Monday, February 18, 2013

Joseph Was Born, My Youngest Aunt Ju-hua (举华) Died

My youngest son Joseph Maximilian Brach was born in the Spring of 1998. Since Joseph was Anthony’s both grandfather’s name, father’s middle name, and youngest brother Kevin’s middle name, we named our son Joseph. We gave him the middle name Maximilian after St. Maximilian Kolbe. I was sorry that I did not name a Joseph earlier since I kept having boys; now their grandfather on both sides should be happy.
     Anthony took Jonathan and Richard came to see the baby in the hospital, the baby was not in my room so Jonathan stayed with me in the room; Anthony and Richard went to the nursery to get our baby. The nurse decided that they should wheel the baby’s nursery bed to my room, so the boys could enjoy their little brother. Richard was so excited and he was half running trying to keep up with everyone walking in the hallway to my room. He said, “Daddy, wait until mommy sees the baby we picked out for her.”
     When I called my mother to tell her the good news, she started to cry. First I thought she was too happy, then realized that something really bad happened. After a long cry, she finally told me that my aunt, her youngest sister had died while crossing street. My mother did not want to give me stress while I was expecting Joseph knowing that I was very close to her. I suddenly realized that I did have a few dreams about her, and told Anthony at the time.
     She died on Jan 7th, 1998, exactly the same day her older brother died two years before. She was only 53. I received a letter she wrote a week before she died. That was the first and last letter she wrote to me, she was talking about her family, her two daughters. Her letter reminded me of the good times that we had in Zigong years before. I missed her so I dreamed that we went shopping together. The street looked like the street in US, but crowded with Chinese people. Then we were at a crosswalk waiting for the light to turn with many other people. When the walk light came on, I was ready to cross, but my aunt was not next me, I turned around looking for her in the crowd, but I could not find her. I was worried in my dream; I was looking all over for her.
She did not cross at crosswalk. My dream made sense now. 
     I felt so bad. My youngest aunt died on the same day as my youngest uncle; what kind of fate was that? I asked my mom how much money I should send to her family since it was so late. She said she already sent money with my name too. Still I sent $150 to them to make myself feel better. Strange things happened after that; I dreamed that my aunt came to visit me in my house here in US. She brought two tickets to watch a play "Miss Saigon" at the Wang Theater in Boston. She told me that she would watch my three boys; Anthony and I could go since we had never went out alone. Although it was my wish to watch the play at the time. I asked her why she spent money on me since she or me could not really afford the tickets. Chinese money was 8 Yuan to 1 dollar at the time. We were in our unfinished basement arguing about the tickets. I did not question why we were down there instead of my living room or kitchen; in my dream, it was almost normal and accepted. It only felt strange after I woke up. Then my cousin returned my check with a thank you card. Somehow I did not date the check. She could not cash the check in China. That was weird because I never forget to put the date on the right corner when I wrote a check. My aunt must have known that we were struggling with Anthony’s salary alone raising a family of five with a huge mortgage to pay. She must have made me forget the date. I dated the check and sent it out again.
     My youngest aunt used to take me on her shoulders back and forth to the local clinic. I was sick almost all the time.  I spent a lot of time with her when I was living with my grandparents.