|After 26 years of marriage, Lau Kar Leung's passing puts Mary Jean Reimer on the brink of collapse
|Yung Jing Jing reveals that she purchases 15 spots in Po Fook Hill. 9 are for Lau Kar Leung.
|Lau Kar Leung's family pray in the nunnery for his safe journey. His younger daughter even becomes vegetarian for him.
courtesy of minpgao.com
"We will always love you, pass on in peace."
Lau Kar Leung and Mary Jean Reimer (Yung Jing Jing)'s love of 26 years as a couple cannot avoid life stages of aging, illness and death. When Lau Kar Leung passed away in the arms of his wife Yung Jing Jing, she nearly collapsed from the sorrow. She had to move away from her home to calm down with meditation in a nunnery. Yesterday was the third day since her husband's passing. She along with family and friends performed ceremonies at the Buddhist Temple. She recalled Lau Kar Leung's 30 minutes in life as a struggle with death until she said to her husband, "We will always love you, pass on in peace!" She watched Lau Kar Leung's heart monitor returned to zero as he completed the life of a martial art grand master of a generation.
Since Lau Kar Leung's passing, Yung Jing Jing asked Nat Chan Pak Cheung to be the funeral committee chair while she hid away in a nunnery to pray for her late husband. Yesterday was the first ceremony for Lau Kar Leung, as an abbot led in the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra chant. Reporters attended as friends and respected Yung Jing Jing's wishes of no photos to pretend any disturbance.
At the ceremony older daughter Man Yi missed her father, held her mother and cried. The mother and daughters' crying embrace made people's heart ached. The chanting ceremony was over one hour long, Yung Jing Jing and her daughters were kneeling throughout. They were able to control their emotions but could not hold back sobs. The days after Master Lau passed, she brought the daughters to the nunnery and once had the impulse to stay there for the long run. For days they have been chanting in the morning with the abbot at the Temple, one of the abbots was the one who rushed to the hospital for Master Lau's last rite.
Yung Jing Jing recalled Lau Kar Leung's sudden condition deterioration. She said that her husband transferred from the Prince of Wales Hospital to the Union Hospital, she and their daughters also moved to the hospital to take care of him. At the time his pneumonia has worsen and the respirator was already useless. His will to live was strong and he would rather be intubated. On June 25 when he reached the final moment of his life, he was extubated and taken off other life support machine except the heart beat monitor. Yung Jing Jing sat on the bed and held Master Lau in her arms. Family and friends who were present each bid him farewell. At this time he could no longer speak, but his heart beats showed responses. Yung Jing Jing said, "When I said that a watch was being repaired and hasn't been picked up yet, his heart beat especially fast. He struggled for half a hour without a respirator. Sometimes when his heart beat slower it would suddenly pick up again. I felt that he was struggling. Finally I touched his chest and said that we would always love him and told me to pass on in peace. He then breathed his final breath. When I held him his body was very soft and fragrant. He was very peaceful." She personally cleaned Master Lau for the final time and even applied chap stick for him.
Speaking of buying a place for Master Lau's ashes early on, Yung Jing Jing said, "Only after seeing his condition deteriorating did I start to look for a spot for the ashes. Luckily with a friend's help I bought 15 connected spots in Po Fook Hill. I once suggested burial in Macau, but he declined. He would rather be cremated. I took photos of the spots to show him and he was very pleased. I planned to use 9 spots for him, with a couplet on the sides. The six spots on each side will be reserved for when his beloved required them."
Yung Jing Jing refused to reveal how much she spent. Reporters called Po Fook Hill to inquire about prices. The highest price for the center spots was 520,000, the estimate for 15 spots was HK$7.8 million.
Yung Jing Jing said, "Kar Leung and I talked about a lot of things, and we have seen through life and death. I asked if he wanted a low key funeral? He said it had to be appropriate. So I wanted to do this final thing well for him. Because he trusted Chan Pak Cheung, he helped. He and (Eric) Tsang Chi Wai have helped me the most. I wanted the funeral to have film and kung fu elements and to be positive."
Yung Jing Jing secretly arranged for his children with his former wife to meet with Lau Kar Leung. His only son saw his father off on his final journey. She said, "He had little contact with his children with his former wife, I asked Ka Wing to asked his brother if he wanted to see them and asked them to visit their father at the hospital. I knew that it was very important for children to see their father one last time. Since my daughters can see Papa, his former wife's children should be able to see their father; when Kar Leung left, his son was by his side. Actually we held no grudge, they respected me. Seeing each other again after so many years, we hug and comforted each other."
Yung Jing Jing missed Lau Kar Leung's romance. They liked to take wedding photos and had many around the home. They even had two weddings, they were rumored to have married in 1984. She said, "Actually we registered in Singapore in 1987, in 1990 we again went to the U.S. to register our marriage. Actually we wanted to register again in Hong Kong but we were denied. Each time we registered the marriage we meant to solidify our relationship. Lau Kar Leung was very romantic. On the day of his passing, the maid was missing. Actually she went downstairs to get flowers, as Kar Leung has asked long ago. He wanted to have two white roses on his pillow next to him when he passed!"
Did Master Lau have any last word for Yung Jing Jing? She said, "Of course we know what we wanted to say! I still know that he still loved me very much inside!"
Yesterday Yung Jing Jing posted on facebook, "Originally two butterflies in flight, now only one remain. Love is hard to leave and memories are hard to forget, only survivors know the pain." Lau Kar Leung and Yung Jing Jing's marriage caused quite a stir. Aside from their 30 year age difference, Lau Kar Leung also had a family at the time. He gave up everything in order to be with Yung Jing Jing. Back then Yung Jing Jing once said, in a previous life she was a canary that belonged to Lau Kar Leung, in this life she had to marry Lau Kar Leung to repay him.
Now Lau Kar Leung passed away, would Yung Jing Jing want to continue the relationship in the next life? She said, "I too thought about this question. The daughters said that in the next life they wanted to keep being Papa's family. I of course wanted to as well. Hopefully when he became someone in Heaven, we will meet again. However, remembering how painfully we loved in this lifetime, with 30 years difference we still ended up together. The abbots said that because we loved too deep in the previous life, in this life we would experience a lot. Perhaps next life it will still be this way, perhaps love will be even more tragic. Because I would rather Kar Leung reach Sukhavati I don't want him to be reincarnated. Our destiny should end with this life." When Yung Jing Jing emotionally collapsed she thought about staying in the nunnery for the long run. She said, "I know I still have a lot that I haven't done, if I stay here for the long run now the master of the temple may kick me out. No one knows what will happen in the future, in the end I may retire here."
Yung Jing Jing said that aside from Po Fook Hill, she also had tablet space for her husband at another temple. She even wanted to set up an altar at home. Different places would have ashes. She said, "Speaking of ashes, I feel the government is lacking in this aspect. Actually a person should be as much ash as an apple cardboard box, but when the family picks up the ashes it is just a small bag. The rest is treated like trash. How can an ancestor's ashes be handled this way? After I left the nunnery I still have to take care of this!"
Yung Jing Jing yesterday morning wrote on facebook, "I have to get up at 4:30AM for morning prayer, at 9AM I have to recite the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra. In the nunnery the pain of memory is less but the desire to join the nunnery is increased. Everything comes and goes with fate." She even received that her younger daughter decided to become a vegetarian for her father for the rest of her life.