April 26, 2015, Sunday
To honour the memory of Mikael, at his funeral, we requested our friends that, in lieu of flowers, they might consider donating money to the Artspace on the third floor of the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Church.
The Artspace would be dedicated to the memory of our son. We were pleased that close to $9000 was received to transform the Artspace into a multipurpose art gallery that hosts performances, visual art exhibits, language arts, and also serves as an intimate place of worship.
The dedication evening on June 24, 2011 was well attended by friends. A metallic plague with Mikael's own words embossed on it was affixed on one of the pillars of the room.
Nathan opened the dedication with his band. Mons played a song on the keyboard, I read two poems I wrote about our loss, and Debbie spoke. The rest of the evening was a cordial visit among friends.
I put together a collection of Mikael's photography and two of my paintings on Mikael's home-going at a corner for visitors to see. It was a great evening that celebrated Mikael's robust and productive life on this side of eternity.
In December 2010, a few short weeks after
Mikael's passing, we planted a 12-year-old
oak tree at Assiniboine Park at a spot at an elbow of the river where Mikael frequented with his kayaking and biking.
An oak is a slow growing tree. Being a 12-year-old, it looked small and scrawny, though the Park really
took great care of it by tubing the bottom of the tree
and placing a protective fence around it.
The tree thrived for four springs and summers until an absolutely senseless act of vandalism killed it. It broke my heart. It was a memorial of our son, and it's gone.
The Park Forester is a very nice young man. He appreciates the significance of the tree in our hearts. He promises to replant another tree, may not be an oak, in its place.
On Mikael's headstone where his ashes are buried, at Mons' creative suggestion, the latitude and longitude of the tree at the park was engraved so
one may easily find the tree with the use of these
coordinates: 49.873960 - 97.244460
The words on the plague at Artspace read as follows:
Funds Donated in Loving Memory of
Mikael Vincent Tien-Doe Chan
1984 - 2009
Composer, singer, oboist, photographer,
writer, adventurer, lover of the down-and-out
and a faithful servant of God.
"A life full of friendships and close relations
a life full of love, a life full of music,
a life full of adventure and activity,
a life full of contemplation and spirituality."
Another "coincidence" happened when a teacher of ours, Tara Brown, was carrying twins last fall. Unfortunately, there was serious biological complications with regards to to the embryonic development of the twins. After an emergency procedure in a Toronto hospital, the concern lingered.
Premature birth contractions necessitated a C-section delivery of the twin boys at St. Boniface Hospital. Breaking the parents' hearts, one twin, Lukas, did not make it. The second twin boy, though not out of the woods yet due to a severe intestinal infection, is hanging on for dear life like a warrior. He is named Makale, and I suspect that Tara might have name him after our Mikael.
I do not know. But, I shall inquire in due course when Makale grow sup to be a healthy, strong, and intelligent boy.
Bless Tara's heart, to honour me and our grandson about whom I bragged abundantly, she and her class of Grade 3 students created a picture book based on the lovely lyrics of Louis Armstrong's famous "What a Wonderful World". The students painted the pictures, and Tara sent it to a printer in the U.S.A. to be printed and bound as an early childhood board book dedicated to Atticus, our grandson.
Tara, I am so moved and grateful!!!