Saturday, September 27, 2014

Last Publication

My senior high school classmates gathered this evening at the apartment of Chun-Ting's parents. We sat in the living room silently listening to the conversation between our teacher and Chun-Ting's father.

Chun-Ting's father picked up some documents from the desk and started to explain to our teacher that this is his son's last publication: A Unique Set of Centrosome Proteins Requires Pericentrin for Spindle-Pole Localization and Spindle Orientation. He could barely continue with his explanation due to a sudden wave of sorrow reddened his nose and eyes.

"He should have at least lived to fifty," he later told us while explaining how he taught his son to cope with epilepsy. One of the things he taught was that don't ever go swimming because the seizures would be too strong and nobody would be able to pull him out of water. He then pointed us to one of the photos that were on display: Chun-Ting was wearing a life jacket, apparently doing some water sports. Along this line of thinking, he seemed to find his own explanation about his departed son.

Chung-Ting's father also expressed a deep regret toward his daughter-in-law, who is also our senior high school classmate. "They lived at different places, so how could they have children?" He explained with a gesture showing a figurative distance. It was something he could not tell our teacher when he was asked how many children the couple has. The only response that he could utter then was just "no", followed by an awkward pause.

Chung-Ting's family decided on what the primary photo would be used in his memorial services. It was took when Chung-Ting was waiting at a park in Boston for the Fourth-of-July fireworks to begin. He was holding a brochure and smiling broadly toward the camera. There was another candidate photo, that was took when the couple was moving to west coast. Their place was cleaned up and stuff packed. Chung-Ting was sitting on a chair seemingly looking out to a window. "It is also a nice photo, " Chung-Ting's father told us, "however, we all agreed on using the one that Chung-Ting looks directly at the camera."

Next morning, at 10AM, family members and friends will accompany Chung-Ting for his last trip on earth. They will escort Chung-Ting's ashes to a fine place at Yangmingshan. He will have a nice view there and we shall remember him fondly.
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