至死不渝 – till death do us part

Or Momzilla. But no, no – it won’t be a post about her. Maybe a little bit. I usually joke around or try to laugh about things around me… not today. Why so serious, all of a sudden? image

Let me tell you this. As a wife of industrial engineer I start to see the world in his way. And interracial, intercultural and international relationships are little bit like industrial engineering– you need to find the easiest and most efficient way to make that relationship work. Therefore you plan your future – you ask yourself questions like ‘Where are we going to live?’, ‘Where should we spend next holidays?’ or ‘Whose parents we should visit this time’. I think I can say it’s bit more difficult for long distance couples to make plans for future.

Since we already got rid of problems like ‘What will happen to our relationship, can we make this thing work?’, we slowly settle our next few years: new house, my 9484_0c56comeback to school, maybe even a baby in 2-3 years (no, Momzilla, not 2-3 children). But Sing being Sing cannot make it normal. His future plans are far beyond that point when we might have a child. He already wonders what happens when I die. He told me he thought of it since we started to date (why didn’t I run away?)…
Gee, thanks Honey. That’s… creepy.

The very first time we talked about it was after watching Disney-Pixar’s ‘UP’. If you haven’t seen it, it starts with 8 minutes of love story between Carl and Ellie that ends up with her sickness and death. She was still alive when my brave and emotionally stable at-that-time-boyfriend cried in my arms that he doesn’t want me to die. Even until today anything connected to that 8 minutes, including soundtrack is forbidden unless I want to make him cry and I’m pretty sure since I put a graphic from UP he won’t even read this post. Just imagine your face when Mufasa died and make it 10 times more painful. I even asked him:

– Babe, why do you do that? 
– To make my pain smaller once you or anyone else around me dies.
– So in your mind you didn’t kill only me but also the rest of our families?
– No, not my sister. She’s lucky, she will live longer than anyone.

I know what you think ‘Why?’ and ‘You still can just stay in Europe, hidden away’. Don’t worry, I sometimes felt my husband is creepy, you’re not alone. But then few things happen in our lives including my surgery, few months ago we had a car accident that involved 5 cars (lucky for us it was just a hit from the back in the traffic jam) and a shooting in front of our house not longer image 2than 2-3 weeks ago. The three of us hid in the bathroom, the safest place, and I cried down on the floor that I don’t want to be here and I hate this place.

Those small things made me realize the thing that I tried to deny and joke about, my husband’s fears are not that stupid. Death can come suddenly. I remember when I felt the hit from the other car first thing I did, I looked at Sing if he’s fine. I didn’t know where the hit came from since I was playing with my phone and at that moment I was scared something can happen to him. Everyday he makes total of 50 miles to work and to come back home. When my dad had heart attack my mom was lucky to make it for the earlier bus, if she came with the regular one my dad might not be here today. Coincidence or fate, I don’t know, but I know it can happen to anyone, anytime.

And here we are with our intercultural, interracial and international, far from hometowns marriage problem. If something like that happens, what’s next? Right after marriage my parents moved to South part of Poland, leaving their families 300 km away up North. Today I can see how much trouble for them is to visit the family or go to family’s graves. I remember there was even a period when they couldn’t go back for a couple of years. If 300 km can cause so much trouble, what about us? Polish-Hong Kong couple living in the US. There are many questions we asked each other, what we tried to discuss them. Have you wondered about those:

  • If we don’t have a child, will our families keep in touch?image 3
  • If we have one – how will the contact look like? 
  • Where will be the person buried? My parents want me to be with them in Poland. Sing wants to be buried with me that would mean his parents would need to come all the way to Poland to be with him.
  • If it’s Sing the one to die, can I agree to let his parents take him back to Hong Kong? And if I die, should I join him, as his last will, despite that my dad should not fly for so many hours?
  • Is it fair to expect Sing’s parents to be the one flying since they have more money, more time and less heart disease in the family?
  • If they decide to leave Sing with me, how can he be buried as non-Christian in a Christian cemetery? 
  • If both of us are dead, but we have a child, which family gets the custody? 

I try to see life as it is today and not to worry about tomorrow, but I feel it’s a good thing to settle those matters as early as we can reach consensus. We will be dead, but there will be people in grief after us. I don’t want to give any of my loved ones any more trouble or pain. I also don’t want our families to separate no matter what the future brings. I think that what scares me the most…

Are we the only one thinking about such things instead of ‘carpe diem’? Any advice you would have for us? I’m really curious about your take on this topic. And, oh God, we are pretty weird couple, but hey, that’s just life 🙂
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40 thoughts on “至死不渝 – till death do us part

    1. it really is, but things that happened in really short period of time made me really worried about those matters. I wish I could go with it so easily as Sing, I told him that if we have a child and we both are dead I would see his mother kidnapping the baby and his respond was like ‘so don’t die’. as a revenge I played soundtrack from UP. I try to deny the fact we might die any moment, but actually I think there’s a lot of things to settle, just in case… 😦

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  1. You actually think about all these questions? WOW. I never thought about that in depth. But well, I am not married yet. Don’t worry Lina, you are both young and healthy. It’s good to talk about things and make vague plans but don’t get paranoid. xoxo

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    1. I was OK until the shooting, Linda I’m telling you – no horror movie made me scared as much as I was scared that night. I won’t freak out and lock myself at home but that was pretty traumatic. I remember I looked at my phone, went to the toilet, I came back and I hear one shot. Then few more, we took his mother with us to the bathroom and I was crying like a baby. It was right in front of our house, luckily we move in next few months, but it just made me realize how close people can be to die. I try to stay positive, though, worst thing for me is eventual child custody, #parentsproblems 😉 and I must say you’re quite right – when I read about it again I sound kinda paranoid haha 🙂

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      1. no you are right, you have to think about these things certainly. I didn’t mean you are crazy or something. there is a lot of crazy sh*t going on in this world. Everybody is close to death every day at home, outside wherever.

        I didn’t mean to criticize. I understand that your post is about another problem of a interracial/intercultural couple on top of everything else. you need to think about DEATH. where will you be buried and stuff.

        I just didn’t expect to read something like that at 8 in the morning 😀 and like I said I am not married yet so I didn’t really think about it. But now I think you are right!Thanks Lina!

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        1. no, no Linda – I don’t feel offended or anything, more like I smile to myself and say ‘Lina, don’t be silly, you’re not THAT unlucky’ haha 🙂 it’s good to read a 3rd person’s view, someone who is outside and tell little sense in this 🙂 especially we have someone who really go paranoid (look: Momzilla and buying a house in different area so her Precious Little Treasure will stay alive :D)

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  2. While I am lucky enough to live in the US as an American married to a foreign husband, these questions have come up. My family is only 280 miles away and I’ve hardly seen them in the 3 and a half years we’ve been together. Up until this summer, I had seen HIS parents who live in Taiwan more than my own family. (actually a point on contention in our relationship, but that’s another story) I do talk to my family 2-3 a week and text my mother daily, but he speaks to his family once or twice a month. His sister speaks to them every day.

    If my husband were to pass away (I can’t even say that “d” word), I would have to move back to my parents. We haven’t taken a life insurance policy yet and since his business makes our money based on his skills, I wouldn’t have an income. We haven’t talked much about where we’d be buried, but we would probably be buried here in the US, unless his family insisted he be buried in Taiwan. In our relationship, he’s the Christian (though his family is Buddhist) and I do not have a religion, though I have been baptized and he has not. Well, someone somewhere will accept our dead bodies, right? haha.

    After being in a interracial relationship and having fought through culture differences, social expectations, dealt with immigration, judgmental and racist jabs, I do see why some people do not marry outside of their race. But, every day is like an adventure…. No marriage is easy. 🙂

    I’m glad you were okay in that accident and cannot believe you had a shooting so close!!! I live near Baltimore and it has a very high crime rate (especially shootings) and I’ve never even heard a gunshot here! Maybe you guys should move… That’s so scary!!!

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    1. thank you for your story, I’m so glad for it. Let’s believe what my husband told me – everyone should live 100 years for a perfect life circle so let’s keep it optimistic. although knowing prices in the US I hope you soon can be able to get some life insurance, even for small things like toothache or anything. people file bankruptcy because often they cannot afford paying off the hospital bill, i wouldn’t even think of it myself, but my dad was ‘perfectly healthy’ and then had a sudden heart attack at the age of 44, I had that accidents… hopefully you won’t need it at all 🙂 thank you once again!
      oh and we live in East Bay, not so far from Oakland, you might heard it’s not really a safe place. and if you and your husband visit East Bay I will be happy to be your guide around here 🙂 PS they will open a cat cafe in SF! 🙂

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  3. I like his logic!! Though my husband and I are 16 years apart (he doesn’t look nor act like it :)) Its just going to take us setting time aside to figure it out, though I’d rather plan and enjoy a vacation, haha. My dad recently thought he had a heart attack (was just nerve pain they discovered) but it was very difficult. I hadn’t seen him in almost a year and I couldn’t imagine a day where I couldn’t just call him for whatever. So I definitely understand!

    I tried to pitch the idea of a Cat Cafe to my sister in law in NYC… Now someone’s capitalizing on my idea! haha. My best friend from high school just moved to San Francisco so I foresee a trip to California in our future for sure and I will let you know!!! Thanks for the offer! And same for the East Coast! We live near Washington DC and Baltimore and frequently visit NYC. So if you’re ever on our side, we should for sure meet up! 🙂

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  4. There are many reasons for people to die all of a sudden. The thing is, I doubt some of your concerns will get easily resolved, the arguments/quarrels might go on until (touch wood) someone really dies. If Sing’s family is a traditional thinking one, I think they will definitely want you to be on their side, since you are married into his family.
    You are right, look on another perspective, it is because you don’t know what might happen tomorrow, better enjoy today while you still can 😉
    You talk about 300km, some of my cousins and relatives practically lives in the same city, like maybe 10 or 20km away, and we only meet once a year on Chinese New Year. We’re just not that close. When my parents leave eventually, I doubt we will even remain in touch. Yikes..

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    1. wow, that’s pretty sad. but on the other hand Sing haven’t seen his mother’s family for 10 years, until we got married. I try to enjoy, but last few months were crazy (not like I blame Momzilla, but so many bad things happening since she came… 😉 ). I think the child’s custody is the thing that scares me the most – I cannot imagine Momzilla giving up on the baby to my family. technically they are over 10 years younger than Sing’s parents, but his family is more rich so she can say she can hire a babysitter if she can’t move on her own. I’m the only child so my parents wouldn’t give up easily too. I think not many international couples think of those matters haha 🙂 I try to convince husband to write a will when I become pregnant, because now it’s only us, after death it doesn’t matter to us, we will be the dead one, but if there’s a baby it should be secured.

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  5. Hi! I don’t think your thoughts are weird. 😀 I think it’s pretty normal to worry about something that you can’t really control. My advice would be to keep talking about these things and to definitely do a will for each of you, especially after having a child. They are a tremendous pain to do but then it’s done and you can at least have some comfort. I’ve been working on ours and had put it off so thanks for the reminder!

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      1. Hmmm… I wouldn’t say difficult but perhaps we need to chat more. 😀 In Japan, once you leave the family home, you don’t usually become part of the family grave so that question is answered. I figure the ceremonies are more for my survivors’ benefit so it doesn’t matter to me. I recently became a donor of most of me and cremation is the norm in Japan, which I’m fine with. Where we do worry is our child, hence the will and confirming a guardian (and country to live in) and a solid executrix.

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  6. This is a really terrific and heartfelt post. And really tough to talk about. Last time I tried bringing up the idea of what would happen if or after I died, my husband just looked at me like I was nuts! It is something we do need to plan out sometime, though.

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    1. I think all men will try to deny the fact that life can end one day, same with my husband. He’s just like ‘then don’t die’ 🙂 It’s really tough to talk about, I was wondering should I even talk about it here since it’s not the nicest topic but it’s also part of life and part of a relationship too. Sad part, but it’s there.

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  7. We have talked about this topic recently, as my husband has lost a close relative and I realized my best friends are all without a father already and one of them widowed in her honeymoon.

    The thing is, even when we talk about it we know things wont be exactly like that. And we asked ourselves these questions but then..I started crying and promising I will make sure my future children know their dad very well.

    – If my husband dies will he be buried in his hometown?
    – If I die who will inform my family and how?
    – If I die how will my husband make sure my children visit and have regular contact with their grandpa in Spain?
    – If my husband dies should I stay living in China or move to Spain? If move to Spain, how should I stay in contact and send pics to the grandparents in China? (they dont have access to internet, is not even possible, not to say the post man does not even get to their door)

    – If I/he die, whats the plan? will you act like mom / dad is not the conversations anymore or you will tell beautiful stories / memories to the children?

    – Could I possibly get his surname if he passed away?

    – How to organize visits to the Chinese grandparents? Who will pay for what? Will I need to support them financially?

    – Do his parents expect to raise our children if my husband passes away?

    Aaaaand so on!

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    1. oh God, what a tragic story about the friend 😦 I can’t even say anything… wow, just wow. I’m so sorry for her.
      also your questions made me realize there’s actually much more than Sing and I should think about.

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  8. Early on that kind of talk can definitely seem creepy! YJ started talking about life/death stuff and preparation soon after we got together too.
    Minus the breakdown over the first minutes of UP, Sing’s planning and pondering is really sweet! (That must have been quite a shock, haha!) I read a story about a woman who was married to a Japanese man, and despite both his and her requests, close family swooped in and took over all the arrangements and provided all the preparations fora traditional funeral. It was what neither of them wanted, but she couldn’t argue against them at that point in time. Whatever you and Sing decide, it’s probably a good idea to involve relatives as well, so you know your wishes will be respected.
    Ugh, I hope you’re feeling better after the shooting. I’ve never experienced anything like that (and hope I don’t have to), but I imagine it must have been terrifying. 😦

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  9. My parents graves are 6000 miles away in Britain. I went last year and every 3 years I pay a local firm to clean and maintain it, plus some flowers to go on. When I die, who knows. Probably my ashes will be scattered in HK. We discuss the issue quite calmly. I think it is sensible to deal with these matters. We have wills made and I feel other than the natural grief the practical side would be well prepared. I pretty relaxed about ‘what happens next’ as I suspect the answer is ‘not a lot’.

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  10. This is the kind of thing I don’t want to think at all, neither about my little family now nor about my elderly parents. My wife on the other hand is also a person who “worries” ahead and that causes her sleepless nights too often.
    At least she agreed now not to worry about it (well, I bet she will worry about it secretly) till out lifes are settled in Germany.
    Right now on my families side we have graves scattered all around Europe so this makes it hard already to visit any of them more often than every few years. The interesting thing is, even though my wife worries about such things she actually as never even visited her grandparents graves because usually when we are in China her parents don’t want to go to the countryside…

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  11. Wow, very fatalist. Was not expecting this post from the usually cheery and funny you. You’re right though – death can happen any time, and things that we take for granted can result in major, negative changes without you, him or both.

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  12. I think you’re very pragmatic to talk about these topics. Like you said, it can happen anytime and although it is hard to talk about it (and just the thought of it might make you sad), the more of these things you discuss, the easier it will probably be if you ever have to deal with a situation like that. Nobody wishes for something like that to happen, but we all know that we can’t live forever.

    My husband wants to be buried where his grandfather is buried. To me, it’s not important where I get buried or where my ashes end up. If I die sooner than my husband, I just hope that he will take good care of himself and our son if he’s not old enough yet. And that my husband will find happiness again.

    We haven’t talked about all the details, like you though. It’s kind of hard to do so and I also start crying just like your husband.

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  13. Such a profound topic. I don’t usually think of death, but I do think what would happen if after getting married our relationship went wrong… More or less the same questions as Laura, would the families still be in contact, what about the kids, etc.

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    1. I just wanted to write to you about it… it’s actually 6.1, it woke me up, luckily it’s 55 miles away but I could feel it all the way here. And I don’t want to say anything, but someone *looks at Momzilla* said like 2 weeks ago there might be an earthquake…
      coincidence? i think not! 😉

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      1. The evidence is growing….

        I’m glad you’re OK. It’s just that if all that happened to where I live – earthquakes, shootings – especially writing about death so close it. It would be enough to tip me over and leave the place.

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        1. We are moving out – when I come back from Poland we are looking for a new home, but since I go for a month in 2 weeks I don’t want sing to pick it alone. Keep your fingers crossed for us not to die until that time! I have so many post ideas coming! 😉

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  14. Well just have a general idea what your joint wishes to be….and live everyday of your love together well.

    My 85 yr. old father is dying of cancer.. I lost a sister a few years ago. So yes, life does eventually end. Sometimes very unexpectedly.

    Do you plan to live in HK forever?

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  15. you bringing up important points here. it’s something that i wouldn’t mind bringing up myself to talk about with my partner, if i were to get married someday. i think it is a very logical thing to think about and a very mature thing to discuss to plan for the future. when one gets married, one marries the family, yes, which means many decisions will be made upon considering each partner’s family as well. though the people who have the right to make the final decision will be the couple, NOT the families. at least this is how i personally think.

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  16. Uncomfortable to contemplate but it’s good that you’re trying to put a plan together. I wouldn’t waste days and days on this though. Seems like a recipe for visiting a dark, dark place.

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  17. Wow Lina! This is a really good post! I mean, it is sad thinking about it, and I try not to think about it because I’m scared it will have a “negative effect” on how CC and I plan the future, but it is reality, and sooner or later we all got to face it.. But you and Sing are still young and healthy, even though scary things happen, at least you guys have each other 🙂 I used to be all “Carpe Diem” even got a tattoo that says it due to certain things that happened before, but enough about that 😛
    As of the move “UP” remember CC’s response on my question “will you feel like that when I die?” and he just answered “I’ll die before you >.< " well now after reading your post I'm going to make him reading this as well.
    Dont think too much about this though 😀

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  18. My boyfriend’s dad died in a car crash, and after seeing the way he drives in Korea, I am constantly on his case about a seat belt and driving carefully. It definitely worries me that it could happen, but I don’t want to dwell on it too much. Sure, you don’t want to make it more complicated than it is, but don’t stress too much over it.

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  19. I didn’t realise you were in a car accident and a shooting incident. that’s terrible!
    I think about it too. as I live in the UK with in-laws in North Africa and mine in South East Asia.
    My children will be in touch with both their paternal and maternal grandparents, using modern technology. I want to be buried in my home country but I think over time, it probably doesn’t matter much to me anymore. My husband and I think a lot more about reunion of soul afterlife rather than physical burial site but yes you are right, if we are at different places, that’s going to make it difficult for my children to visit our tombs. or you can have cremation like my grandparents and their ashes strewn to the sea without a burial place. That way it solved a lot of problem about not having to clean the cemetery every year. If both parents die, you appoint the most closest and trustworthy person to take care of your children, in the best living condition and better country.

    I think the questions you posed are hard ones… perhaps overtime there will be answers to some of those. For now, I think you should just sleep over it and let live! 🙂

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  20. questions like this is something that always floats up in my mind (tho I am still single…let alone hving kids), but then I thought: well~since I don’t like either of the choices (buried in aus or hk, incarnated or not), n plus I’d be dead be the time this plans goes into work (which also means I will never know what exactly happened anyway), I’ll just leave this headache to my family; be it my parents, my gf/wife (in the future) or my offspring (if I could be bothered). Either way, it doesn’t bother me (since I’m dead n I won’t be the one travelling all the way to visit my grave), but this issue will probs bother my surviving family more cuz they’re the ones paying the funeral bills, visiting my grave n ones who could still FEEL the grievances.

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