bring my parents out for a holiday with all of us, yes, all of us, including my siblings family. I had the dream because mom and dad have never brought us out for any overseas trip (not that I can remember) and I know they love us and our children.
I wanted them to enjoy their life for at least once, to be with their children and grand children for a good few days.
So I insisted that no matter how busy my siblings and their spouses would be, I want to make sure that we have everybody in the family to be present.
I planned and worked out a free and easy trip to Taiwan in 2015, where my siblings and I will sponsor mom and dad’s expenses. It was a good trip, the first and one and only trip (so far) that really brought the whole family together. We spent a good week doing nothing but enjoying sceneries and spending time together as one big family.
I thought I have no more regrets till last night. Then I recalled, I have one more thing that I have not done, and that is, telling mom and dad that I love them.
I have always wanted to do that, but it has never happened. It could be due to the way I was brought up, it could be that I have never been that close to them before. And I cannot recall the last time they have said that to me.
My best friend, Pik Kuan, used to encourage me (in fact, she urged and pushed me) to tell my parents that I love them. but I was too reserved. She knew that I love my parents and wanted me to live my life without regrets. She would be proud of me if I have done so.
First Day of Chinese New Year
Mom was already preparing for food for lunch when I woke up. I rehearsed myself in my mind on the promise I made to myself the night before. By the time I was ready, Charlene was having her breakfast in the kitchen where mom was. I hesitated for a moment.
Then I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to lead by example how to love our family members.
So I picked up two mandarin oranges and a red packet and walked towards mom. When she saw me with the gesture ready to wish her as part of CNY’s practice, she put down her knife and turned towards me. I gave her my wishes and blessings, and then I opened my arms, hugged her and steadily, with full of love, I said to her: “Mom, I love you.”
Then I prepared myself for my walking meditation since dad hasn’t come to my house yet.
My Wish Was Heard
As I walked in the park trying to keep my mind calm, my heart was filled with gratitude and emotions. The sky soon turned dark and raindrops began to fall from the sky and getting heavier. I saw others running for shelter or rushing back to avoid getting drenched.
I opened my arms wide, embracing the cool water droplets falling onto my face and body. And I began to pray to the sky: “My dear universe, if you can hear me, please let the rain stop, or at least maintain. Do not let the rain pour, for I wish to complete this walk. Let me enjoy this walk with my heart full of gratitude and love.”
I pressed on and strolled along the winding path. Along the way, I saw butterflies making themselves busy among the flowers. I watched how they danced gracefully in the air and stopping on a flower for a moment before they danced to the next. It was a beautiful sight.
The rain never did pour. In fact, it stopped and the sun came out. I was thankful and meditated for half an hour under the warmth of the sun before heading home.
The Second Step
It seemed to be more difficult to say “I love you” to dad, but I finally did.
When I reached home, he was already here, preparing lunch for the family. Once again, I took up the courage and motioned towards him with 2 oranges and a red packet. I gave him my wishes and blessings too, and of course not forgetting the hug that I wanted to give him long ago, and then I said to him: “Father, I love you…”
I could feel that he was surprised and happy, and I told myself at that point in time, “I have no more regrets.”
Words That Touched My Heart
I went to the movie alone, as usual. It was produced by my favourite superstar, Stephen Chow. Many people do not have a good impression of his movies, but I do. Many people have not really understood him, but I have always learned something in his movies (especially the last few years’ movies).
The title was “Journey To The West 2) and there are 4 statements that really triggered my thoughts deeply, especially when I have been practising meditation in the recent months:
When you have suffered pain, you know all the pains of sentient beings
When you have insisted, you know how to let go
When you have cared for others, you know how to move on
The greatest obstacle in this world is love…..
These statements are profound, and not easily understood or practise. But once we are able to truly understand what they mean, we begin to know what life is.
No More Regrets
“Life presents everything to you for you to choose what you love!” — Rhonda Byrne;
To make my day complete, I created a group chat “Sis&Bro” and sent this to them:
“Sis and bro, I have taken the opportunity to give red packet to mom and dad today and told them I love them for the very first time. I have also hugged them. And now I want to tell you this too: sis, I love you and bro, I love you too… and I think you should spend more tie with mom and dad, especially mom, she’s really getting old. Just be here will do.”
After a couple of minutes, brother replied: “Ok thanks for letting us know. You are right. Love both of you too. Will take note of that.”
It was a surprise to me, and it was the first time I am getting so close to my brother too.
And sister’s message came in the morning as I opened my eyes — “I love both of you too….”
I am thankful for all the events that have happened in my life, regardless whether good or bad; I am thankful for all the people who have walked into my life, regardless whether we are still in touch or not. I used to believe in “living life as if there’s no tomorrow” but now I practise living in the present moment.
It was a great first day of Chinese New Year for me, and I know that if I am to leave this world now, I have no more regrets, for I have said “I love you” to all the people I wanted to say to.
When time comes, I will say these 3 words to all my closer friends.