OBITUARY

Pui Har "Agnes" Yeung

July 11, 1946March 16, 2021

Agnes Pui Har Yeung passed away peacefully on March 16, 2021 in Vancouver with her siblings attending at her bedside. She had been frail for a long time. Although she beat COVID-19, she couldn't beat old age.

Agnes was born in a rural town in the Kwangtung Province of China on the 11th day of the sixth month in the Lunar Calendar in 1946. She was preceded by her Parents Hok Hang Yeung and King Ho Lam. She is survived by her sisters: Sau Har Wong of New York City, Barbara Suen (Keith Suen) of Vancouver, Siu Ha Wai of Hong Kong, Debbie Yeung (Tim Grad) of Edmonton, Edith Wong (Kanman Wong) of Vancouver, and her brother Steven Yeung of Vancouver. She will be sadly missed by her nephews and nieces: David and Phil Wong of New York, Po Chu Wai of Hong Kong, Vincent Suen of Vancouver, Oscar Wai of Hong Kong, Theo and Freddie Wong of Vancouver, Tiffany and Brianna Grad of Edmonton.

Agnes grew up in rural China and moved to Hong Kong to join her parents and sisters when she was 12 years old. She completed training to become a nurse, and spent two years in England specializing in midwifery before immigrating to Canada in 1974. She became a Registered Nurse and worked at hospitals in Edmonton and Vancouver before retiring in 1986.

We would like to thank all the caring teams who provided dedicated support to Agnes and her family in her final years: the private team who worked at the Yeung's residence, Britannia Lodge, Three Links Care Centre and Little Mountain Place; in particular, the following personnel at Little Mountain Place: Dr. Judith Hammond (her family physician), Maricel Morella (Director of Care), and Maria Ilad (Nurse who provided the final care).

During this difficult time of COVID-19, we decline any flowers or donations.

Since the in person attendance capacity is limited to 10, family and friends of Agnes can watch the streaming of the funeral live or at your convenience later using the link provided below:

Funeral Service Saturday, April 10th, 2021 at 10:00 am. https://funeraweb.tv/en/diffusions/26393

Services

  • Funeral Service Livestream

    Saturday, April 10, 2021

    VIEW VIDEO

Memories

Pui Har "Agnes" Yeung

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Barbara Suen

April 19, 2021

Acknowledgement
I would like to thank Keith and Vincent who shared me and our resources to support my life long mission. A lot of thanks for all those who sent flowers and help with the funeral preparation / presentation.
For the rest of the family, we should all pat our back for our support for Agnes through different ways and different times. Now Agnes doesn’t suffer any more and rests in peace. We will soldier on and carry out her passion for life and her love for others.

Brianna Grad

April 11, 2021

I remember the times Auntie Agnes came up to Edmonton to visit us like they happened yesterday. She would take time out of her day to play with me and make sure I was happy and safe. I distinctly remember playing "restaurant" with her for hours, and I could tell her smile, laughter, and happiness were all genuine. She loved children and cared deeply for her family. I remember her helping out with taking care of the plants and cooking too, if needed. Her training as a nurse showed, as she was always warning Tiffany and myself not to touch rusty metal for risk of getting tetanus, for example. She was a compassionate woman who wanted the best for her family, and I am forever grateful I got to spend time with her.
May you rest in peace, dear Agnes.

Tiffany Grad

April 11, 2021

Over the past few weeks, I have come to learn so much about Auntie Agnes. Learning about her passing was painful, but it was also painful to discover that there was so much I never knew about her. There are decades of her life, her career, and her journey around the world that remained a mystery to me, all because I had never thought to ask. Despite this, I am extremely grateful that I had an opportunity to get to know her bright, joyful, and nurturing spirit while she graced this earth.
If I had to choose one word to describe Auntie Agnes, it would be caring. She cared deeply for all of her friends and family and always made sure that everyone was safe and taken care of. Despite only being able to visit her a few times a year, Auntie Agnes always welcomed us with open arms. Time and distance were never a concern because her enthusiasm made us feel as though we had seen her just yesterday. I will always remember her being like a mother bear protecting her cubs; her foremost concern was always ensuring that we were safe and that we were okay.
Auntie Agnes: although we didn’t have much time on this earth to get to know each other, I sincerely hope that we meet again in another lifetime.

Tim Grad

April 9, 2021

Agnes was sure to make dinner for me when I was working in Vancouver and staying at the house. She was always very concerned that we were all safe, especially after travelling. Goodbye sister-in-law. Rest in peace. To Agnes' siblings, Barbara, Claudia, my wife Debbie, Edith and Steve, and Agnes' nieces and nephews, my deepest condolences.

Ron Song

April 9, 2021

Hi Debbie,

Sorry to hear about the loss of your sister, Agnes. My condolences to you all including your brother and sisters.

Hope you have a pleasant and safe trip to Vancouver and get all the necessary things sorted out.

Take it easy.

Ron Song

Dave Williams

April 9, 2021

Dear Debbie,

We are so sorry to hear the news of Agnes' death. We are sure over the next while , you will remember good times you two spent together years ago.

Hope it helps to know that others are with you in thought and sympathy.

With love,

Helga & Dave Williams

FRED WONG

April 9, 2021

My dear aunt Agnes, I will always be thankful for taking care of me and babysitting me when I was younger. My mom told me when I was younger, she told you to watch over me to make sure I don't go wandering off. And you indeed watched and followed everywhere I went. I even yelled in my toddler voice to stop following me!
Looking back now, you really cared about every family member and took serious responsibility for our well being. Thank you auntie Agnes

Lawrence Tattrie

April 8, 2021

To Debbie and Family,

I hope to convey that while the ignorance in my brain is not small, the sympathy for you and your family in my heart is much larger. A loss distorts both time and space. What was so close now seems so far away, and a short time ago is now ages ago. Hope that your plants will bring many flowers in the spring.

Lawrence Tattrie

Barbara Suen

April 6, 2021

Tears in my heart
The last 3 weeks have been the hardest part of my life. Among all the surviving siblings, I am closest to Agnes’ age. I was also the one who stayed with her till her last breath. I was calm and collected when I left Little Mountain Place and drove myself home. The next morning when I woke up, I broke down and cried like a baby. For about a week, tears kept coming every time I thought about her tough life in the past 35 years, especially the last 3: she required total support in personal care and had trouble swallowing. You can imagine a free spirit trapped in a non-functional body and relying on pureed food to sustain her life. Although every week Steve and I accompanied her to all the Tzu Chi activities such as vegetarian lunch and karaoke, she still preferred to go home. Every time we visited her, the only question she asked was: when are you coming back or when can I go home? I tried very hard to hold back my tears and just kept on feeding her with her favorite food that we sneaked in. After putting on a happy face for 3 years, I finally allowed myself to mourn.
When I reflected on my entire life with Agnes, I found I had different roles in different stages of her life:

Warrior
According to my mom: before my mom took me to Hong Kong, I used to protect Agnes when we were in rural China. One day, Agnes was bullied by a bunch of neighboring kids. When I heard her screaming, I grabbed a laundry stick and beat them up from a distance. One kid had a cut in his forehead and they all fled. His parents came to our house and complained to our grandmother who was the head of the family. My grandmother promised she would discipline me and sent them away. When supper time came, she found me hiding behind the mosquito net. She picked me up and fed me dinner. I knew she condoned to my act of defense and my status as the young warrior for the Yeung’s family was established. After that, they changed their target and picked on someone else.

Housekeeping / Babysitting Partners
When Agnes reunited with me in Hong Kong, Mom had a few more kids. As the oldest children, Agnes and I were Mom’s assistant housekeepers and babysitters. Since I went to afternoon primary school, I took the morning shift. Every morning, Mom fastened Debbie on my back with a baby belt. I had to carry her when I did my homework. When Mom got home from her grocery shopping, I had to help her with preparing lunch. When Agnes got home from her junior high school, she had to do laundry by hand for the entire family, including a lot cloth diapers
Cantonese Opera Performers
Since we were not allowed to go out to play, we never learnt any sports or social skills. The only entertainment we had were movies and Cantonese opera. When we had spare time, Agnes and I would put on sheets and performed our version of Cantonese opera.

English Tutor
As a late comer to the British education system, Agnes struggled with her English. When she wrote her high school public exam the second time in 1967, I went to her school and studied with her every evening. I became her English tutor. We had many drills before her Oral English exam. The day we found out she passed her exam, the entire family celebrated.

Mediator
Ever since Agnes took her early retirement, she spent a lot of time with mom and Steve. Mom was a perfectionist and Agnes was the exact opposite. Mom felt embarrassed when Agnes insisted on wearing her old dirty jacket and broken boots when we went out for lunch or dinner. To resolve this conflict, I quietly discarded her favorite jacket and broken boots when she was not watching. She had no choice but to wear the new clothing and shoes that we provided.

Entertainer
Ever since the early 80’s, I have been organizing all social activities for the Yeung family. We dined out every week and on every family member’s BD. Mom used to cook on all the Chinese festivals and I was responsible for Easter, Thanksgiving, X’mas and summer BBQ’s. This went on for 30 years until Mom lost her mobility.
In December 2012, I fulfilled Mom’s last wish on her travel list and took her, Agnes and Steve on a Hawaiian cruise. By that time, Steve had to push Mom’s wheel chair and I had to carry Agnes’ cane when we went ashore. When we went to the beach, I took Mom and Agnes to the water and took a picture with one on each arm. Although Agnes started to have problems with walking, she had no hesitation to join me when I invited her to our hula dancing lesson. That was the last time Agnes set foot on the dancing floor.

My mission & the chicken breast meat analogy
Then life took a downturn after that. Mom lost her mobility entirely but refused to go the care home. We had to hire a private team to take care of her at home. Agnes was in and out of the hospital all the time. I was exhausted with coordinating with Mom’s care team and the ongoing liaising with the hospital staff for Agnes. The “why me” question popped up a few times. Then I remembered the “chicken breast meat” story that Mom told me: when we were little, we only had chicken for very special occasions. Mom had to ration the chicken parts for the kids because every kid loved drumsticks. Since Agnes was the most easy-going kid in the family, she always received a drumette. To make up the difference, she was compensated with a piece of chicken breast meat. It dawned on me one day that: since Agnes always got the short end of a stick for everything, I am her “chicken breast meat”. I was born with the mission to support her whenever she needed my help.

Misunderstanding resolved
Although I was always there for her for almost her entire life, I wasn’t sure I was her favorite sister. I used to wonder if she resented that I have dethroned her from her “big sister” role which she was very proud of and I nagged her about her diet. The one thing I regretted the most was I wasn’t able to retain the care team that we hired for Mom in her final years. Agnes longed to stay home with Steve but I couldn’t grant her that wish.
Just before the second wave of COVID and the outbreak, Steve and I took Agnes out for a weekly picnic in a park close to LMP. I was starting to get chilly and we had to stay in the sun for the short stay. After lunch, Agnes looked me in the eye and said, “I am very grateful for everything you have done for me. I have misunderstood you all these years. I am sorry.” I held back my tears and said, “I am sorry too for all my nasty comments over the years. But we are sisters, remember? Sisters don’t hold grudges.” Back then, I knew her final days were near.

Agnes Mission plus the Lame & the Blind Analogy
To most people, they only see my support for Agnes. The truth is, Agnes’ mission is more noble and broader in scope. While my dedication is only for the Yeung’s family, she reached out to the world and sponsored kids in the 3rd world. I remembered about 3 years ago, she could no longer walk and started to have difficulty swallowing. I was asked by the hospital to find out if the family wanted CPR for Agnes if she needed one. We couldn’t make a decision so we asked her directly. To everyone’s surprise, she said, “yes, I love life”. Throughout the last few years of her hard life, she never complained. Whenever I was tired and discouraged, I looked at her and said to myself, “this is nothing compared to what she has to endure”. Yes, you have given me strength. You taught me the value of family, love, honesty and empathy for the unfortunate. Through your own example of your passion for life, I learn to treasure everything I have, and not take anything for granted. We are like a team of the lame and the blind. She has navigated my way while I carried her on my back.

Jodi Zabludowski

April 6, 2021

Debbie, Tim, Tiffany and Bianca -Our deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved sister, sister-in-law and Aunt. Agnes was a kind-hearted person. She will be deeply missed by all those who knew her. Keep her memory strong in your hearts.
Jodi & Michael

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