For older members of my mother's family it is a tradition to publish a memory book for the cremation of the family member. Family members can write whatever they like: memories, stories, lessons learned, etc. This is the first time I have felt that I really needed to write for a family member, but, at the same time, I was at a loss as to how to go about my writing. Originally, I wanted to write about a bunch of individual memories, but then I couldn't think of a memory for every time that we met. Some memories were also too private to be share. Below is what I created for the book.
When you are young and you leave, you take it for granted that you will see each other again. I don’t take it for granted anymore. I always thought that Yai Pat would come to my wedding and meet my children. I thought that I would continue to have opportunities to go and visit my relatives in Thailand, but time and distance sometimes get in the way.
I first met Yai Pat in 1982 when I was seven years old. My parents and I were visiting Thailand for my first time, and Yai Pat was there to pick us up from the airport. I remember Yai Pat had a Volkswagen Bug that I wanted to ride in because my mom was riding in that car. Yai Pat insisted that I ride in the pickup truck with my dad because it was air conditioned. During this trip, I celebrated my eighth birthday in Phrae. Yai Pat sent me a telegram that was typed in English that said, “Happy Birthday Love, Pipat”. I wish I still had it today.
Throughout my young life I spent a great deal of time with Yai Pat considering that I live in the United States. When I would visit Thailand, I would always sleep in Yai Pat’s room where we would share stories as we lay in bed at night. Yai Pat made sure that my time in Thailand was fun. She arranged trips for me to places around Bangkok as well as to visit relatives and friends in Phrae, Yala, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Surin, Singapore, Koh Samui, etc. Because of her I got to spend time with family and see sights that I may not have known I wanted to see. I appreciate all the lessons she taught me, and all the memories I have with Yai Pat. I only wish that she could have lived until we met again on Earth.