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祖母的生日会亦是追思会

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小编摘要:祖母的生日会办成了追思会,这是祖母的智慧和幽默!

My mother taught me the value of humor, especially when it comes to laughing at yourself,” my father told a group of 80 family members and friends. Was this a memorial service? In a way, it was—with one exception: my dad’s mother was sitting in the front, alive and well. And smiling even.


我老妈曾教导我幽默的重要性,特别是在自嘲方面,”我爸跟一群人这样说道。这80个人中,有我们的亲戚,也有朋友。在举行追思会吗?从某种角度来说,的确是——但和普通的追思会有一点不同:我爸的老妈正坐在最前面,她活得好好的呢,甚至还面带微笑。

 

 

祖母

 


The occasion was my grandmother’s 80th birthday party. Family and friends from all corners of the globe had gathered to celebrate her life—one of my cousins flew in from France, another was there from Nepal, and others had traveled from all over the United States. Four generations were represented, from my grandmother on down to her great-grandson. My grandmother’s oldest living school friend was even able to make it.


那次是我祖母八十大寿。亲友们都从世界各个角落过来,聚在一起为她庆生——我有个表亲从法国飞回来,还有一个从尼泊尔过来,其他的都从美国各地赶来。我们四代同堂,从祖母那代开始,到她的曾孙。甚至连我祖母那还在世的一位年龄最大的同学也到了。


The last time I had seen many of these people was at my grandfather’s memorial service several years ago. At his service, I was moved to hear their stories about my grandfather and how much he meant to them. Of course, the stories would have meant even more if my grandfather had been there to hear how much he was loved and appreciated.


我最近一次见到他们中的大部分人是几年前在我祖父的追思会上。那次追思会,听到他们说起祖父的故事,说祖父对他们有多重要,让我很感动。当然,如果我祖父在场,听到他如何受人爱戴和感激,那些故事会显得更有意义。


But this time, at my grandmother’s party, things were different: we were reveling in sharing our stories of and love for this amazing person—who had made such a difference in all our lives—while she is still with us.


而这次,在我祖母的生日会上,一切都不同了:我们陶醉于分享这位令人惊叹的人物的故事,分享我们对她的爱——是她让我们所有人的生活如此不同——当她还在世的时候。


Our immediate family acted as hosts and hostesses, greeting partygoers and helping them answer questions to the “Did-you-know-this-about-Jean?” quiz that served as an icebreaker. Before long, the stories were flowing. “Did you know Jean played the piano?” I overheard one friend ask another. “Hmmm, that must have been before she got arthritis,” the other replied. “Actually, she used to make up songs on the piano for me when I was a little girl,” I interjected. “Once when I was five, I pointed to a picture in a book of Christmas carols and asked her to play it. She proceeded to play and sing a festive and fun song that did indeed match that picture, and I loved it—not knowing at the time that she had made it up on the spot.”


我们这些最亲的儿女子孙充当了主人的角色,招呼来参加生日会的宾客,为了搞气氛,我们设计了“你知道关于吉恩的这件事吗?”问答环节,宾客如果不会回答,我们还会提示帮忙。不一会儿,一个又一个关于祖母的故事就来了。“你知道吉恩会弹钢琴吗?”我无意中听到一个朋友在问另一个朋友。“嗯……那肯定是在她得关节炎之前的事了。”另一个朋友回答道。“事实上,她过去常弹钢琴为我作曲,那时我还是个小女孩。”我插嘴道,“有一次,那时我只有五岁,我指着一本圣诞颂歌集上的一幅图让她弹奏出来给我听。她真的弹了,还唱了一首很有节日气氛的欢快的歌曲,真的和那幅图的感觉很吻合,我很喜欢,但那时不知道原来是她即兴编出来的。”


My grandmother’s friends who didn’t know each other previously were chatting with one another lightheartedly. My grandmother and her oldest friend were giggling like schoolgirls. In place of tears streaming down our faces, like at my grandfather’s memorial service, there were smiles as we moved about the room. And when it came time to sing some of my grandmother’s favorite songs, it was done with merriment rather than sadness and regret.


我祖母的那些朋友,有些之前互不相识,聚在一起就自然轻松地攀谈起来了。我祖母和那位年纪最大的老朋友格格笑起来的样子就像小女生。不像我祖父追思会上那种大家泪如泉涌的场景,这次,我们在屋子里走动,看到大家都是面带笑容的。到了要唱一些我祖母最喜欢的歌曲时,大家都是兴高采烈地唱,而不是带着悲伤和遗憾的心情。


My grandmother’s one birthday request, besides having all her children, grandchildren, and one great-grandchild present, was to have photographs taken of the whole family on this happy occasion. Since the photos don’t tell the whole story, though, I have decided to take this one step further by working on an oral history of our family, beginning with stories about my grandmother as well as stories told by her. This way we can preserve a part of this day that was spent celebrating her life. And we can pass this celebration of both my grandmother and her family on to generations who have yet to be born.


祖母除了想自己的子孙(包括一个曾孙)齐聚一堂之外,还有一个生日愿望——全家人在这快乐的聚会里拍一张家庭大合照。由于照片并不会自己讲述故事,所以我决定再进一步,收集整理口述家族史,从祖母的故事以及她讲述的故事开始。这样,为她庆生的这一天的记忆就能保存下来。我们还能把祖母和她家人的这段庆祝片断留传给尚未出世的后代。


At my grandmother’s party, I learned things about her that I never knew—like, for example, that she had driven her three young boys across the country by herself when my grandfather was across the ocean flying on missions for the Air Force. Around the time of my grandfather’s memorial service, I had learned a lot of interesting things about him, too. For instance, I knew before that he had flown in three wars, but I didn’t know any of the specifics. After he died, I found out that he had received many medals and had rescued a great number of people. I still don’t know, though, what my grandfather felt about his experiences: he must have been scared during wartime. How did he deal with that? How did serving in each of these wars change him as a person? He never offered this information, and I never asked.


在我祖母的生日会上,我了解到一些之前从不知道的事情,比如,当年我祖父飞越大洋执行空军任务时,她曾自己开车载着三个小儿子穿越美国。在我祖父的追思会期间,我也听说了很多关于他的有趣的事。比如,我之前只知道他生前曾在三场战役中执行空军任务,但不清楚任何细节。他去世后,我发现他曾获得很多勋章,拯救了不少人。但我仍不了解祖父对自己这些经历的感受。他在战场上肯定也害怕过。他怎么调整那种情绪?参与这三次战役,每一次的经历使他发生了什么改变?他从未提过这些,我也从未问起。


But I still have the chance to ask my grandmother about her life, her feelings, her fears and her dreams. There are so many things to learn from her: How did she handle questions from her children about their father during wartime? How did she handle her own fears about whether or not her husband would return each time he had to leave? What were her dreams when she was younger? What are they now?


但我仍有机会追问祖母有关她的人生,她的感受,她的恐惧和她的梦想。从她身上有那么多东西可以问:战争期间,孩子问起他们的父亲时,她如何回答那些问题?每次当丈夫得离开,她如何应对自己对丈夫是否能归来的恐惧?她年轻时有过什么梦想?现在都已实现了吗?


Often we see the people we love on a regular basis and take them for granted because they’re always there. We get into a routine of talking about the weather, what we did yesterday, or who won the baseball game. But do we really know each other? You can always make the first move to find out. Unconditional love is a wonderful thing, but taking a step further by truly getting to know someone you love is a way to honor both that person and the relationship you have with them. I’m excited to begin my project of interviewing and tape-recording everyone in my family—it will help me get to know them all better. After I’ve attained a substantial collection of stories from and about our family, I’ll have the tape made into a CD and will give a copy to each member of our family to keep.


我们经常见到所爱的人,不把他们当一回事,因为他们总在身边。我们例行公事般地谈论起天气,谈论昨天做了什么,或者谁赢了篮球赛。但我们真的互相了解吗?你总可以迈出第一步去寻找这其中的答案。无条件的爱是很美妙的东西,但迈出更大的一步去真心了解你爱的那个人是尊重他,也是尊重你们之间关系的一种方式。开始这样一项对家里每一个人进行采访和录音的计划让我很兴奋——这能帮助我更好地了解他们。等我从家人和外人那儿了解到翔实的家族故事之后,我会把录下来的内容刻进一张CD,分发给家族每一位成员保存。


I’m starting with my grandmother.


我将先从我祖母着手!

1
2011-04-27 14:34 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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