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San Francisco, USA


40s Blues

I have a phone call with my dad this evening. We talked about some issues in handling of family properties. At the end of the conversation my father mentioned sometimes he feels he is counting days. He is in his mid-80s so it is not a complete surprise. Since my mother passed away last year my father is living alone. Actually this is something already on my mind, perhaps subconsciously. But we have seldom talked openly about it.

It started when my mother was departed after a short struggle with cancer. I feel I have lost a part of myself. I have not lived with my parents for quite some time. When I was young I want so much to get away. I moved out to the dorm when I went to college. I was so happy to have a place of my own. Later I started working and I have moved across the Pacific to San Francisco altogether. I was mostly focusing on myself, seeking a good career and to make the most of my life.

Often people don't think much of something until you lost them. Parents are always there. I can always go back to them once in a while. Well now my mom is no longer there. And many conversations between us will not happen anymore.

I have never regret coming to San Francisco. It is a fulfillment both careerwise and personally. After spending almost 1/3 of my life in this city, I come to see it as my home town even more than my birth place. Most things I have done I will not choose differently if I were given the choice again. But it is also true that by moving away I have become somewhat cut off from my family and relatives. My mother was often the bridge between myself and my relatives. Now that she was gone I become even more isolated.

My uncles and aunts are all in their 80s and 90s. They are all going to depart fairly soon. Our redemption is in the next generation. But the picture is grim. I have written about low fertility rate on a macro level. On the personal level, it means several of my cousins have well passed marrying age but have remain single. We were once children growing up together. Now it seems we won't have enough children of the next generation growing up together like we once did.

Having say that I must not complaint too much. Having Tatchee is already a great blessing for us. But if one child is good, then two must be better. But it seems the prospect of Tatchee having a sibling is diminishing. My system engineering side tells me that we should have redundancy. What if he contacted a deadly disease? What if he were hit by a car? What if Tatchee does not has a child of his own? I am looking ahead to the day when I die. Would that leave him as the end of the gene line? Who is going to burying him when Tatchee too has aged and die?

Back in my childhood in Hong Kong my mom has given me a rich network of family ties. Something I've never learned to appreciate until recently. And what do I provide to Tatchee in my turn? To think about he will inherit my social isolation, and not to mention a world of global climate change, I start to feel ashamed.

2009.12.28 [] - comments



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