CHRISTINA MUN WAH KWONG – 1951-2022
Christina Mun Wah Kwong (nee Wong), of Toronto, Ontario, died on October 16, 2022 at the age of 71, surrounded by the love of her family at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is survived by three children, Maggie Elderbroom (Chris), Jackie Kwong Leung (Derrick), and Jason Kwong; and four grandchildren, Brooke, Emerson, Garris, and Declan.
Christina was born in Hong Kong on September 25, 1951, the second of three children, in a working class household. Her father was a driver for a British Navy commander and her mother was a housewife. She had fond memories of being cherished as a child despite times of scarcity. Although she had a love of Chinese history class, she found it difficult to keep up in school, and after attaining a Grade 11 education, she started working and found success in bookkeeping work. This steadily advanced as a career of progressive clerical and office management positions of which she was proud.
Christina married David Kwong at the age of 23 and they immigrated to Toronto to start a new life and a family. Often facing language barriers, racism, sexism, and homesickness, she worked exhaustively to contribute to her household through multiple day and night jobs while also raising three young children. She also felt the pressure to meet traditional cultural expectations as a wife and daughter-in-law, but despite this, she had many moments where her creativity and optimistic ideas about Canadian life for herself and her children shone through.
An avid self-taught cook, she loved to bake cakes and breads, and cook Chinese cuisine, often recreating a wide variety of foods she had tried or seen. She had an extensive collection of specialty kitchenware that showcased her love of experimentation and novelty. We will remember her many delicious and nourishing Chinese soups and tonics, and her dozens of jars of Chinese medicinal ingredients of which she had an encyclopedic knowledge of their properties. Christina also enjoyed knitting and sewing, and dressed herself and her family in many lovingly-made garments over the years.
Our mother had a stoic, determined, and yet zen mindset. Divorced at age 49, she proved that she was self-sufficient and capably established her own identity and home that gave her much satisfaction. Despite the many health-related challenges that plagued her since her youth and became increasingly severe and life-limiting, she was of the view that one should “go with the flow” and “take a step as you see the step” – thus she maintained a calm and ordered approach to independently manage a high burden of complex medications, frequent diagnostics, specialist visits, and routine uncomfortable treatments. She became a fount of knowledge and inspiration to her friends who were navigating healthcare, parenting, and aging. She was also an impressive early adopter of technology and business software, and encouraged and supported her peers to do the same. She sometimes was generous to a fault — we were sometimes chagrined by her bleeding heart causes, but she clearly touched many lives. We sometimes joked that she missed a calling to a career of social work given the number of friends of all ages who sought her counsel.
As her children, we will miss her unwavering support for us. Whether one asked for it or whether she sensitively intuited others’ needs on her own, she was generous with her time, her money, her acts of service, and her words of encouragement. We will also miss her main love language – abundant gifts of homemade food, always made with deep thoughtfulness and love!
With her propensity for planning and organization, our mom had several conversations with us about her eventual plans for her death over the last few years. She asked that things be as simple as possible so as not to trouble anyone, with no visitation, funeral, burial or other traditional rituals. She felt that a cremation and scattering of her ashes over water would be wonderful, as then she would be able to travel freely. We will be granting her this last wish by taking her remains on a Caribbean cruise for a burial at sea in November 2022.
Offer Condolence for the family of CHRISTINA MUN WAH KWONG – 1951-2022
I will remember Auntie Christina very fondly, with lovely memories of our chats and laughs. She was a gentle and sweet person who was quick to support and offer compliments. I’m sad that she won’t fully know the extent of her impact. But she was special to me. Seeing her made me feel happy and her passing is a huge loss. I’m so very gald we bumped into her a few weeks ago, I’d like to think that was some kind of fate. Rest in Peace. xo