I want to tell you all a short story of the two great women in my immediate family: my mother (1919-2008) and my sister Wendy (1945-2012). Wendy just passed away this morning.
My mother and sister Wendy, circa 1970
In 1999, while I was in India helping save the Bengal tiger from extinction, Wendy was hit by a runaway garbage truck and sustained severe brain damage, but my mother withheld the bad news from me until my return to Vancouver. I asked her why, and she said, “What is the point to weigh you down for two months when you couldn’t do anything about it?” Such was the deeply considerate person that my mother was.
Some years later, accompanied by her husband – University of Hong Kong Sociology professor Dr. Nelson Chow – in a visit to Vancouver, Wendy could not even recognize me and, much to her sorrow, my mother. She could not recognize Nelson either when she first woke up from her coma back in 99. Even during that visit circa 2005, she still thought that Nelson was “just a friend”.
In her heydays, Wendy was a champion athlete (track and field), and gutsy to boot. By education and training she was a social worker, which often required her to go into the slums to visit her clients, where even the police feared to tread. And yet, she just marched right in, head held high, and no hoodlum would dare touch her.
My cousin Betty (who became a doctor), I (already plotting how to save animals and the planet), and Wendy (in her innate dignity).
Last week, my dear cousin Chris (FB name Siu Chris), who lives in Hong Kong, informed me that Wendy had suffered a fall, resulting in a blood clot in her brain, and had gone into a coma, one from which she would not this time awaken. Chris messaged me today that Wendy had passed away.
I wrote back to Chris, “Dearest cousin. Please again convey my eternal gratitude to Nelson. Ill-fated as my sister’s life was in this matter, she, and we all, were fortunate to have him as her care-giver. It takes a real man, true love and total dedication to do what he has done for Wendy and our whole family. A lesser man would have just walked away. I believe that in my sister’s heart of hearts she knew she was blessed at least in this regard.”
Chris wrote back, “Just bid farewell to her. May she find joy, peace & eternity in God’s Home together with aunt & uncle… Will send your heartfelt & sincere message to Nelson.”
On a philosophical note, Wendy was the most devout Christian (Catholic) in my family. There was not one day I was with her back in Hong Kong as a teenager when she did not fall on her knees and pray, while I was not only the black sheep of the family, but of the Church, and later blasted away at its incredibly evil Inquisition, slammed its ultimately arrogant “Infallibility”, and lapsed into having “no religion” (John Lennon). If God wanted to strike one of us dead, it should have been me, not Wendy.
My aunts (back row), Wendy in dad’s arms, my grandmothers, mom, cousin Naam, baby brother Matthew and me.
Finally, these are two great Chinese women, whom I love deeply, of whom I am immensely proud, and next time I hear anybody say anything like “I HATE the Chinese” and/or “the Chinese is an evil race”, I will tear his/her head off.
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)