Han-yi Clemens Kwan
7-May-1981* - 26-July-1996
***Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen aß,
Wer nie die kummervollen Nächte
Auf seinem Bette weinend saß,
Der kennt Euch nicht,
Ihr himmlischen Mächte!
I am writing to convey to you the sad news that our most beloved son Han-yi Clemens Kwan has passed away on the 26th of July, 1996, in the Prince of Wales Hospital, HK, after nearly two years of refractory struggle against a brain tumour. He died 28 hours after he was brought back to the hospital for the last time. He entered a state of unconsciousness soon after his hospitalization. Although there were still a thousand words that we didn't manage to speak with him, we were pleased that it didn't cost him much pain to complete this last part of his life's journey.
Han-yi Clemens Kwan was born in Bochum, Germany (then West) in 1981. When he was seven months old he left Germany for Taiwan where his father assumed his first teaching position at the Tunghai University. Clemens spent a very happy childhood in the beautiful campus of Tunghai. He attended the kindergarten affiliated to the University, for one year. At the age of four, Clemens returned with his parents to Germany and spent half a year there at the Katholischer Kindergarten St. Augustinus of Bochum. After he moved back to Hong Kong, Clemens joined the Alliance Church Kindergarten for another year before he was admitted to La Salle Primary School. Besides being a diligent student, Clemens took part in a number of extra-curricular activities: He was in the school badminton team for three years; he was a member of the Community Youth Club (CYC); he represented his class in the school swimming gala; and he acted in the leading role in one of the school drama festivals. Clemens loved music. He played piano from the age of five with growing enthusiasm, and he was a member of the Hong Kong Children's Choir for three years. After Clemens finished his primary education, he was admitted to La Salle College. Unfortunately he was diagnosed to be suffering from a brain tumour right before he could start Form 2. After one whole year of treatment and convalescence Clemens resumed school (Form2) and worked and lived happily for one full term before his illness recurred and steadily took his life.
For us, the last two years of Clemens' life have been a time to be particularly remembered: Clemens had to grow up to face death without losing hope. And he did so bravely and beautifully even when the footsteps of fate were drawing near. Eventually, his body did give way, but his soul didn't. Clemens' life was brief, but full of ideals, sensitivity, grace and courage. He has been loved by so many people who have known him, and he will return them his love through the many beautiful memories we shared with him.
As parents, Clemens' affliction was of course the most heart-breaking story in our lives. The trauma we have lived through was beyond imagination. Yet, now in retrospect we realize that our experience in the last two years has not been all negative: Clemens' illness has brought us closer to each other than ever. It gave us the chance to reflect more deeply on human relationship, on human finitude and religious yearning, on happiness and suffering, and on the different aspects of life and death. In the last two years, every day, every hour has been a torture and a treasure for us at once. We have learned to cherish moments of peace and happiness, although they were unavoidably tainted with a slice of tragic sentiment. The fleetingness of such moments of happiness induced in us an arduous longing for their eternity; and they do appear to us to be eternal, even till these days when our Clemens is gone. This was an experience that no book, no philosophy can teach us. Our friends have helped us in every possible manner. They have enriched us with true friendship, compassion and love. Their unfailing support has rekindled hope in us even in the darkest hours. We owe them too much!
Being a La Salle boy, Clemens has always wanted to become a Catholic. This wish of him was finally fulfilled. Out of his own decision, he was baptized by Fr. Louis Ha three days before he left us. May he rest in peace in the way he himself has sought.
Tze-wan Kwan and Marjorie Hoi-lan Kwan
(with Clemens' sister: Han-yin Valerie Kwan)
|Address:||2A, University Residence #11, CUHK, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong|