Today is Father’s Day. This is my first Father’s Day without my father.
My dad passed away almost a year ago. I still remember for months after he left us, from time to time I would be overcome by this incredibly strong sense of grief, triggered by something I saw or something I remembered, and sometimes for no reason at all.
Things are better for me now. I still miss him a lot and the grief is still there. But now I feel like I can seal up the feeling in a box. I can go about by my life normally. But when I open the box, those same feelings still come back to me.
This is one of the times when I am opening the box.
I was very close to my dad. Now that I have my own kids, I can so much better appreciate all the time he spent with me and all the sacrifices that he made for me. He has always been my strongest and most ardent supporter. No matter how old I was, whenever I had any sort of good news, he’d be the first I wanted to share it with. A few months ago, when I was notified that I would be receiving recognition for my volunteer work, first thought I had was that Dad would be excited about the news. Then I remembered that he’s not somewhere I can reach with a phone call. Those are real bummer moments.
I try to tell my kids about my Dad as much as I can. I made breakfast for the kids this morning and told them what they’re eating is what my Dad used to make for me. When I show them how to make certain sketches and solve certain math problems, I tell them that this is exactly how my Dad showed me 40 years ago. One real regret I have is not having my kids spend more time with my Dad while he was here.
There is so much I want to thank my father for. He brought our family from Taiwan to the US in his mid-40’s mainly so that my sister and I can have a better education. He walked away from a comfortable life into a place where he didn’t speak the language well and frankly was working at a level below where he should be. I don’t know if I would be courageous enough to do the same myself today. My work ethics, my value systems, and my work discipline all came from him. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. Really. Thank you, dad.