"A lady never tells" - March 24, 2016

Wei 姨母 

My regrets I could not be on London when you passed this morning. I want you to know that you have been a focal point of inspiration in my life, and thus you shall remain. 
I can remember from a very early age imagining my jet setting auntie, lecturing in Paris and in London, looking fierce in her stylish clothes as she led the next generation, who would in turn accede her noble cause – that wonderful, 'eccentric' scientist I was (and am) proud to call my auntie - who lived by her own rules and had no fear shattering the status quo, from her ‘pulpit’ at Oxford U. to the extended world, wherein the most prized members of note existing in late 20th century intelligentsia existed in a special club that was dominated almost exclusively by men.

Far from ‘just’ an amazingly brilliant mind, you possessed a generosity of person and spirit that, as the product of two very different cultures, made me unafraid and proud of my maternal ancestral lineage as I grew to learn and appreciate the traditions of our peoples. It was through your example, and how you treated those you loved that I began to understand the importance in our culture to remember and always honor those traditions which have been passed down through generations since time immemorial. 

You should know that even in my most exalted years, it was to your ethic, your 'gung-ho' attitude in terms of achieving success on your own terms combined with a fearless, and seemingly effortless ability to break boundaries that I held myself accountable in all decisions, holding steadfast to the attributes of principle and character that would make any ‘rewards’ I received that much more significant, that much more special. I know that any and every time I would set down my suitcase, in a different city, in a different country, I would imagine you – traveling the world, defiantly showcasing across it that indomitable and impenetrable force of conviction, intelligence and spirit - and I would be immediately reminded of just how rich was the blood flowing through my veins.

The world has lost through your passing into that infinite realm a most generous contributor to man’s quest to understand, and to fight, for our human legacy.

You will be missed.

"He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound,
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake.
For singing till his heaven fills,
‘Tis love of earth that he instils,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup
And he the wine which overflows
to lift us with him as he goes.
Till lost on his aerial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings."

-George Meredith, the Lark Ascending, 1881