In 2012, we received the saddest news about our friend Liren on the night of March 6th. I remember Jack’s face standing at the door way in complete utter shock! I was in the middle of battling and recovering from cervical spondolysis. I was in complete shock too when Jack told me what had happened. It couldn’t be true!!! Just could NOT be true. He was too young. He’s our friend. How can this happen to our friend? That night, we did not sleep. We were in shock for days and weeks to come after receiving the news. What’s worse, we couldn’t attend in person for Liren’s Memorial Service in LA.
The news of Liren hit us hard on so many levels. It still gets me tearful writing about it. Like Jack’s, Liren’s birthday was also in March. If I am not mistaken, he died 12 days before his 45th birthday. Jack met Liren in their sophomore year of college in Austin, and have been good friends ever since. He was the Best Man at our wedding almost 14 years ago! Jack was one of the groomsmen at Liren’s wedding! How could this have happened? He was too young to leave us. Too soon! Too young! It’s just not fair. Not possible.
And here we are two years later. Today is the 2 year anniversary of Liren’s death. Every year around March and April, we have many celebrations within our family. And each year since 2012 it hasn’t been the same for us. We remember and feel the void of Liren’s presence at the same time struggle to celebrate and cherish the fact that we crossed paths. I won’t deny that it makes me feel very sad when I think of Liren, around this time of the year and his daughter, growing up without her father. As a Mum, there are so many emotions I simply cannot express here in words. And I feel deeply thankful that Emma has her Daddy around today, and hopefully around for a very long time.
So last year when we discovered about the possibility of funding a project to renovate a classroom in Mae Sot, Thailand we decided to participate. Mae Sot for me is little Burma, sort of home away from home!
The week before we went to Mae Sot in August of 2013, we received a message from the project leader wondering what we wanted the plaque to say? What???? What plaque? Without hesitation Jack suggested dedicating this effort to Liren. I quickly agreed.
And that’s the way we want to celebrate the life of our dear friend, Dr. Liren Shih watching over those children in Mae Sot!
On 7 and 8th August 2013, in your memory and honor, we dedicated our time, effort and cost to rehabilitate a classroom for 30 Burmese migrant students at the Children’s Development Center with the staff of Stay in School Program and Ironwood (a social enterprise). May you rest in peace. You are missed my dear friend.
You can find many pictures HERE posted by Ironwood, a social enterprise located in Mae Sot, Thailand that supports and trains many immigrants from Burma.
Liren (left) and Jack, in Austin, friends since 1986
During our road trip sabbatical in 2009 we had a chance to spend time with Liren on Manhattan beach. Here are a set of pictures we have on our Facebook page from that trip when Emma was 6.
The last time we spent time with Liren and his family was in July 2010 before we moved to Thailand.
Try and try you must. Make every effort to reunite with those you care about. You never know if that’s the last time you’ll see and hug them before they leave us forever.
Thanks Dear Liren for being in our lives. Thanks for the memories. I know you’re looking down on us, keeping us safe and guiding us.
We Say YES to Attitude of Gratitude
We Say NO to Status Quo
Live Green. Live Small. Give Large. Take Little.
Take Notice. Take Action.