A gentle apparition

My mother, who died at 70 in 1967, made a brief reappearance here in San Francisco last week. It was during a visit I made to the bedside of Lik Kiu Ding, age 90-something (born in the jungles of Borneo he never knew exactly when.) I had not seen him in years, until learning he’s now at a nearby assisted living facility. Lik Kiu was like a son to my father, who helped him finish his education in the U.S. (at Randolph-Macon College in my hometown of Ashland, VA.) After his medical training Lik Kiu and his Chinese wife Lillian, also a physician, lived, worked and raised their family in Hong Kong, returning to the States before Lillian’s death of cancer in the ‘90s. (Her remarkable story is part of my book, Dying Unafraid.) Beaming from under his tightly-tucked blankets, Lik Kiu took my hand as I bent near, reached out one long finger to touch my cheek, pointing first to my eyes, then my mouth, then making small circles around my face. His daughter Mary, standing nearby, said, “You look like your mother, don’t you?” It’s true, I’m a double for my mother before her own health began to fail. For those few moments, trying not to cry over his still-handsome face, I evaporated. It was my mother who was holding his hand.

1 Comment

  1. My father's 45th anniversary was 14th July and I was writing an article on the late Dr. Ding Lik Kiu when I chanced upon your blog.How I wish I could experience that gentle apparition too!

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