In the past two months, due to the deterioration of her health, I and Charles would visit Mama Lima more often than we used to. In order to cheer her up - with the blessings of her children – I encouraged Mama Lima to tell her life story to me, and I would record them for her, and eventually put them in writing. I thank our Lord for His grace, that I had this opportunity to know a strong, resolute and steadfast person, a true warrior of life.
Mama Lima was a fervent literary writer, she would publish her work in the local newspaper. I was asked to select a couple of her work and translate them into English, so that her grandchildren can get to know their grand mom from a different angle. Through this task, I got to know another side of Mama Lima. She was thoughtful, conscientious and quite romantic.
While at church, the Mama Lima we saw had always been somewhat restrained and quiet. Little did we know that she was a strong willed and out spoken person. Her children claimed that she had loads of friends and they all loved and respected her very much. It is true, that Mama Lima lived affluently, but that’s not why people respect and love her. They loved her because of her generosity, because she shares her wealth with others. This is a true sense of wealth.
Mr. and Mrs. Lima always (and always) dressed properly and beautifully. I always wonder why. I found my answer when I was working on her life story. When they were young teachers that didn’t get paid that much; Papa Lima started a side business to supplement his income by running a photography studio. He was a photographer! His job was to catch the best shots, to record that best moment of that person on the film to be remembered forever. I then realized that they were always in front of the camera lenses, not to boast about themselves, but to exercise self- reflection continuously throughout their life.
While reminiscing, Mama Lima mentioned their unsuccessful investment experience in the US. From what she told, I came to know even more about the good characters of Mama Lima. The business they invested involved a lot of hard work, Mama Lima would not shrink from the hardship and toil of running a supermarket and other retail business. Mama Lima was a sensible business woman, her philosophy for successful business is knowing when to fold. After a period of time, she decided that it wasn’t a good investment, and they wrapped up the business and went back home to Hong Kong. What a determined and sensible business woman she was!
In the last few hours before Mama Lima passed away, I was honored to be there with her loving family to witness the ending of the final battle of her life journey. To a lot people, this may be the loneliest time of their life. But I believe Mama Lima knew she wasn’t alone, because she had faith in God, she had hope for the eternal life. Many times, when she was weak and depressed, I would asked her would she like me to read her some scriptures or hear me tell her the stories in the Bible. She would earnestly agree. Before her passing, we did that. Her life journey ended with the affirmation of God’s words and she went to rest in His eternal peace.
I want to thank the Lima family once again for giving me this opportunity to be part of this most important, most solemn and most beautiful journey with them.
Every shot of the journey has been truthful and faithful.