Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Week 13

Week thirteen was a down and up week because of my birthday and my coming  holiday in Taiwan with my brother David and his wife. On Monday I had cold feet handing the application for her internment at Lok Fu because deep in my heart I want her urn at home, which was partly her request.

The next day was my birthday, maybe that was why I could not sleep past 1 am. My emotions in the morning was rising but not raging. Many coworkers asked me why I wore black and I answered there is no joy despite my birthday. At night I had dinner with a USA churchgoer and bought Doris her favorite lilies. 

On Wednesday I had a short work breakfast with a missions group. At least I could recover after crying gently the night before I went to sleep at midnight. I also had to explain to others that the song I had uploaded to them the night before was a young twenty year old Doris singing, so I was not the backup male voice.

On Thursday I took my flight to Taiwan for a vacation with my brother before CCCOWE. Unfortunately the four and half hours turbulent flight from Malaysia and the direct mountain trip after disembarking was too much for my sister in-law, so she threw up and her body trembled, which made me think of Doris' suffering and pain.

On Friday my brother said to me, You look better with long hair. Next time do not cut it. Her wife and our Taiwan host supported me. I have been praying for their salvation.

On Saturday my sister in law still had not stop from vomiting for the third day. We rested at a convenience store for more than an hour, in Nantou but decided to risk the three hour trip to Taipei even when she was still sick. Praise God she survived the travel, sleeping throughout the trip. At night we had a decent Old Szechuan hot spot. 

On Sunday I took my brother and his wife to a famous Baptist Church but the sound system spoiled everything. At night we had dinner with Taiwan members back on holiday at the same time with us and a former Taiwan member from Hong Kong. Later we went to the night market but my gums were acting up again. My brother then gave my headache a good massage and miraculously it went away!

Pray for me as I hope to finish up my book titled Grammar Bible. Pray that my headache from gum inflammation to stay away because I do not want to see a local doctor. Pray I get a good retreat, a blessed fellowship and stirring message.

Aug 23, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Week 12

Week twelve was stable but for the weekend. On Monday morning I went to the Kowloon HK revival meeting, which was a helpful tonic to me because I try to go to the venue itself instead of the broadcast locations. I also met a lot of old friends who knew of my loss. After that I have lunch and dessert with two separate friends. 

On Tuesday I gave Doris' blog address to a stranger who was crying over the phone at a cafeteria to a friend talking about cancer that hit home, but then she said to me, “Thanks, but it's my dog!”

On Wednesday I helped a coworker brush up on his Putonghua, but it took lots of effort to learn how to pronounce Q, Z, X words. I find I have more patience, compassion and understanding than before, trying to learn from my wife.

On Thursday a coworker asked if I could speak to their fellowship next month to kick off their study of our book Fellow Disciples同作門徒. Pray that the book will catch fire. It was after all Doris last book, but I do have stock of her writings.

On Friday God answered my prayer for a Saturday night sermon in October in a wondrous way. I had no heart in me to preach on Jesus’ temptation from Matt 4 that I had started. I had too much going to bother about kingdom, power and glory issues. After searching for the subject of the greatest prayers in the Bible, the related passage of Psalms 91 popped up, so I reverted instead to Luke 4 where protection of God is the climax unlike Matt 4. My struggle with Doris death can be addressed!

On Saturday I had a dream of Doris where she was anxious about taking medication and we talked about returning to University. It was just a few scenes. I also had a good time with Putonghua fellowship on the first chapter of Fellow Disciples

On Sunday I was ok but the last song changed everything. I cried louder than previous month. Like my godly wife I persevered to attend church monthly prayer meeting. At night I celebrated my birthday with the same group from last year, eating at the same restaurant, buying the same mango cake and wearing the same shirt. Linkage with past comforts grieving folks.

Pray for my trip to Taiwan on Thursday. I need to hear from God, feel His presence and have spiritual intake. Also I need a break and to connect with my brother and his wife who are joining me. Best of all, if we can attend church together.

Aug 16

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 11

Week eleven was not an intended piece but things happen that was worth journaling, at the foremost was a dream. On Monday a  USA friend and another putonghua friend wanted to have seafood with me , but rain was in the way midway due an impeding strom, so we ate oysters in a mall.

On Tuesday the level 8  typhoon touched down trapped all at home until it was lifted at 1245pm, so I had to return for 3pm meeting. A song touched me in our prayer meeting. I could not pray and another cried with me. The alarmed pastor invited me to dinner.

Wednesday I woke up to a vivid dream of Doris sitting by our enclosed balcony window sitting in an upright position on our mattress with her back against the wall and her feet halfway raised to her chest. She looked scared as she retreated to the corner to pray. I related the dream to some coworkers. It was a warm dream and the real Doris I know. Each time she appears I gladly feel her again. There is no fear or fuss in love.

On Thursday I received a morning text from Doris' close friend telling me how much Doris was a blessing, a sister and a help to her when the friend was hospitalized, going to see the friend in need even when Doris was not well. Tears rolled down my eyes when I pictured the scene.

On Friday I had to work twice as hard as my Ecclesiastes 5 sermon was two days away. By 6pm I had finished the three points but was still short one illustration. At night I joined Couples Fellowship for the live broadcast of Revival Meeting.

On Saturday the illustration came to me, using Doris' final message to Couples prestudy group months ago:  "I still need you to be on watch (for me), as the passage reminds us today. I have previously shared with others to share, I'm very scared that in sickness and pain I would blame God, because sometimes you don’t think you would, but how would you actually respond? So this passage reminds us not to be like Peter to face it alone, it’s best with prayer and support from brothers and sisters, not only directed to me, but also for fellowship brothers and sisters to establish a watch group for all. My situation is that my pain has really increased. Because sometimes you know pain can diminish a person's will, make the person go downhill, but I will continue to rely on the Lord. Victor and I are daily praying, to commit ourselves to God s. No matter God's plan, I have to believe that God's plan is good. Thus, on the one hand I am positively readying myself to face God; but I still believe God can heal us, because the two is, like I shared with a friend yesterday, like a paradox, but I really think you need both, because God can always heal us even in a delay, because we remember in Lazarus story there to be a delay. But no matter what we must believe that the Lord can resurrect you, either in this life, or in the future, so we often pray in this manner, that is to be ready in both moods. I am happy I can be here today. If my mind is up to it, I will do my best to come to monitor you so you won’t be long-winded. (Sept 5, 2016)

On Sunday all's well that ends well. Ecclesiastes 5 was just about right. I gave the benediction the normal way after ten shaky ones. At night I accepted a dinner invitation from my neighbor for the first time in ten weeks. I also decided to preach on Jesus temptation in the wilderness after rejecting it as meaningless when Doris passed away, but then I read an article saying the related passage of Psalm 91 is one of ten great prayers in the Bible, so I reinstated it.

Praise the Lord for His goodness and guidance in grief and grievances!

Aug 9, 2016

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Week 10

Week ten ends with our wedding anniversary, the perfect day to end my journal. It coincides with the completion of the first English draft of Doris study questions in our book and reading the final chapter of a book In Doris' collection. The archives are on my blog http://etransplant.blogspot.com. 
I might share her devotions later. 

On Monday morning I finally completed the first draft translating Doris Bible study questions from Fellow Disciples 同作門徒, a task she had begun up to chapter eight, one third through the book. It was important to me to print it in as many languages because we both believed in discipleship, the book and multiplying resources. At noon I went in Doris' place to join her childhood schoolmates for monthly lunch. Doris was most comfortable with them, always remembering them as the kids they were. She would either try to join them for lunch before leaving for Macau or return on the day of lunch. After that I made my half hour speaking debut at the book fair to introduce our book 同作門徒. It was quite a big deal when I realized later we were the only invited book author featured by our publishers. At night I had dinner at a co-worker's place.

Tuesday was a busy day in a busy week as I began putting together Psalm 102 A Prayer of the Afflicted. I managed to wrap up two points on a sermon I began months ago. At night I was thrown off by a remark the local supermarket cashier said, "Haven't seen your wife for a long time." Recovering my composure I replied, "My wife passed away more than two months ago." She continued, "I saw she was getting better." The tears welled up to my eyeballs but held off from dropping. When I reached home, I told Doris, "I'm sorry I could not do better."

On Wednesday morning I was emotional thinking of a memorial to the "rest area" dream Doris had when she passed without fear through a long dark tunnel to find a rest area on the other side. I started translating my Sunday sermon to Chinese before my noon meeting. Work really can occupy one's mind.

On Thursday I met a USA friend for lunch before I put in more time on the sermon, thinking I could work from home next day, but I got a call to come in for work lunch the next day. I was happy this week for the third night in a row I got to do my 45 minutes prayer walk in contrast to one night last week.

On Friday I finished up my sermon by noon, and I was happy as a lark. This week I confessed to a coworker that I realized I am lost too. It happened when I realized I could not think of what to preach in October in place of the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4 that I had planned to do but it was no longer meaningful to me. No wonder "loss" is close to "lost."

On Saturday, the Eve of our anniversary, the tears kept coming. It began when the Taiwan host who offered lodging to me and two other workers on Aug 22-26 asked if I need lodging before conference since I will be there five days earlier for a needed holiday. When I said my brother will be joining me and so I have booked a hotel, the answer sounded I was so alone to have need for my brother with me. I texted coworkers in my chat group and four cheered me up. After a drink I went to cut my hair for tomorrow's anniversary. I asked the barber, What mm can I cut to without going bald? He answered, 3, 6, 9, 12 . I chose 3. It was so short I could feel a breeze on my head, even two Putonghua fellowship members jumped on their feet and opened their arms to embrace their pastor. At night the tears returned to remind me it's not over.

On Sunday I finished reading the last chapter of Living Beyond Loss (Walsh), the most helpful book for me to understand more about death, loss, separation, religiosity, blame, shame and guilt. At noon I finally delivered my sermon with some tears, not overdone, which I am thankful. I prepared for the big day by asking our friend Dr Kwan, who previously took Doris and I for bird-watching, to take me bird-watching. Doris liked it so much she bought a pair of binoculars. Along with good friend Hartman we went to Tat Mun 塔門 to watch terns and later at Sai Kung to watch eagles near the pier and had dinner there. Thankful for friends. I had no time to pine that night.

Pray for my coming sermon on Ecclesiastes 5 this Sunday. The hardest chapters from one to four is over, but I have time constraints. A series like this is better so I do not have to rack my brain thinking what's next.

So ends ten weeks, no longer than Israel's mourning for Jacob (Gen 50:3). The death of a spouse is the biggest stressor in life, 100 points according to experts, more than divorce (73 points), jail or death of a close family member (both 63 points) and personal injury or illness (53 points).

It's not that I am ready to move on. I often tell others my hair cut only means I am changed (passive voice), not I have changed. I will never be the same. There is more to go and grow, by faith. It is a process I got to process. I have started memorizing a Psalm verse from anniversary day on. It is a good way to focus, not forget. After ten weeks I can work like normal, but that's not what I want. The best is to pray, like my dear wife always said. Also, pray for my bearing, landing and footing in this experience.

Below are seven new songs from Doris:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXFIJrIVtseVk5yKxmdgTzg

Truly, blessed are those who mourn!

Victor葉福成 Aug 2, 2016

第十個禮拜以我們的結婚週年作為終結,是這篇日誌告一段落的完美日子。很凑巧,我完成了我們書中的查經問題的英文版第一稿,也正好看完 Doris 藏書其中一本的最後一章。日誌存檔在我的博客上 http://etransplant.blogspot.hk
稍後我可能會分享她的靈修。

禮拜一早上,我終於完成了翻譯 Doris 的「同作門徒」查經問題的第一稿,這是她早前已經開始的一項工作,已經翻譯到第八章,是整本書的三分之一。對我來說,將這書翻譯成更多的語言非常重要,因為我們兩人都堅信門徒訓練、這本書以及資源倍增。中午,我去參加了 Doris 童年的校友每月一次的午餐聚會,Doris 和她們在一起的時候最自然,還一直記得她們都是兒童時的情景。以前她總是盡量去澳門之前,或者午餐那天回港參加。之後,我為介紹新書「同作門徒」的面世,在書展演講了半個小時,原來這是蠻大的一件事,後來我才知道,我是唯一被出版商從外邀請做新書介紹的作者。晚上我在一位同事家吃飯。

禮拜二,忙碌的一周中忙碌的一天,因為我要開始把詩篇102(困苦人的禱告)資料集中起來,基於我數月前開始準備的一篇講道內容,我總結出兩大點。晚上,我被家附近超級市場一位收銀員的話打亂了,「很久沒有見到你太太了。」 冷靜下來之後,我回答她:「我太太已經去世兩個多月了。」她繼續說:「 我看她好像慢慢好轉了。」眼淚充滿了我的眼睛,但沒有掉下來。回到家的時候,我告訴 Doris :「對不起,我沒能做得更好。」

禮拜三早上,當我想到 Doris 曾經做過的一個「休息處」的夢, 情緒開始起伏。在夢裡,她無懼地走過一條又黑又長的隧道,成功在隧道的另一端找到一個可以休息的地方 (rest area)。中午開會前,我開始將禮拜天的講章翻譯成中文。工作實在可以大大佔據一個人的精神。

禮拜四,我和一個美國來的朋友一起吃午飯,然後再準備講章,打算第二天可以在家工作,可是接到一個電話,通知我第二天回來有工作午餐。我很開心,這個禮拜連續三晚有45分鐘的禱告散步,對比上週只有一晚。

禮拜五中午,我完成了講道的準備工作,開心得像一隻小鳥。這個禮拜我向一位同工坦白承認,我覺得自己也迷失了 。當我意識到自己不知道十月講道要講什麼,去代替馬太福音第四章中有關耶穌受試探,本來我打算這樣做,但現在對我來說,那章信息不再有意義。難怪「損失 loss」 和「迷失lost」兩字是那麼接近。

禮拜六,我們結婚週年的前夕,我的眼淚繼續不斷地流。台灣那邊8月22-26日華福大會期間提供住宿給我和另外兩個同工的主辦者, 知道我會提早五天到台灣,問我會議之前需不需要住宿安排。當我告訴他們,我的哥哥會和我一起度假,所以我已經訂了酒店,這回答聽起來我極度孤獨,所以需要哥哥陪伴我。我發短信給同事的群組,有四位同事回覆了,想讓我打氣。喝了杯東西之後,我為明天的結婚週年去理髮。我問理髮師,除了剃光頭,我可以有什麼長度mm選擇。他回答3mm,6mm,9mm,12mm。我選了3。非常短,以至於我感到一陣風在頭上,甚至兩個普通話團友驚訝得跳起來,來擁抱他們的牧師。到了晚上,眼淚再一次提醒我,哀傷還沒有過去。

禮拜天,我看完了 Living Beyond Loss (Walsh) 的最後一章,這是一本對我極有幫助的書,令我更了解死亡、失去、分離、宗教、怪責、羞恥和內疚。中午,我最終在講道的時候掉了眼淚,但算不過分,我很感恩。為了準備這個大日子, 我請我們的朋友關醫生帶我去觀鳥,以前他曾經帶過 Doris 和我去觀鳥。 Doris 非常喜歡,還買了一副望遠鏡。加上好朋友 Hartman 一起,我們去了塔門看燕鷗,再去西貢碼頭附近看鷹,然後在那裡吃晚飯。感激朋友們,那天晚上我沒有時間去懷念。

請為我這個禮拜天講道「傳道書」第五章禱告。最難的第一章到第四章已經過了,但現在我有時間方面的限制,這種系列性的講道還好一點,我不必絞盡腦汁思想下一篇要講什麼。也請為我經歷的方向,途徑和落腳起到。

十個禮拜結束了,沒有以色列為雅各哀哭的時間長,「薰屍的常例是四十天;那四十天滿了,埃及人為他哀哭了七十天。」(創50:3)。配偶離世是人生中最大的壓力來源,根據專家,有100分,比離婚(73分),坐牢或者近親離世(63分),身體受傷或疾病(53分)都要大。

這不是說,我已經準備好繼續前進了。我告訴別人,剪短髮只是代表我被改變了(被動式),不代表我已經改變了,我將永遠不再一樣了。憑著信心,還將有更多的經歷和成長,這是我必須分析(process)的過程 (process)。從結婚紀念日起,我開始每天背一段詩篇, 這是一個很好的方法去集中精神,而不是去忘記事情。十個禮拜之後,我可以如常工作,可是那並非我所想要的。 「禱告才是最好的」, 正如我親愛的妻子時常說的。

以下有七首Doris分享的詩歌:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXFIJrIVtseVk5yKxmdgTzg

的確,哀慟的人有福了!

Victor葉福成 Aug 2, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Week 9

Week nine was marked by a stable turnaround and a shock tumble. A turnaround because I could focus on mornings and afternoons. I had no choice because work and talk were piling up. On Monday day off I had to return to office to finalize my night talk for Monday night couples fellowship. Doris and I did a talk for them last year and doing it alone brought memories and tears.

On Tuesday night a former Macau student came to pick up books from Doris collection to be given to former students for resources. Like Doris before, I prepared dinner for the student before sending him on the way after dinner that was served after 8pm. It was day one of meeting Doris' students or friends this week.

Wednesday morning was a disaster because I met an overseas-bound former coworker on a bus. The emotions could not be bottled up again. Now I found the fourth trigger besides familiar faces, religious services and public holidays- saying goodbye. Now I understand why children feel abandoned and vulnerable with divorce and death in the family. It was day two of meeting old friends as I took Doris' former USA Sunday school student on a mission trip to Hong Kong for dinner

On Thursday night I had dinner with Doris‘ sisters after a three weeks absence since eldest sister left. I suspect eldest sister made the dinner possible after understanding how sad I was last week. Thursday was a good day because I finally completed my travel arrangements for my mid-August Taiwan trip. Doris dearly wanted me to attend the CCCOWE conference there. My brother will join me a few days earlier for a needed holiday. On a happy note, my Putonghua colleagues will join me at the Conference. One of the four regular questions I faced recently was, "Are you taking a holiday?" (Others include Are you going to change ministry, Are you moving out of your house, and Are you returning to USA? ) It was also day one of three meetings with Doris’ students, childhood and college friends.

Friday I attended Couples Fellowship that Doris had led in Bible study that resulted in the book Fellow Disciples. I was roped into the praise team upon arrival and barely survived the lyrics of one song. It was good facing old friends, especially with my high crowd discomfort level nowadays. 

On Saturday, the occasion of Doris' second month of departure, my inflamed gums woke me up at 3 am. I immediately empathized with the pain, suffering and discomfort Doris felt since last year. I went to the doctor and got antibiotics that worked instantly. For lunch, it was day three joining this time Doris' Kingston friends. At night I boiled some barley with herbs that a friend on the way to a Chinese doctor bought for me.

Sunday was an unexpected meltdown when the last hymn was played:“ I know my Redeemer lives and on that latter day He will stand on the earth." I could not stop weeping thinking of the day to come. Nevertheless I helped the Putonghua fellowship pre-study to lead the first two chapters of the book. Now I am more experienced and can offer kickoff and lead two opening studies for other interested groups. After the study the feelings did not disappear, so I went up our local hilltop and then to the old pier to watch the sun set. When the last glimpse of the sun disappears I muttered, "No, don't go." It was another thing I could not let go. I really missed my baby.

Please pray for my coming Sunday noontime sermon. It will be an emotional one because I picked Psalm 102 Prayer of the Afflicted many months before. After that some friends will take me bird-watching to remember Doris on a sentimental date.

Here is a Doris favorite, Embrace the Cross
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=kq8JW_7ZKos

Victor 葉福成 Jul 26

第九個禮拜可分為由穩步好轉到一個震驚。好轉是因為我可以在上下午都比較集中精神,我沒有其他選擇 - 工作和講座 漸漸堆積如山。禮拜一放假的日子,我需要回去工作,完成晚上的夫婦團契的講座。 Doris 和我去年曾為他們舉辦過一個講座,現在由我一個人來講,勾起不少回憶和眼淚。

禮拜二晚上,Doris 在澳門的一位學生過來拿書,帶回去給以前的學生們作為參考資源。正如以前 Doris 一樣,我為那位學生準備了晚餐,我們8點之後開始吃飯,之後送他離開。這個禮拜這是第一次見到 Doris 的學生或朋友。

禮拜三早上對我來說是個大禍 - 我在公車上遇見一位往國外的舊同工。情緒無法壓抑, 再次爆發了出來。除了熟悉的面孔、宗教儀式和節假日,我發現了第四個觸發情緒的因素, 那就是道別。現在我明白,為什麼當父母離異或者親人去世的時候,孩子們會覺得被遺棄,以及感到脆弱,容易受傷害。同一星期第二次遇見老朋友,Doris 以前在美國的主日學學生來香港短宣,我帶她去吃晚飯。

星期四晚上我和 Doris 的姐姐們一起吃晚飯,我們已經三個禮拜自從大姐回美國後沒有見面。我猜這是大姐安排的飯聚, 因為她知道上個禮拜我非常難過。禮拜四是不錯的一天,我終於完成了八月中台灣之行的安排。 Doris 希望我能參加在那裡所舉行的華福大會。我哥哥在會議之前會去台灣陪我幾天,我實在需要放一個假。令人開心的是,我的普通話同工們會和我一起參加會議。最近我經常面對四個問題, 其中一個是:「你會放假嗎?這一星期內分我別三次遇見Doris的學生、兒時朋友以及大學朋友。(其他三個問題包括,你會否做其他事工?你會否搬家?你會否回美國?)

禮拜五我參加了五伉夫婦團契的大組,Doris 曾經帶領他們查經,結果寫下了「同作門徒」這本書。一到團契我便被邀請參加敬拜隊。見到老朋友們真好,特別是如今我有高度的「人群不適」的感覺。

禮拜六,Doris 離開兩個月之際, 凌晨三點,牙齦發炎把我痛醒。我立即覺得與 Doris 自去年起所受的疼痛、苦楚和不適感同身受。我去看了醫生,吃了些抗生素,馬上見效。午餐和 Doris Kingston 的朋友們一起吃,是這禮拜第三次見到 Doris 的朋友。晚上我㷛了薏米和一些中藥喝,是一位朋友去看中醫的時候買給我的。

禮拜天崇拜, 當唱到最後一首詩歌時,我毫無預料地崩潰了: 「我知道我的救贖主活著,當號角響起的那一天,我將見祂榮光之面」,想著那一天的到來,我無法停止哭泣。我比一個月前並沒有好轉,但我還是幫助普通話團契準備預查「同作門徒」的第一、第二章。現在我多了經驗,包括星期六晚的同作門徒介紹,可以做開場白,並且帶領其他有興趣的大組介紹和小組頭兩章的查經。預查之後, 感覺還是沒有消失,於是我走去家附近的山頂,然後再走去舊碼頭看日落,當太陽的最後的一瞥消失的時候,我輕聲說:「不要,不要走。」這是另一件我無法放手的經驗。我真好想念我寶貝。

請為我這個禮拜天午堂的講道禱告,那將會是情緒化的一篇道,多個月之前我選了詩篇102篇(困苦人發昏的時候,在耶和華面前吐露苦情的禱告。)講完道之後,有朋友會帶我去觀鳥,在這傷感的日子紀念 Doris。

以下是Doris一首喜歡的歌 Embrace the Cross https://youtu.be/kq8JW_7ZKos

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Week 8

Week eight is a continual recovery, but don't think complete recovery. On Monday I went with two brothers for a buffet but it was flat. I felt bad neither I nor the company with me could  enjoy the same place Doris and I so enjoyed previously in taking all her sisters to lunch. But it was not a lost day. I took from Doris' work collection an interesting book to read before lunch, titled Living Beyond Loss (Walsh, McGoldrick). It is an academic book that gave me the right kind of professional insight into grief. It advocates family acknowledgment of death and sharing the grief experience.

On Tuesday I was emotional seeing an old coworker that Doris and I had visited. We had been  to their home to see the family - spouse and child. The constant source of tears so far are familiar faces, religious services and festive holidays.

Wednesday was a breakthrough for me. I dreamed of Doris who separated from a group of us while we were walking and went to a bookstore by herself, later vigorously defended her independent actions. It was Doris as I know her, passionate, vivid and real. I was thankful to God for the memories and realized that they will always be a part of  me, livelier or less. Well-wishers hope I could move on, but I would rather slow down. 

Thursday did not start off well. Doris' sister from USA texted me in the morning, "How are you these days , have been thinking of you.
At least you are better in the morning now. Our seniors fellowship prayed for you this morning. Anniversary date is around the corner, it will be hard on you." I felt sad the moment I read the word "anniversary" and tears gushed from my eyes.  It was nevertheles a relaxing day because it was a half-day work day. At night I went to the wake of the mother of one of Doris childhood friends. Doris would have wanted me to go as the friend had contracted cancer herself and could not attend  Doris memorial service for fear of the crowd. I was glad I made the effort.

Friday was a day without tears, my first of late in memory. I could not afford it as I had to preach Sunday on Ecclesiastes 4 and do a big group talk Monday, and two more by end of the month, of which three of four are new materials.

On Saturday all was well until a brother shared the helplessness of being hospitalized for three days lately . It set off sad memories of Doris' worse days of hospitalization.

Sunday was a good day with a minor hiccup at the pulpit. At night I was invited to hear some Broadway songs, but songs from Lloyd-Webber's Think of Me and Love Changes Everything did the job on me, especially the last line, There will never be a day
when I won't think of you.

Finally, I am thankful that I am slowly coming to terms with grieving, which is usually six months to two years. God has always been faithful even though thanksgiving, trust and tears are inseparable presently. 

Please pray for me as I have lost one pound each for the last two months. I am worried because I am down to 153 lbs, underweight for my height. Pray also for a good spot at Lok Fu to open up for the urn internment.  Finally pray for my four younger friends who lost their wives to cancer the last year- Xiaohu, Walter, Ivan, Charles. I perfectly understand the nightmare they had gone through. May they turn to God form salvation and healing.

Here is Doris' second favorite song from student days, Lord of the Universe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3fiyQ1tVb0

Victor葉福成

第八個禮拜我繼續在康復,但還沒有完全康復。

禮拜一
我和兩位弟兄去吃自助餐,但感覺乏味。我覺得不好受,因為不管是我自己或是陪伴我的人都不怎麼享受,同樣是這個地方,Doris和我曾經帶她所有的姐姐們一起來吃午餐,而我們是那麼的享受。但那天不算是失落的一天,午餐之前,我閱讀了從 Doris的工作書籍中找出來的很有意思的一本書,Living Beyond Loss (Walsh, McGoldrick)。這本學術性的書給了我正確專業的對於哀傷的洞察,書中提倡家庭成員承認死亡,並一起分享哀傷的經歷。

禮拜二,當我見到一位 Doris和我一起探訪過的舊同事,我的情緒又開始起伏。我們曾經去過他們的家,去探訪這對夫婦和孩子。我發現自己眼淚的源頭有:熟悉的面孔、宗教儀式以及節假日。

禮拜三對於我來說是個突破。我夢見 Doris跟我和一羣人走路的時候,離開我們的人羣,獨自去了一家書店,之後激烈地為自己的選擇或行動辯護。這就是我所認識的 Doris:熱情、生動、真實。我為這些記憶感謝神,不管生動與否,它們將永遠是我的一部分。好心人希望我能夠繼續往前進,但我寧願慢慢來。

禮拜四
這一天的開頭不是太好。早上Doris的姐姐從美國發短信給我:「最近怎麼樣?我們都記掛著你,至少你現在早上感覺好點了。我們長者團契今早為你禱告 - 週年紀念日就快到了,知道你會不容易過。」 當我看到「週年紀念日」幾個字的時候,感覺很傷心,眼淚立即湧了出來。不過那天還算是輕鬆的一天,因為只工作半天。晚上我去了Doris 兒時朋友媽媽的守夜,Doris 會希望我去,那位朋友得了癌症,因為害怕人多,所以沒能參加 Doris的安息禮。我很高興自己盡了努力去了守夜。

禮拜五一整天都沒有流淚,記憶所及是我近來的第一次。我也有時間限制,因為禮拜天我要講道「傳道書」第四章,下禮拜一有個大組的講座,月底還有另外兩個講座,四次中有三次是全新的講章。

禮拜六一切都好,直到一位弟兄分享他最近住院三天的無助感,揭開了我心中有關  Doris 情況轉壞時住院的痛苦回憶。

禮拜天是很好的一天,除了在講台上有一點小傷感。晚上我應邀去聽百老匯音樂會,Lloyd-Webber 寫的歌 “Think of Me” 和 “Love Changes Everything” 令我大有感觸,特別是最後一句 “There will never be a day when I won't think of you” (我沒有一天不想起你).

感恩,我終於慢慢接受了哀傷 - 通常是六個月到兩年的時間。神是永久信實的,雖然在目前我的情況裏,感恩、信任和眼淚還未能分開。

請為我禱告:過去兩個月,我瘦了兩磅。我有些擔心,現在我只有153磅,以我的高度來說太輕了。也為在樂富(華人基督教墳場)有一個好的骨庫位置禱告。最後,請為我四位較年輕的朋友禱告,他們去年先後失去了太太,都是因為癌症 -  Xiaohu, Walter, Ivan, Charles。我完全理解他們所經歷過的噩夢,盼望他們轉向神,得到拯救和醫治。

這是Doris學生時代第二首喜愛的詩歌
 “Lord of the Universe”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3fiyQ1tVb0

Victor 葉福成 Jul 19

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Week 7

Week seven was a modest turnaround for me. Like I once said, God has His timetable. For the last few weeks I had finished revisiting places I have been to with Doris. On Monday I completed putting together from the night before a series of more than 15 marketplace Bible studies from the Old Testament to the Gospel that Doris had prepared for the Putonghua marketplace ministry since last year. It should be ready for publication next year. Digging through my emails, I was so shock to discover her last completed study was a day before she left us. She is such a dutiful wife, faithful minister and a virtuous woman. It made me more appreciative of her perseverance and will in pain and weakness.

The turnaround began on Tuesday when I spontaneously offered to pray for lunch with a bunch of coworkers. I was fully immersed in morning study, as two sermons were due in the month. As I explained it, "I may as well do it since I feel like it. I am OK this morning." I spoke too soon because by noon I was down again after doing reflection on the Lord's Supper during coworkers prayer meeting. Suffering and death are hard subjects, so I left. At night I watched by accident how the leading actress of the 830pm TVB series second episode of 完美叛侶 grieved her mother's death, especially taking the urn home. I concluded there is no good way to go around it.

The next morning I felt OK enough to reveal to the oldest man in my exercise circle that my wife had passed away. He answered politely, "I know, restrain grief, accept change 節哀順變," the favorite Chinese form of condolence. Like many, it was the only thing he knew how to say, it's trite but I understand. Afternoon was fair, not good.

I had a Thursday morning appointment with a grief group facilitator from one of the two English speaking churches that run a grief group yearly. There is none in Chinese and I was hoping to recommend it to my church. A series on grief for Sunday school crossed my mind, too.

Three fair mornings were interrupted by a teary one on Friday when I took another look at the dried flowers on my desk returned to me this week. Strangely, Doris had previously requested for the flowers to be preserved. I took it home and placed it by her urn. I am still waiting for her remains to be interned this month.

Not only were joint prayers hard, some songs strike a chord, too. On Saturday we sang a salvation song titled Going Home 回家, but the title took a different meaning for me. I had also read a second book on grieving. I understand more the process, the humanness and the complexity of grieving.

I got through Sunday worship but was not prepared for visitors. I gave  a group my new book and Doris blog book, and the tears flowed again. At church monthly prayer meeting, which Doris attended with her health permitting, I had to stop a few times in prayer. A n unexpected friend prayed with me. This week I discovered that some aspects of religious services are more powerful than reading a book or watching a movie.

Here is Doris' singing 我的心 你要稱頌耶和華
https://youtu.be/th2MkX1WA-I

Victor 葉福成 July 12

第七個禮拜是我稍微好轉的時間,正如我之前所說:神有祂的時間表。在過去幾個禮拜中,我舊地重遊了與 Doris 曾經一起去過的地方。禮拜一,我完成了之前一晚整理出來,從舊約到新約福音書,超過15篇的職場查經系列, 是Doris 從去年開始為普通話職場事工所準備的,應該明年可以準備好出版了。當從我的電郵中挖掘資料的時候,我非常震驚地發現,她最後完成的一份查經資料竟然是在她離世的前一天!她真是一位盡職的妻子、忠心的僕人、才德的婦人!這令我更加欣賞她的毅力以及在經歷痛苦和軟弱中表現出的意志力。

禮拜二開始有所好轉, 是當我和一群同工一起午餐的時候,我自發地為午餐禱告。我完全集中在早上預備講章 - 這個月有兩篇講道到期。我解釋說:「 我不妨去禱告,因為我覺得不錯。今天早上我ok。」 這句話我說得早了一點,因為到了中午,我的情緒又低落下去了, 在同工祈禱會中我們反思「主餐」,苦難和死亡對於我來說是艱難的話題,所以我提早離開了。晚上我無意中觀看了一個電視節目,有關無線 830pm完美叛侶第二集的女主角如何為她母親的離世哀痛,特別是拿骨灰回家的時候。我得出一個結論,沒有任何好的方法解決哀傷。

第二天早上,我覺得自己ok,於是告訴和我一起做運動的鄰居中最年長的一位先生我太太去世了。他很有禮貌地回應:「我知道,節哀順變。」中國人最常用的安慰弔唁,正如許多人一樣,這是他唯一懂得表達的詞句,雖然有點難接受,但是我可以明白。下午過得還可以,不是太好。

禮拜四早上我約了一位哀傷處理 (grief group) 小組的主持人,香港的兩間英文教會每年會組織一次哀傷處理小組, 他來自其中一間。中文教會暫時還沒有,我希望可以推薦給我的教會,我也閃過一個念頭,開辦哀傷處理的主日學系列。

一連三天還過得去的早晨,被禮拜五早上的眼淚打斷了,就是當我再一次看見這禮拜還給我、放在我桌子上的乾花。奇怪,Doris 之前是要求將那些花保鮮處理。我把它拿回家,放在她的骨灰盒旁邊。我仍在等這個月稍後安葬她。

不單只一起禱告變得困難,有些詩歌也會打動我的情緒。禮拜六我們唱了一首有關救贖的歌,名字叫「回家」,但歌名對我來說卻另有含義。我也閱讀了第二本有關哀傷處理的書,我更瞭解哀傷過程,人性化和複雜性。

禮拜天,參加崇拜我還過得去,但是沒有心理準備接待訪客,當我將自己的新書和 Doris 的微博文章集送給一羣大陸訪客時,眼淚又不由自主地湧了出來。當我在教會的月禱會中 (Doris 體力許可時都會參加) 禱告的時候,我必需停頓幾次擦去眼淚,一位意想不到的朋友過來和我一起禱告。這個禮拜,我發現宗教儀式在某方面,比起閱讀書籍或者看電影更有力。

這是 Doris 唱的「我的心 你要稱頌耶和華」
https://youtu.be/th2MkX1WA-I

Victor 葉福成 July 12

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Week 6

Six weeks had passed by slowly but surely and so did my flu midweek. On Monday noon I made my way to Tai O Lookout and had high tea at the Tai O Heritage Hotel. Unlike my last visit with Doris I could get a table with a scenic view this time. On the way home I was the sixth customer in a mall barber shop. That gave me time to think and I ordered a buzz cut 陸軍裝 when my turn came. It was shorter than all customers before me. Many suggested it means a new start. It was more like "I am not the same" rather than "I have changed." It was to deal with grief and sadness that would not go away, and hopefully to drive away pent-up frustrations. Baldness at her next year anniversary  crossed my mind. At night  I cried hard seeing Doris' old class photo.

Tuesday was a lethargic and listless day. By now sore throat was followed by Monday sneezing and coughing Tuesday. It took me a week to get over it. At night eldest sister Vivien and husband were due at the airport. Her plan was to immediately visit our home upon arrival to pay respect to Doris and see her urn. The two other sisters also came at 8pm. Faith brought Doris' favorite lilies in a small vase she said she took from our wedding banquet table for a souvenir many years ago. Vivien and I decided we would like to keep a souvenir from her ashes.

I joined Mok sisters for dinner Wednesday night because eldest sister Vivien and husband were returning to USA after their fact-finding trip to Thailand. This week my memories also tell me I must return to USA  hopefully in November to revisit our long honeymoon drive along the Pacific coast highway from southern California to northern California, and then go to Doris favorite  Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Thursday was a half day at work for me. Later in the afternoon I revisited Mei Foo and surroundings where we lived eleven months upon our arrival in Hong Kong. I was emotional near Ching Lai Yuen 清麗苑 but not much after. At night I walked to the island pier to quell a sudden burst of tears.

On Friday I realized I have been dreaming for two days in a row. A day earlier I dreamed of a period of tenants from around 1960s talking over each other like from an old black and white TV scene. That was our era. On Friday I dreamed sadly of organizing a worship at the place to intern Doris' ashes. By the way I received news that I had to apply again next month for the internment of ashes because the current batch of places available are visitor unfriendly. The urns there are either placed too low or too high for convenient viewing. I hope to have some form of closure to coincide with the urn internment.

On Saturday I cried in the morning alone in a cafetaria and at night in my prayer walk. At least now the tears are soft and wistful. There is mixed thanksgiving and tears lately, often singing Doris first song from her blog:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end,
They are new every morning
New every morning
Great is Your faithfulness, 0 Lord
Great is Your faithfulness.

Sundays at church with familiar faces and parishioners are most draining. I cannot answer positively to the number one question, Are you okay? I often think of Doris who sat with me in the third row on the right. At home I rested and trekked up our local hill to where Doris and I used to sit. It was a good, calm and restful end to the week.

Here is Doris' rendition of her favorite song, Seek Only Thy Perfect Way
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KNPLVd6om8U

第六個星期過得非常緩慢但的確過了,就好像我在禮拜中終於痊癒的感冒。禮拜一中午我去了大澳,在大澳文物酒店的Tai O Lookout 餐廳吃了下午茶。不像上一次我和 Doris 來,這一次我有機會坐在一個有風景的窗口位。在回家的路上,我進了一家位於商場的理髮店, 我是排第六的客人,可以有時間考慮( 剪什麼髮型) 。輪到我的時候,我決定減一個「陸軍裝」, 比所有在我之前的客人剪得都要短。很多人覺得剪短頭髮意味著一個新的開始,但在我這代表「我不再一樣了」 多於「我已經改變了」;是以此去對付那些難以消失的哀傷和悲感,也希望藉此趕走壓抑著的沮喪。我腦海中閃過一個念頭:明年周年紀念的時候去剃光頭。晚上,當我看到 Doris 以前的學生照時,忍不住痛哭起來。

星期二是昏昏欲睡、無精打采的一天。喉嚨疼已經發展成星期一的打噴嚏和星期二的咳嗽,過了一個禮拜我才好轉。晚上Doris大姐 Vivien 和丈夫到達機場,她計劃下機後馬上來我們家瞻仰 Doris 的骨灰盒。其他兩位姐姐8點也來了, Faith 帶來了Doris 最喜歡的百合花,插放在一個小花瓶裡,她說這花瓶是十多年前她在我們的婚宴桌上拿作留念的,大姐和我決定從她的骨灰盒保留一份紀念品。

星期三晚上我和莫家姐妹們一起吃晚飯,因為大姐 Vivien 和丈夫在泰國的「尋真之旅」之後將會回美國。這個星期我的回憶也提醒我,(希望是在11月)要回去美國重遊我們的蜜月之旅 - 沿著太平洋海岸的高速公路, 從南加州一路駕車到北加州,之後再去 Doris 最喜歡的溫哥華Stanley Park。

星期四是我工作半天。下午, 我舊地重遊了美孚新村以及四周,我們剛到香港的時候曾在那裡住過十一個月。在清麗苑附近,我的情緒有些波動,但之後好快便平復了。晚上,為了平息突如其來的眼淚,我散步走去了離島碼頭。

禮拜五,我發現我已經連續兩天做夢了。之前一天, 我夢見一群好像是六零年代的租客在彼此交談, 好像在黑白電視上看到的場面,那是我們的時代。禮拜五我很傷心地夢見為安葬 Doris 的骨灰組織了一個崇拜儀式。順帶一提,我收到通知,需要下個月為安葬骨灰重新申請,因為現在這批地方非常不方便 - 骨灰盒不是放得太低就是太高,不方便瞻仰。 我希望藉此有某種總結,與安葬骨灰盒為總結。

星期六
早上,我一個人在一間咖啡店哭了起來;晚上,我散步禱告的時候也是這樣。至少現在的眼淚是柔軟並且充滿懷念傷感的,最近當唱著 Doris 博客裡的第一首歌時,感恩和眼淚總是相互交集着:


神愛滔滔活水匆匆湧流,
神愛無限,憐憫沒變遷;
永遠都不會動搖,始終不轉變,
恩主的信實似高天,深恩廣闊萬里。 耶利米哀歌 3:23 

禮拜天在教會遇見熟悉的面孔和會友們,最令我控制不住眼淚。我無法積極地回答「你還好嗎?」這類的問題。我時常想起 Doris 和我一起坐在右邊的第三排。回到家我休息了一會,之後登上附近的一座小山, 一個Doris 和我經常去坐的地方。這是一周美好的、平靜安寧的結束。

這是 Doris 所唱的她最喜歡的詩歌。
Seek Only Thy Perfect Way
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KNPLVd6om8U

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Week 5

The fifth week was marred by sickness. Monday was the second last day for my brother David and his wife in Hong Kong, so I had plenty to do. They had wanted to ride the Ngon Ping cable car, so off we go in the morning. In the afternoon I had to run a few errands, including getting a few of Doris' gift book to Doris oldest sister Vivien from USA before she leaves on Wednesday to Thailand for a fact-finding mission trip and then return to Hong Kong for two days before heading home to USA. I handed the books to her when the whole family had dinner together the same night.

On Tuesday morning I sent my brother and his wife to the airport before returning to work. My brother and I had grown closer these five days. I felt low and was mildly depressed the rest of the day. It is the first time since the funeral that I return by myself to my house.

The feelings reached a crescendo Wednesday. It gave way to tears, fatigue, and lack of motivation. All day I felt like wailing, especially late afternoon when I had to go home. I could not pinpoint what it was. Unknown to me it was the exactly the first month since Doris left me (22nd). A friend of Doris texted me at night: "Victor, I know today will be a hard day for u cos Doris passed away last month on this day. I just prayed that God himself comfort u." I asked a younger widower whose wife passed away from cancer how he coped on his wife's first month of passing away. He replied, "Thinking of her, I would cry."

On Thursday morning three friends joined me on a Macau trip to close Doris bank accounts,as she had instructed, even though there was not much money there. A USA friend Karl had asked me several times to get together, but my heart was not in it, so this was the best time to go away with persistent friends. I close one bank account but I had to use many documents I brought. Another bank says I can withdraw all money but not close unless the two signatories showed up to close the account. After that we ate at the most famous Portuguese food at the beach.

On Friday morn I woke up at 230am and slept again at 430am. It was nervous time as today was the date to collect Doris' ashes. The plan was to call her sisters to join me at the agent's office, but the afternoon passed by without a call, so the plan was aborted. I had also asked a friend who had a car to join us because we could not hail a cab previously near the agent's office. The text arrived at 8pm and he could deliver the urn to church the next day, and even take me to Kwai Fong to board the village shuttle home.

As suspected I was sick. The dry throat the day before was now a full-blown sore throat, so I visited the doctor and was given a day off, but I still had to pick up the urn from the agent noon time at church. I did not ask Doris' sisters to join me because the agent's time was flexible and tight. When he picked me up I thanked him for the special favor of taking me to Kwai Fong. Once on the bus shuttle holding the ash pot the dam in me burst. My baby is going home. There is no better place to be until a place for her opens up at the Lok Fu ChristIan cemetery next month or so. I cannot bear for her remains to be in an unfamiliar office. She has asked me before if it is OK for her remains to be by my side if no suitable place was found. Of course not; I am not scared, I told her. Her ideal was always with me, in  island living.

On Sunday I slept for a long time as I was still recovering from sickness with no sign of getting better. I could not concentrate during worship after taking medication, so I left the worship safely in the hands of Rev. So who was the speaker. I grabbed a book by J. I. Packer on grief that a coworker placed on my table. Here are his ten tips for grieving the loss of a loved one:
1. Starting from where you are, do what you can (it may not be much at first) to move toward thanksgiving, submission, and patience.
2. Do not let your grief loosen your grip on the goodness and grace of your loving Lord.
3. Cry (for there is nothing biblical or Christian, or indeed human, about the stiff upper lip).
4. Tell God your sadness (several of the psalms, though not written about bereavement, will supply words for the purpose).
5. Pray as you can, and don’t try to pray as you can’t. (That bit of wisdom is not original to me, nor was it distilled in a grief counseling context, but it is very apropos here.)
6. Avoid well-wishers who think they can cheer you up, but thank God for any who are content to be with you and do things for you without talking at you.
7. Talk to yourself . . . about the loved one you lost.
8. Do not try to hurry your way out of the inner weakness you feel; grieving takes time.
9. Look to God as thankfully, submissively, and patiently as you can (and he will understand if you have to tell him that you cannot really do this yet).
10. Feel, acknowledge, and face, consciously and from your heart, all the feelings that you find in yourself at present, and the day will come when you find yourself able, consciously and from your heart, to live to God daily in thanksgiving, submission, and patient hope once again.
At home I slept for a good two hours in the afternoon, and at night with fellowship brothers and sisters.

Here are the Memorial Service and Cremation service for those who asked:
Doris' Memorial Service https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_BWq0b0pdU Crematorium https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU3464e4aPY

第五個星期被生病破壞了

禮拜一
我哥哥和他太太在香港的最後兩天,所以我挺忙的。他們想去坐昂坪360纜車,我們一早便去了。下午,我跑了幾趟腿,其中包括拿幾本Doris的書給她從美國來的大姐Vivien,她星期三將會去泰國一個「宣教工場」,之後回香港待兩天再回美國。晚上,全家一起吃晚飯的時候,我把書交給了她。

禮拜二早上,上班之前,我送了哥哥和嫂嫂去機場。我和哥哥這五天相處下來,親密了很多。那天我覺得悶悶不樂,情緒有些低落, 這是葬禮之後,我第一次獨自一人回家。

禮拜三,低落的情緒加強,帶來眼淚、疲倦後缺乏動力。一整天我都有想哭的感覺,特別是下午快要回家的時候。我不能確定是什麼,我不知道,原來那天是 Doris離開我整整一個月(22號)。 Doris的一位朋友晚上發短信給我:「Victor,我知道今天對你來說會是一個不容易的日子,因為Doris在上個月的今天離開了。禱告神親自安慰你。 」 我問一位年紀比我輕的喪偶者,他怎麼應付半年前失去患癌症妻子的第一個月紀念,他回答說:「想著她便哭出來吧。」

禮拜四早上,三位朋友陪我一起去了澳門取消Doris的銀行戶口 - 她吩咐我這麼做,雖然銀行戶口裡沒有多少錢。一位美國朋友Karl問過我很多次想見面,但是我不太有心情,所以這次是個大好機會,和很幾位有堅持的朋友一起出去走走。我取消了其中一個銀行賬戶,需要用到很多帶去的文件。另一間銀行告訴我,我可以提取所有的錢,但是不能取消賬户,除非有兩個(開戶人的)簽名。之後我們在沙灘最有名的葡萄牙餐廳吃飯。

禮拜五早上,我2:30醒了,4:30又睡著了。我很緊張,因為今天要去取Doris的骨灰。原定計劃是打給她的姐姐們,一起在代理的辦公室等。但下午一直沒有收到(代理的)電話,原定計劃取消。之前我也問了一位有車的朋友,叫他和我們一起去,因為上一次我們在代理的辦公室附近攔不到計程車。晚上8點收到短信:他可以第二天將骨灰盒送到教會,再送我去葵芳坐回家的村巴。

一如猜測我病了,前一天乾乾的喉嚨發展成了喉嚨痛。於是我去看了醫生,拿了一天病假,可是我仍然需要回教會,中午約了代理拿骨灰盒。我沒有通知Doris的姐姐們過來,因為代理的時間(很彈性也很急)。當他來載我的時候,我謝謝他的特別安排,送我去葵芳。抱著骨灰盒上了村巴,我裡面決堤了,我的寶貝將要回家了。在下個月樂富的基督教墳場為她準備好一個地方之前,沒有一個地方好得過家。我不能忍受將她的遺體放在一個陌生的辦公室。她曾經問過我,如果找不到合適的地方,可不可以將她的遺體放在我旁邊。我告訴她我不會害怕,她的理想就是一直和我一起,在小島居住。

禮拜天我睡了很長時間,因為我還沒有從病中恢復過來,沒有一點康復的跡像。崇拜吃藥之候,我不能集中思想,於是我中途離開了,很放心 - 蘇牧師是當天的講員。我拿起一本一位同事放在我的桌子上J. I. Parker有關哀傷的書A Grief Sanctified,這是他提出如何處理失去至親的十個建議。

1. 在你現在的處境當中盡力(可能一開始並不多)朝向感恩、順服和忍耐的心境。
2. 不要讓你的哀傷令你懷疑神的良善和恩典。
3. 哀哭吧(聖經中、基督教、或是人性的,並沒有要抑制情緒的表達)。
4. 向神傾訴你的哀傷(一些詩篇雖然不是有關喪親之痛,但提供了適合這方面的禱文)。
5. 能夠的話就禱告,但如果你做不到,不要勉強嘗試(這部份的智慧並不是我的原創,也不是在哀傷輔導中學的,但用在這裡很適合)。
6. 避開那些自認為可以讓你開心起來的好心人,為那些與你同行並默默支持你的人感謝神。
7. 自言自語,告訴自己有關失去的那位親人的事。
8. 不要試圖急於從你內在的軟弱感中出來,哀傷需要時間去處理。
9. 盡你所能,以感恩、順服和耐心仰望神(但如果你告訴衪,你現在真的還做不到,衪會明白)。
10. 有意識地從內心觸摸、承認並面對現在所有在你裡面的感受。有一天將你會發現,你又重新能夠有意識地從內心、在每一天的生活中,向神活出感恩、順服、耐心和盼望。

下午,我在家睡了足足兩個小時。晚上和弟兄姐妹們團契。

以下是Doris的安息禮拜和火葬禮視頻:
安息禮拜 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_BWq0b0pdU 
火葬禮 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU3464e4aPY

Victor葉福成, June 28

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Week 4

The fourth week of grief was the worse yet because of the funeral. The first day (13th) lunch and dinner were spent with relatives and church leaders, respectively. Dinner was okay after a few tears shed at initial meeting of old friends. I called for lunch with Vivien慧英, Doris' San Diego sister, and husband Henry to spend more time with them before they leave. After lunch second sister To 導英 and I went to obtain Doris' death certificate. To suggested two copies, just in case. I waited more than two weeks for the notice to arrive in my mail box, but it was a few minutes' wait at the government office. The officer punched a hole in her ID and returned it to me. I kissed the hole that was punched. At least I got the ID back. Grief and grievance are linguistic cousins, so I decided to write mine down and dealt with it before Saturday.

On Tuesday morning I could greet neighbors. Listening to coworkers practice Doris' fave song Seek Only Thy Perfect Way made me misty-eyed. Doris had wanted to sing it in church, but it was not a priority. I finally read internet articles on grief. The best advice I received from four respectable sources was not to make major changes presently. The grief period is usually six months to two years. In the afternoon there was more crying when I met a visitor at church. On the same night Doris had left me, I had lunch with five guest speakers during our church's missions week and gave our latest book away to them. On this Wednesday noon a coworker brought a few visitors to church. After I passed them in the hallway, our coworker called my name and introduced me to a familiar face. The guest was the leader of a renowned missions organization and he said the book I gave him during lunch is good and suited for them to train their missionaries. He asked if I have the English version. I told him originally it was in English and Doris had managed translating her Bible study materials halfway, but I could not continue the conversation and left apologizing because I could only think of how much Doris put into the book, with results now. In fact our publisher tells me they have only 50 copies of the 1,500 published left in their warehouse two months after it was released. 

On Thursday my brother David and his wife Siew Huay arrived from Kuala Lumpur to stay with me for five days. They wanted to come very much to offer support. They were here just two months ago and he regretted not having enough time to converse with her over family dinner in April.

On Friday morning the apprehension woke me at 130am and I cried later in the morning. The rest of the day was preparation for the wake or visitation at night. A coworker took six of us in his van at 330pm to get ready. As usual, seeing Doris' body brought a lot of grief and a sense of loss. The first visitor was at 5pm. We grabbed a quick bite when another relative arrived. Friday night was more personal because we could still hug friends who came. There were more than a few who could not come next day for the funeral proper. I was surprised my two former churches in USA sent flowers. I met some of her friends from Queen's University, from Macau and St Paul's Co-ed. Friends said her older pictures, 1984 Evangelistic coffee house songs and 2015 testimony broadcasted and last minute gift book of her 2010-2016 blog were captivating, inspiring and comforting. I was humming to Perhaps Love the next day.

Saturday was a wrenching and wretched  day. When the time to view her for the last time arrived, I hesitated and doubted, more like refused to accept it. It tears me apart each time I think of viewing her body for the last time, carrying her picture to the waiting van, pressing the button at the crematorium and seeing the door close and the coffin disappears. Someone commented that in the old days they could even see the coffin burning. 
Her two video clips that day: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hPThpsdXgWQ
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hswk21EYNmU
The next important task was to take her big picture home on the same day, which I decided to do right away on a possible rainy day. I wrapped up the picture in plastic to be less conspicuous and arrived on the bus shuttle just when it started to drizzle. Anything is better than the next day on the bus home with the expected crowd flocking to the island on a good sunny day. After resting for two hours I took my brother for dinner and a walk. I did not want them cooped up in the house because of me. On one of the busiest street in Hong Kong hearing an old Samuel Hui song 鬼馬雙星 at 930pm my tears boiled over. I don't think the song was related, so it was illogical and unexpected. A psychology professor friend present that day alerted me, "Bouts of tear episode is typical of grieving." 

The next morning I took my brother to YMCA for an English sermon, hoping he would be open to the gospel, but he said the sermon was boring. At least he was willing to go with me present, so I could not pass up the opportunity. Back to the putonghua worship we gave gift books to those who did not come to the funeral. At night I took them for seafood, but they bemoaned of the standard of living and especially food prices in Hong Kong. At least my brother kept me occupied with his comic relief, city curiosity and  cultural gap with me. Now I know why my wife was slightly anxious if I could adapt to living in Hong Kong.

Finally, a big thank you to Jeffield who made 20 music videos of Doris in a week, here's our only home duet on Perhaps Love.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FtbzXzfpy6U

Victor 葉福成 June 20

因為葬禮的緣故,第四個禮拜是至今為止最傷痛的。第一天(6月13號),午餐和晚餐分別和親戚以及教會領袖一起吃。晚餐和老朋友們見面時都會有些感動,吃晚餐時還好。午餐我打電話給慧英 - Doris在聖地亞哥的姐姐 - 還有她的丈夫Henry,想在他們走之前多和他們聚一聚。午餐之後二姐導英和我一起去領取Doris的死亡證。導姐建議拿兩份備份,以防萬一有需要。我等了兩個星期才收到通知,但是在政府辦事處,只用了幾分鐘。政府辦事處的人在她的身份証上打了一個洞,還了給我 。我在洞上吻了一下:至少我拿回了她的身份證。 「哀傷grief」和「哀怨grievance」在字面上是兩個息息相關的,所以我決定寫下我的哀傷,並在星期六的之前處理它。

星期二早上,我可以主動跟鄰居打招呼了,聽到同事們在練習Doris最喜歡的詩歌「 只尋求你完美旨意Seek Only Thy Perfect Way」,我的眼睛又濕潤了。 Doris曾經想在教會唱這首歌,但一直沒有成為優先所做的一件事。我終於在互聯網上看了有關處理哀傷的文章,​​從四個可靠的網站我得到最好的忠告,就是在現階段不要做任何重大的改變,哀傷期一般是六個月到兩年。下午, 我在教會遇見一位訪客,這又令我哭了起來。 Doris離開的晚上, 中午我和教會宣教主日的五位講員一起吃午餐,並且贈送了我們的新書“同作門徒” 給他們。禮拜四中午後,一位同事帶了幾位訪客來教會,當我在走廊經過他們十幾步的時候,同事叫住我,將一位十分面善的訪客介紹給我,那是一間有名氣的宣教機構的主管,他告訴我,上次午餐時我送給他的書很好,很適合用來培訓他們的宣教士。他問我是否有英文版。我告訴他,書的原本就是英文的,Doris已經把部份的查經資料翻譯到英文,說到這里我已經沒有辦法繼續我們的談話,致歉之後便離開了。我想到Doris投入了許多心血和努力在書裡,才有現在的果效。我們的出版商告訴我,書出版後的短短兩個月,1500 本只剩下50本在倉庫裡。

星期四
我的哥哥David和他的太太Siew Huay從吉隆坡來香港五天陪我,他們很想來支持我,他們兩個月之前來過香港,David覺得很遺憾,在四月的家庭聚餐中,沒有花多一點時間和Doris交談。

星期五
哀慟在凌晨1:30將我喚醒,稍後的早晨我哭了出來。一天餘下的時間都是在準備晚上的守靈。下午3:30,一位同事開車送了我們六個人去殯儀館準備。照樣的,見到Doris的遺體帶給我很多哀傷和失落感。第一位致哀者5點鐘到,當另一位親戚到的時候,我們很快吃了一點東西。禮拜五晚上比較個人,因為我們可以和來致哀的朋友們互相擁抱, 有好幾位不能來第二天的葬禮。我感到有點意外 - 我以前在美國的兩間教會都送了花圈來。我見到了Doris 在Queen's University的幾位朋友,也有從澳門來的,以及聖保羅男女中學的。朋友們都說,她的舊照片、1984年的「福音咖啡館佈道」歌曲、2015年的見證錄影、以及生命最後的2010-2016博客分享禮物書都很吸引、激勵、安慰人。第二天我一直在哼唱著 Perhaps Love。

星期六是傷心可憐的一天。當最後見她一面的時刻到了,我有些猶豫和懷疑,更像是難以接受。每次一想到最後一次見到她的遺體、將她的相片拿去等待中的車上、在火葬場按按鈕、看著門關起來、棺材消失在眼前,都讓我覺得被撕裂。有人告訴我,以前家人甚至可以看著棺材被火化。 安息禮拜片段:
http://youtu.be/hPThpsdXgWQ
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hswk21EYNmU
接下來重要的一項任務,就是當天把她的大照片拿回家,我決定馬上做,因為可能快下雨了。我用塑料紙將照片包起來,這樣就可以不太顯眼。走到村巴的時候,開始下起毛毛雨。任何事都比第二天回家時在巴士上好因為很多人在明天預測陽光普照的好天氣坐車湧入馬灣小島,正如所料。休息了兩個小時之後,我帶我哥哥去吃晚飯、散步,我不想他們因為我而一直窩在家裡。晚上9:30,在香港其中一條最繁忙的街上,聽到許冠文的老歌「鬼馬雙星」,我的眼淚翻滾出來。我不認為歌曲有什麼關聯,所以這是不合邏輯,也是意料之外的。那天來的有位心理学教授朋友警告我,「片段式的流淚發作是典型的哀痛表現」。

第二天早上我帶哥哥去YMCA聽英文講道,希望他可以對福音開放自己,可是他說講道很沉悶。至少他願意和我一起去,所以我不能錯過機會。回到普通話崇拜,我們把禮物書送給那些沒有來參加葬禮的人。晚上,我帶他們去吃海鮮,他們感嘆香港的高消費,特別是食物的價格。至少我的哥哥以他喜劇式的安慰、對香港城市的好奇、以及和我的文化差異讓我保持忙碌。現在我明白,在香港為何我太太緊張我是否適應香港的生活。

非常感謝年輕人Jeffield在一星期內製作了20個Doris的音樂錄影,這是唯一一段我們合唱 (Perhaps Love)。
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FtbzXzfpy6U

Victor 葉福成, June 21