So much has occurred since I last wrote  several months ago, even though I only  just published it a week or so ago.

The biggest news is that my family and I have been to Paris and back. The way things were playing havoc with my stomach, I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it, so I am very grateful I did. For those of you who don’t know, my daughter, Jenn, has been researching my father’s artwork this past year and half. It was happening at the same time that my family and I were also dealing with my cancer.

I have blogged about the trip on my father’s newly launched website, so without my going into all the details, please go to: http://www.liujipiao.com. if you’re interested in learning more about it.  One thing I will say is that discovering that my father has a place in building modern China through his architectural work was a surprise to us since we were only wanting to trace our family heritage.

Who knows why Jenn started looking into this work when she did! What it has done for us, however, is give us a sense of purpose and hope at a time when I was fighting for my life. I felt my father’s spirit guiding us the whole way, and I can’t help but feel that this is also part of my transformational journey along with the cancer.

As my body reacts with nausea, dizziness, extreme bloating and vomiting to the cancer medication, then pain due to surgery, I am at the same time discovering that the father that I grew up with had a whole other life before I was born.

We are unearthing that he’s been published, that he himself has published, and that the information we’re reading about him states that he is one of the pioneers that brought western art/architecture/interior design back to China from his studies at L’Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, the premier architectural university in the world.

In addition, through various sources,we were able to trace one of the few original brochures that he designed for the Chinese Section of the Paris Exposition, 1925. It is right here, under lock and key, at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles!

We were invited to view it by an art project specialist at the Getty.  Tears rolled down my face as I viewed  photo after photo of his designs, his trademarks so familiar in the more recent works of his that I’ve seen.

It was also this same specialist who brought us to Paris to attend a colloquiem on the benefits of foreign exchange in architecture at Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHAin Paris, February 21 and 22, 2013. He presented my father’s paper, a fitting first public introduction to my father’s work, as it started for him in Paris.

All these events have turned me inside out. I never expected that it would play havoc with my emotions. Knowing that there was this whole other part of my father that I knew nothing about brings up the question of “Who am I?”

Reflecting on my life with him, what I’ve known about him was as a depressed man, one who grieved for all that he lost when we escaped to the United States – financial loss, status in the Nationalist Government of China, career that spanned two decades in Paris and China, execution of family members – and the struggle to survive that he never had to face in his life until coming here. He was already 47, at best a difficult age to have to start life over again, and with no resources or understanding of a culture so different from the one he knew.

How much over the years have the decisions I made because of how I saw my father – his failures, his living in the past, his inability to speak up, his depressive and suicidal thoughts.And, finding out about his historic achievements, I know that changes how I see him.

I wonder, though, how knowing all this now will change me.

It surprises me that he is revered in art circles, that others who have studied his works are so excited to meet me and my family. It surprises me that, when I speak about him, the room goes silent to hear what I have to say. It surprises me that, in a way, I am a “living history”, the direct connection to his life and works that no one knew about after he left China.

To me, he was simply “my father”.

How this new information is changing me, I’m not sure. I just know that I’ve felt emotionally raw since Paris, vulnerable, and, in some ways, I don’t  know what’s real anymore. The only thing I know is what I got before I even knew about the cancer – that I was going to undergo a major transformation, that my healing work would be completely different once this process was through, that I was not to try to figure it out, that with the internal change would come the external manifestations of that change.

However, I never thought that this process would make me dig so deep into the very core of my being, to question my whole life, to question decisions I made or didn’t make, to repeat patterns of failure that he modeled for me.

I was always afraid of my father. At the same time, I always saw him as a coward, a broken man who was simply trying to get through each day. I realize that, in ways that I didn’t consciously know, I thought this was what life was about.

When I intuitively got that I would be undergoing a transformation, I didn’t expect to have to deal with cancer and, at the same time, deal with the fact that I didn’t know my father at all.

It is indeed a mixed bag. I feel like the rug has been pulled from under me, that this goes to the depths of my very soul. I’m not sure what to do with all this newly found knowledge. I suppose in some ways I feel betrayed, that my father kept such important information from me. In other ways, of course, I am proud that I come from such a rich heritage and grateful that I discovered this while I still live.

I do believe, because I believe in synchronicity and the law of attraction, it is in my fully and finally forgiving him that has brought all these events into my life at this time.

It is in the forgiving first, not knowing what that would bring, that is the key!

Advertisements