Found a pic of my mom smiling today. That’s rare. She usually looks wistful, stoic, maybe a bit weary. I don’t know if that was just how she was, or whether she was ill without yet knowing it.
I know that just before she found out she had cancer, she had travelled back to China on a boat to reconnect with her parents. They had given her up for adoption because they couldn’t afford to raise her. Her dad was a lecturer or professor at a time in that country when it pretty much meant a life of poverty. My mom did not get much of an education but I’m told she was a natural academic and had been offered a teaching job even though she lacked qualifications. She had to turn it down as she was raising a family.
Her adoptive parents brought her to Malaysia when she was a young girl, and, now in her forties, she had hoped to be reunited with her natural parents. She travelled alone on that long voyage, and lugged 20kg bags of dried foods with her as gifts. I’m told her dad was overjoyed to see her, but her mom had rejected her. She came back to Malaysia, broken-hearted. Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with the cancer that ultimately killed her.
Mum was sent off to Malaysia with her uncle’s family by her mother. Later, her parents had another child, a boy.