Sharing: The Death of My Beloved Father

(The Indonesian version of this sharing is available in the bottom).
My father was admitted to emergency room in Surabaya on Jul 2, 2010 due to difficult to breath and painful in his stomach. His blood pressure was high and his twice ECG was normal. He was allowed to go home after two injections. He slept when the car hit another car on the way to our hometown. Nobody injured. My youngest sister, Ling Ling, informed his condition and asked me not to call him as my father usually complaint if she told me that he was sick.
He was difficult to breath and his blood pressure was low on Jul 3, 2010 morning after took the first pill. He was admitted to emergency room in Surabaya.
I was at Maryknoll Society Stanley on Jul 3, 2010 morning as I was invited by Maryknoll seminarian Phillip to attend a talk by Patrick about human right in China. We planned to go out together after the talk with another two seminarians from Brooklyn and Indiana dioceses who are studying in Rome. The talk was postponed till 3.30 p.m. I was in Stanley market when Ling Ling informed me that she decided to admit my father to ICU to get better care even though the nurse gave option to stay in regular room.
The talk just started 30 minutes when Ling Ling informed me that my father was in critical condition. I left the conference room to get more information. He was brought to ICU while his heart was pumped. Later on, I knew that my father was slept for around 15 minutes in the emergency room when he got the heart attack. I prayed while kept the communication with my family and finally I prayed in tongue as I didn’t know what to pray anymore. I asked the grace to let go and let God control his life. I also asked my community to pray for my father. Sr. Joseph Lourdes called me to inform that my community suggested me to go home at this time. I just said “thank you sister” when I got the message from Ling Ling that my father was passed away. I burst in tears.
Later on, Ling Ling informed that the doctor finally gave up after trying to pump his heart for 45 minutes as usually it’s only 10 minutes but they allowed us to wait for two hours for miracle. I prayed over the phone with my family in taxi on the way to Central MTR and while looking for taxi near Prince Edward MTR with tears. I asked him to wait for me and forgive me. We were waiting for the miracle as we knew we are not ready but we asked the best for my father.
My community wait for me in our dining room and allowed me to stay with my family as long as I need. Several Indonesians helped to look for the ticket. I got the only promotion ticket HKG-SUB for Jul 4, 2010.
No miracle till the last minutes. He didn’t wait for me. He passed away at 3.45 p.m. (Indonesian time). On Jul 1, 2010 I said to several Indonesians that my wish is seeing my parents alive when I go home even though I realize that we don’t know when our life will be ended. I said it when we were waiting for Henry, MD who would go home as his father passed away after admitted to ICU. My friend’s father was admitted to ICU on Jul 3, 2010 morning after discharging from hospital two days before and I said “it’s ok to cry”. The word ICU became so close with me during these two days.
I attended the English mass at St. Theresa’s Church on Jul 4, 2010. I was in tears when prayed for my father but received consolation as the song theme was “rejoice.” Nico-Silvia-Nico-William picked me up to go to airport. Rita, Sugi, and my uncle Ku Yung Siu were waiting for us at airport.
My extended family from Mojosari picked me up at Surabaya airport and then went to my home. I said to myself I should be steadfast upon arriving at funeral parlor. I hold my father’s hand while praying for him. We put his favorite clothes in the coffin.
We poured out fragrance to his body except his face before closing the coffin on Jul 5, 2010. We were not allowed to see when the workers closed and sealed the brown teak wood coffin around 3.00 p.m. My mom decided to follow Chinese tradition lead by our neighbour so there was a table in front of the coffin with picture of my father, white can for yellow joss sticks and white candles for family, red can for red joss sticks and red candles for extended family and friends, meal including cigarettes and coffee, and also bath equipments beside the coffin. There was fresh floral arrangement in the top of coffin from his son in-law Jien Jien and fresh broken flowers below the coffin. The big yellow joss stick should be burnt all the time. There were flyer with the name of all the children (the name of the son on the top of the name of the daughters) and flyer from parent in-law of my younger sister hanging in the top of the coffin.
Approval from my father would be done by throwing two same coins, it means “yes” when it appears two different sides and “no” when it appears the same sides.
Our neighbours helped to fold the papers “money” till 4.00 p.m. Most of our extended family and friends came in the evening after closing of the coffin. It’s not only a shock for us but also for all our extended family and friends. We served snacks, from our extended family and friends, and also meal. We stood beside the coffin to give thanks to the guests who were praying for my father.
We wore dark clothes except on Thursday evening and Friday morning. I stayed in the funeral parlor till after midnight and the funeral parlor was opened 24 hours. Several of the guests asked where I live so I shared my state of life.
The date at my father’s watch was stopped at “3” while the clock is still working when Ling Ling planned to break the glass on Jul 8.
There were prayer with rosary for purgatory by catholics community, prayer together by delegation of 17 TITD (=place of worship for Tao, Buddist and Confusian) in East Java as my father was the leader of TITD “Bo Hway Bio”, and prayer by Confusians on Thursday evening. I shared a little bit about my vocation after my thank you speech for the catholic community as several of them didn’t know I had my first profession of vows. There were hundreds of guests on Thursday evening. We had a ritual on Thursday before midnight mostly done by my brother Hero and then burning a house and all the equipments made of paper. There were my father’s name and age on the coffin.
Hero did a ritual including picking up all meals in the table in front of the coffin after taking family pictures on Friday morning. The ritual leader threw a watermelon before moving the coffin to the car. Jien Jien hold the white can for yellow joss stick and the picture. Hero hold the umbrella for him. Jien-Jien sat in front of the car of the coffin and we sat in the back. Two girls were inside a car in front of us to throw the fresh broken flowers, papers “money” and money.
There was a ritual mostly done by Hero in the cemetery. I gave thank you speech by quoting Julian Norwich “all is well, all will be well” as my father always said “ga pa pa” (=I am fine) whenever I asked his condition. With this quotation, we will continue our life as we believe God’s grace through our family and friends is enough for us even though we are not ready. I should hold my tears when saying thank you very much for all their support, help and prayers during these days. There were speeches from Yayasan Rukun Agawe Santoso (=Foundation for Burial in our home town) and PTITD Komda Jatim (=Association of TITD East Java Province).
After taking group pictures, the coffin was brought down at 10.15 a.m. The picture of my father was closed with a red cloth and hold by Hero. We clapped when the ritual leader released a dove and then he distributed seeds and money to my family. We followed him to spread the fresh broken flowers and sand. The workers put sand on the top of coffin till higher than the land. We spread the fresh broken flowers again in the top and left the cemetery without saying good bye and looking back. My mom decided to change our white clothes with red clothes in the cemetery so we can wear non white clothes afterwards. We washed our hands, feet and face with water and petal of roses before entering our home and then drunk lentil and ate “misua” (=white noodle) with egg at home. We also took a bath and washed our hair.
We went to the cemetery before dawn on the 3rd and 7th days after burial to do an ancestor’s veneration including burning the paper “money” and his clothes. It will be done again on the 49th day after the death. We also measured the cemetery according to fengshui ( and will have a ritual before building it on Jul 28, 2010.
I do receive great consolation during these days and I believe it’s because of so many prayers from my family, sisters and friends. God holds us even though we are not ready as in II Cor 12: 9a: But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
I will go back to Hong Kong on Aug 3 to continue my commitment as a Maryknoll Sister including preparing all the paperworks for my mandarin study in Guangzhou even though my father hoped I will change my mind.
Thank you very much for all of your support, help, gifts, monetary gift, especially prayers and mass intentions during these days. May God continue to bless you.

Papa dibawa ke UGD pada 2 Juli karena susah bernafas dan nyeri di perutnya. Beliau diperbolehkan pulang setelah diberi dua kali suntikan untuk menurunkan tekanan darah tingginya. Papa sedang tidur ketika mobil menabrak kendaraan di depannya tetapi tidak ada yang terluka. Adik bungsu saya Ling Ling memberitahu saya tentang kondisi papa dengan pesan jangan menelepon karena papa biasanya komplain kalau Ling Ling memberitahu bahwa beliau sakit.
Beliau dibawa ke UGD pada 3 Juli pagi karena susah bernafas dan tekanan darahnya rendah setelah meminum obat yang pertama.
Saya sedang berada di pasar Stanley ketika Ling Ling memberitahu bahwa dia memutuskan untuk memasukkan papa ke ICU supaya mendapatkan perawatan yang lebih intensif meskipun perawat memberi pilihan untuk tinggal di kamar biasa.
Saya sedang mengikuti presentasi mengenai hak asasi manusia di Cina ketika Ling Ling memberitahu bahwa papa dibawa ke ICU sambil dipacu jantung. Saya baru mengetahui kemudian bahwa papa sudah tidur di ICU sekitar 15 menit ketika tiba-tiba mengalami kejang. Saya mendoakannya sambil tetap berkomunikasi dengan keluarga, sampai akhirnya saya berdoa dalam bahasa Roh karena saya sudah tidak tahu harus berdoa apa lagi. Saya memohon rahmat agar beliau bisa melepaskan semuanya dan membiarkan Allah menguasai hidupNya. Saya meminta para suster untuk mendoakan papa. Sr. Joseph Lourdes, MM menelepon untuk menginformasikan bahwa para suster memperbolehkan saya pulang saat ini. Saya baru saja mengucapkan “terima kasih suster” ketika mendapat informasi bahwa papa sudah meninggal. Saya meledak dalam tangis.
Para dokter akhirnya menyerah setelah memompa jantungnya selama 45 menit tetapi mereka memperbolehkan kami menunggu keajaiban selama dua jam. Saya mendoakan papa bersama keluarga melalui telepon di dalam taxi menuju Central MTR dan ketika mencari taksi di dekat Prince Edward MTR sambil menangis. Saya meminta beliau untuk menunggu dan memaafkan saya. Kami menunggu keajaiban karena kami tahu kami tidak siap tetapi kami juga mohon yang terbaik untuk papa.
Para suster menunggu saya di ruang makan dan memperbolehkan saya pulang selama yang saya butuhkan. Beberapa anggota IKKI Hong Kong membantu mencari tiket HKG-SUB untuk 4 Juli.
Tidak ada keajaiban sampai menit terakhir. Beliau meninggal jam 15.45 BBWI.
Pada 1 Juli, saya mengatakan kepada beberapa anggota IKKI HKG ketika kami sedang menunggu dr. Henry yang akan pulang ke Indonesia karena papanya meninggal tidak lama setelah masuk ICU, bahwa saya berharap untuk melihat orang tua saya dalam keadaan hidup ketika saya pulang meskipun saya menyadari bahwa kita tidak pernah tahu kapan kita akan meninggal. Ayah teman saya dibawa ke ICU pada 3 Juli setelah keluar dari RS dua hari sebelumnya dan saya mengatakan kepadanya “tidak apa-apa menangis.” Kata ICU begitu dekat dengan saya dalam beberapa hari itu.
Saya mengatakan kepada diri sendiri bahwa saya harus tabah ketika tiba di tempat persemayaman jenasah. Saya memegang tangan papa sambil mendoakannya.
Kematian papa tidak hanya mengejutkan kami, tetapi juga keluarga besar dan para sahabat. Kami memakai pakaian warna gelap kecuali untuk hari Kamis sore dan Jumat pagi. Beberapa tamu menanyakan tempat tinggal saya sehingga saya menceritakan status hidup saya.
Tanggal di arloji papa menunjukkan angka “3” sementara arloji masih bekerja ketika Ling Ling bermaksud untuk memecahkan kacanya pada 8 Juli.
Pada hari Kamis diadakan doa Rosario untuk jiwa-jiwa di api penyucian oleh umat stasi St. Aloysius Gonzaga Mojoagung, doa bersama oleh perwakilan 17 Tempat Ibadat Tridarma Jawa Timur karena papa adalah Ketua TITD “Bo Hway Bio” dan doa oleh umat Khong Hu Cu. Saya mensharingkan panggilan religius saya kepada umat Katolik karena sebagian dari mereka belum mengetahui bahwa saya adalah seorang suster Maryknoll. Adik saya Hero melakukan hampir sebagian besar ritual termasuk pembakaran rumah beserta perabotnya dari kertas pada Kamis menjelang tengah malam.
Saya memberi ucapan terima kasih di makam dengan mengutip seorang mistik Julian Norwich, yang mengatakan “semua baik, semuanya akan baik-baik” karena papa selalu mengatakan “ga pa pa” setiap kali saya menanyakan kondisinya termasuk di pagi hari sebelum beliau meninggal. Dengan kutipan ini kami akan melanjutkan hidup kami karena kami percaya rahmat Allah melalui keluarga dan para sahabat cukup bagi kami meskipun kami tidak siap.
Kami melakukan penghormatan di makam pada hari ke-3 dan ke-7 setelah pemakaman serta hari ke-49 setelah meninggal sebelum fajar menyingsing. Kami mengukur bangunan makam sesuai dengan fengshui ( dan melakukan ritual sebelum pembangunannya pada 28 Juli, 2010.
Sekali lagi terima kasih banyak untuk ungkapan bela sungkawa, bantuan baik moriil maupun materiil, dan terutama doanya. Semoga Allah memberkati perjalanan misionaris Anda sekalian.

Mojoagung-Jombang, Jul 17, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

P.S. Thank You Speech at Cemetery
Selamat pagi,
Saya atas nama keluarga almarhum Oei Pek Tjioe/Hadi Surya Atmajaya mengucapkan terima kasih yang sebesar-besarnya atas ungkapan bela sungkawa, bantuan baik moril maupun materiil dan terutama doa dari Bapak/Ibu/Saudara/Saudari sekalian.
Dengan ini kami mohon agar segala kesalahan almarhum dimaafkan. Demikian juga bila terdapat kesalahan selama persemayaman jenasah sampai dengan pemakaman.
Beberapa jam sebelum meninggal, papa masih mengatakan "ga pa pa," ini mengingatkan saya pada seorang mistik (Julian Norwich), yang mengatakan semuanya baik, semuanya akan baik-baik saja (=all is well, all will be well). Dengan ini kami akan melanjutkan hidup kami, meskipun kami tidak siap karena kami percaya rahmat Tuhan, yang mengalir melalui Bapak/Ibu/Saudara/Saudari, sekalian cukup bagi kami.
Semoga Tuhan membalas ungkapan bela sungkawa, bantuan baik moril maupun materiil, dan terutama doa Bapak/Ibu/Saudara/Saudari sekalian.
Sekali lagi terima kasih yang sebesar-besarnya.

Sharing: First Birthday in Hong Kong

My birthday celebration was started on June 14, 2010 as there were roses and birthday gifts in my room upon arriving from my two weeks trip to China.
The thought “if I only love my neighbours who kind, generous and similar to me, what’s the different with others” came to my mind in the early morning. The Gospel was taken from Matthew 5: 43-48: was "…For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” And the reading for morning prayer from was “...I understood that LOVE COMPRISED ALL VOCATIONS, THAT LOVE WAS EVERYTHING, THAT IT EMBRACED ALL TIMES AND PLACES….IN A WORD, THAT IT WAS ETERNAL! Then, in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my love…my vocation, at last I have found it…MY VOCATION IS LOVE and PRAY (bold added by myself) ! Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, p.194, (3).” What a holy coincidence that I was invited to think about love three times within 2 hours to start my birthday.
I thank God for all the blessings and graces in a mass intention during the English mass at St. Theresa’s Church. It’s my tradition to start my birthday celebration with a thanksgiving.
My sisters and I had a lunch buffet at Royal Plaza Hotel as it’s my first birthday in the mission. I ate the hot and sour soup, main dishes including noodle, porridge and fruit. It’s really a big treat.
As I was on the 8.5 hours bus and coughing since the last day in Xiamen so I took a rest in the afternoon.
We had fried noodle for our supper including two birthday gifts on the table. In my childhood, my mom would prepare uncut noodle, represent longevity, and red dyed eggs, reprensent rebirth, on birthdays. The birthday celebrant should eat two eggs. As I growing older, my mom still reminds us at least to have noodle on birthdays.
I had conversation with one of my sisters after supper and then with my family in Indonesia especially about my trip to Quanzhou and Xiamen.
There was birthday celebration for all May-June birthday celebrants of Indonesian Catholic Evening Community on June 26, 2010 after mass at Catholic Center. The Indonesian Catholic Afternoon Community celebrated my birthday after mass at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay on June 27, 2010. Nico, eight years old, invited me to come to his house and his younger brother William asked my favourite meal and drink for birthday dinner. We went around Megabox and then had pizza with their parents Nico-Silvia.
Thank you very much for all of the wishes, cards, e-cards, hugs, song, gifts, and red envelopes for my birthday. May God continue to bless your missionary journey.

Kowloon Tong-Hong Kong, Jul 1, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible