My Mother’s Dream

About 20 years ago my mother woke up one morning and told my father, “I dreamed that your father came to me and asked me to accompany him to see a house of his. He showed me a back wall in the house that had water damage and asked if I could find someone to fix it.” My father said, “What did you say to him in the dream?” My mother said she was always the one he asked to do these kinds of things so this is how she answered him: “Ah Gon (Grandpa), this house is so old why don’t you just tear it down and build a new one?”

My father was getting very interested and wanted my mother to tell him more about the dream. My grandfather went on to say “San Saw (third –daughter-in- law) I do not own the land so I cannot tear it down and I can only fix it.”

Both my parents were puzzled by the dream. My mother was not someone whom you normally hear about her dreaming, or talked about intuition. She was a very logical and organized individual. She was the ”general” in the family and she was very pragmatic and made sure everyone was doing the right thing, she barked out orders to her maids and household helps more like a man than a woman. She was even surprised that she would have such a strange dream.

My father on the other hand was more of a nurturing and gentle person, even though he ran a major hospital in Hong Kong he was more right brain than my mother. He said, “ Ah Gon said he cannot own land, ah! Dead man cannot own land. It must be the tomb- let’s write back home and see if some thing is wrong with his tomb.”

Sure enough my cousins went to see the plot and found that the farmers next to the cemetery plot had dug irrigation too close to the tomb that there was a lot of water seeping through the back wall of the tomb where my great –grand mother and my grand father and grad mother were buried!

I recalled how my father picked up a “sign” from the communist officer’s hint and that was how he decided to run for his life and escape from China to Hong Kong. He was always the intuitive one. In the last blog post I mentioned that after communist came to China, my family fled to different parts of the world. We went to Hong Kong and my uncle and second aunt were in U. S. at the time and they stayed in U.S. The rest of the family ran to different provinces, so we were spread out across the globe on multiple continents.

My cousins traveled back to Fujien to track the cemetery plot that my great- grand – mother bought for her eventual burial. She had chosen a plot with the advice of a Feng Shiu master and he mentioned that this site will promote prosperity of the female line in our family. My parent immediately send $3,000 Hong Kong currency back to have the site fixed and redirect the irrigation to a different area so the tombs are no longer wet.

A few years later my cousin Jean was able to migrate to U.S. She told me about her trip with my other male cousin “Smiley.” They received the money and found a worker to fix the problem. Jean said, “I was so overwhelmed by the fate of our family, here we were overseeing the construction of the re-routing of the irrigation and feeling very emotional about what happened to our family. I felt so sad!” She was 11 at the time and she was a very good playmate with my oldest brother. No one would have guessed that within 3 years after Great- grand – mother’s centennial birthday the family have to all run away. That just showed that life was very fragile and very unpredictable.

My cousin Jean and Smiley had suffered tremendously during that period of time and they went through famine and were sent to reeducation camp. They endured a lot and both have very sad and devastating lives in China. My cousin Jean said, “I was thinking maybe we should rearrange the tomb so the good luck may come our way instead of only for those who left China.” Of course they did not do that but she cannot stop wishing for a better life!

This was a story that my mother told me, and at the time I thought it was kind of bizarre that my grandfather would come to my mother’s dream to fix a problem of his tomb. This story made me even more curious to find out more about my family. I traveled back to see my cousins in 1980′s and found out a lot about them and reconnected to the Chinese side of my life even though I had been in United States for so many years.

I have learned that even under some of the most unexpected circumstances, even if you lose everything like we did in our family, that your spirit is still intact. My grand father’s spirit was so strong that he could send a message through a dream to my mother. It reunited my cousins. The upheaval in our family had actually made us stronger and we were given some very powerful lessons.

I noticed that through all this upheaval, our family had a set of values that guided us. For example we do not put high value to material things because we found out that at a moment of notice you may have to leave without any of them. We valued loyalty because it was the loyalty of many people that came forward to help us so we could survive. We have strong family bond because even though our family was dispersed all over the world, we supported each other for 30 years from a distance (we never stopped sending money to our maternal grand father after he had fallen out of grace. We valued tenacity and resourcefulness so we could survive no matter what “monsters” life dished out at us.

I noticed that we are going through a very turbulent time. Many lives are turned upside down, so I hope to inspire and motivate you to look at the positive side. No matter what happens you need to go to your inner core and gather your strength and face life, and not be afraid. Follow the most important values you have and you will survive and come out even stronger and better, because human spirit is absolutely impossible to defeat.

Live life with passion, be in charge of your own health and ignite the beauty within you!



  1. Cass says:

    Hello, May

    Once more you have given us a story with strong encouragement for prevailing through turbulent times.

    Thanks, and many blessings, as ever,

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