Went to a funeral today — lovely 30-year-old woman killed by cancer before she and her young husband could finish their doctorates. She was Chinese and thus her parents’ only child.
No father should have to bury his daughter, or die without grandchildren. And I am ashamed of myself for not knowing more Chinese by now, as all I could do when standing face-to-face with that heart-broken old man was stammer a couple of sentences…我知道我不知道你的痛，可是我有女孩子…我的心给你们痛，我给你们祷告 was the best I could do, which isn’t very much, and then when he gave a long speech in reply all I could do was nod and shake his hand because I couldn’t understand his obviously heart-felt answer. My wife works so hard to help those cancer patients; I should be more help to her rather than just standing around smiling helplessly like a 美国傻瓜, an American idiot. I HAVE to get serious about the Mandarin.
UPDATE: Sorry, should have translated…”I know I don’t know your sorrow but I have daughters…my heart hurts for you, I am praying for you.” That’s what I was trying to say. I probably didn’t get it right.