Saturday, February 02, 2008

Update from Taiwan: All is Well

God has indeed been with me on this trip, and I thank you for your prayers. It is a long post, so I have bolded the essential elements, but feel free to read it all, of course.

My departing plane was scheduled for Monday at 11:10 PM but was delayed for one hour. It took 14 hours 30 minutes, so it was about 3 PM on Tuesday in California when I landed. It was already 7 A.M. Wednesday morning when I arrived in Taiwan. Mom picked me up at the airport and we took the taxi to the cafe my mom manages. I called Cathy, of course. I call her daily when it is 9 P.M. in California.

Wednesday in Taiwan was spent reacquainting ourselves. We decided we had to collect some documentation before we took other actions. It wasn't until about 7 P.M. that I got to my parents' house and started leafing through dad's paperwork. My father seems to throw nothing away, and by 9 P.M. I had simply run out of steam; my mom is sleeping at the nearby cafe, above the store, and I slept there, too. Mom insisted that I get a back massage first, and I must say that it helped my aching muscles recover from the trip. I got to bed at 10:00 P.M.

Thursday morning I woke at 3 A.M., took a brief walk, and got back to sleep until 7:30 A.M. After sharing a quick breakfast with mom, I went back to the house and located all the remainder of the necessary paperwork for our visit to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). AIT had called mom over the weekend after I called, and mom was to simply do a walk-in instead of setting an appointment. We walked in that afternoon and filled out the necessary paperwork, thus acquiring the official English death report. That will be sent to whatever agency dispenses my father's pension and will automatically stop the deposits. I got to bed at 10:00 P.M. again.

Friday morning I woke at 4:30 A.M. and was unable to get back to sleep. I checked on the house, let out their dog, and read the paper. A little after noon we went to the crematory and made final arrangements for the disposition of my father's remains. Legally, an available family member needs to identify the body and witness the transportation of the body to the furnace. I got some time to do a brief, solitary memorial while they prepared the furnace. Mom does not handle such things well, so I took her home for lunch and returned for the actual cremation. I witnessed the closing of the casket and accompanied his body to the furnace. I was able to read from John 11 and 2 Corinthians 5 as my father's body was committed to the flames. After I took possession, I dropped the urn off at the house and returned to my mom at the cafe. We had dinner, then mom sent me to a foot massage, and I got to bed about 1:00 A.M.

It was my father's wish to have his remains placed in a U.S. national cemetery. I hope to bring my brothers together at some point for a memorial service. I have an outline in my head already.

Saturday marked the day I got accustomed to the time change. I got up at 7:30 A.M., took care of mom's dog, and got breakfast. We went to visit my maternal grandmother in a town named Pusin. We rode the bus for 4 hours there and visited with grandma. She lives with my second oldest uncle and his wife. We had to leave after only 90 minutes, but it was good to see her again, alive and well at 80. It took another 4 hours to get back.

That brings things current. I need to determine my return date (probably Tuesday evening) and get a few scraps of information from mom. I also want to gather the documents and photos which have suddenly become precious to me; anything my mom does not intend to retain I am boxing up to take with me.

This has been a good trip, thus far. I found the necessary documentation, determined my mom's needs, and was able to take care of the immediate business of my father's death. My mother and I have taken the first steps to being a family again. God has been with me every step of the way. I need, next, to return with minimal incident to my wife's side. Please pray for my safe return. Thank you! (11:54 PM Saturday in Taiwan)


  1. I'm glad you made it safe and were able to get things in order. I'm praying for your safe return and Cathy's wellbeing until your home.

  2. Lee:

    I know it has been years since we formally talked to each other. But when Timo sent to the Morrison blog the notice that your Dad died recently, I started to reflect back on the times when I knew you in Taiwan, meeting your dad (and ma) and realizing that it had been a number of years.

    For me, I am sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. There have been scares on my side, with parents who are becoming more and more feeble as they advance in age. As what Timo said in his comment about this, it will happen to all of us someday too. It is just hoped that, for everyone else, things go as smoothly for them as they did for you. Truly, you are blessed.

    Talks later. Again, my sincerest condolences.