Yuanjin (Jane)'s Life

A Tribute To Mama {中文在下)

Over the past two days I’ve been thinking a lot about how to express the feelings I have for my mom. Simple words like love, admiration, sadness and pride seem so inadequate to give full justice to the emotions I have inside me. I think the best way is to share  my personal origins for these words. 

Love for ones mother is universal around the world. From the moment we were conceived, mom was the one that nourished us, kept us safe, putting our needs ahead of her own and preparing us the best she could to face the world. This continued long after we left her womb and eventually from under her roof. Even though I have lived thousands of miles away from her in the last 16 years, I knew there was not a single day she did not worry about my wellbeing. If she couldn’t reach me on the phone or text, she would panic thinking the worst case scenario. I knew I had to call or text back before she called the local police to do a welfare check on me. Knowing she was always there for me, willing to do whatever and whenever I needed it has been the biggest source of assurance for my self confidence. I never fully appreciated that until it was gone. But looking back, I realize she has supported me in ways that I didn’t even realize. That is love, the only kind of love one can have from a mother. 

There are many qualities I admire in my mom. But at the top of that list is her work ethic and integrity. I have always heard her say “吃点苦不要紧” which can be loosely translated as “its okay to eat some bitterness (or endure some hardship)”. She has lived that mantra all her life, from her younger days in China during the political turmoils of the 1960s and 70s, to being a full time working mom raising two kids in a whole new country in the 90s. She never complained about hard work, instead she embraced it because it made her feel useful and valued. She worked weekdays and weekends, rarely taking any days off. Whenever people would say “you should enjoy life”, she said she is enjoying life by going to work. In the months since she became sick, I’ve heard many stories of how she had inspired her colleagues with her positive spirit and upbeat attitude. She is an example to us all, especially when we are not at our best. 

Integrity is another character trait that she held dear to. When I was a kid, I knew that nothing would infuriate her faster than not being truthful. The only times I got thoroughly spanked was when she caught me being intentionally dishonest. She can not tolerate any form of lying or cheating. Part of that is from her upbringing as my grandparents were the same way. But the other part is from her own observations of what makes a person respectable and valued. She always told me to not judge a person by their appearances or wealth but by their character. A person’s true worth is their trustworthiness, she says, if you cannot trust them, you cannot have an honest relationship with them. I took this to heart and it has saved me from some serious life consequences. Thank you mom for teaching me that. 

Last but not least, my mom was a kind person. Becoming a nurse was something she cherished because she felt it was a compassionate calling from God to help people in need. But before she became a nurse, she was an educator in Shanghai, China. She taught high school and served as assistant principal before emigrating to the United States. In her role as a teacher, she has touched many lives with her dedication and kindness. Many of her students still keep in close touch with her even after four decades because of how much she had impacted their lives. This is the ultimate testimony of her kindness and selfless dedication to making other people’s lives a little better. 

Hers was a life well lived because she gave so much in service of others. I could not be any prouder of my wonderful mother. She will be dearly missed by all whose lives she has impacted. But as long as her memories are alive in those she has left behind, she is still with us in spirit. 

I love you mama 







妈妈的一生没有虚度, 因为她为别人付出了很多。我为我的好妈妈感到无比自豪。所有受到她影响的人都会深切地怀念她。只要对她的回忆依然活在大家心中,她的精神就与我们同在。


翻译: 承安, 王静莉

爱妻吴元瑾因晚期肺癌扩展至脑部于太平洋时间晚上7:09 PM 11/14/2019 在San Ramon, California USA 逝世,享年70岁。瑾瑾走时突然,但是平靜安祥。
为了不让大家担心她生重病, 她坚持不让更多人知道她病了并且是致命的病,同事和朋友不 知道,甚至她的弟弟妹妹们也不知道。她操劳了一辈子。看到她用过的或有关的东西,我都会情不止禁地落泪和抽沮,愿她在天堂不要再这麽累,不要再逞强。