Tomorrow may be your last day here with us in person. It is so hard to watch you slowly slip away from us day by day to the point where you seem trapped in a small world so far away. We watched as your diagnosis of cancer started you down the path where everyday, it took a bit of you from us. You went from travelling the world and enjoying your retirement to a small room where we come to see you and speak to you without really hearing your voice again. I know the man who loved and raised me is there, listening as I tell you about our lives and the outside, but I miss you -- the whole you -- who took
You were the first man who ever loved me. And though I did not understand it at the time, Mom always said we were lucky that you were happy with daughters. I guess in America it is a bit strange to say, but when I was older, I started to understand the old world mentality. You never held back because we were girls though. You took us fishing, crabbing, and shrimping. You taught us how to shoot a target and trap raccoons who snuck into our garbage. You raised us to be frugal and to value experience over things. We never had much growing up, but you spent equivalent of one-tenth of your annual take home pay to take us to Hong Kong to see our relatives. We lived simply, and I never missed out on anything.
You used to tell us stories of how you came to America with very little. But you are leaving rich in love and family. You were never one for emotion. I remember how surprised I was when we got to college, and you started saying "I love you" on the phone. It was a bit jarring to hear after all of those years, but we always knew. You were strict to our faces, but we heard you brag about us behind our backs.
I still remember that "talk" you gave me the night before I left for college. You asked me to "give Chinese guys a chance". I still laugh about that to this day with Caroline. Well, at my wedding, you got your wish though I am sorry I forgot to kiss you after you walked me down the aisle. Though you never dance, thank you for dancing the father-daughter dance with me. It meant a lot.
Remember when I was pregnant with Jonathan? You guessed it even before Mom did. She did not believe you when you told her, but you knew. You were so happy to become a Grandpa. You came to care for all three of my babies when they were born, spending hours walking them around in the night so I could sleep. You adored them, and they in turn, adore you even the littlest one who got in her Grandpa time just before your cancer spread so extensively. She will not remember you, but we took lots of photos and have lots of stories to tell her about the Grandfather who loved her and held her even when he was very very sick.
Bethany said today that she was sad you were sick, and that she hoped you would be better soon. I explained that you would be better when you were with God in heaven. Jonathan made you some cards to comfort you in these final days. He even wrote "I really like Grandpa" in Chinese without any prompting. Not bad for a 5 year-old all-American kid.
I will always remember when I was feeding you yogurt and telling you about the kids a few weeks ago. Though you can barely speak, you grabbed my leg and held it as we talked. Well, mostly I talked but you listened. I knew you were telling me that you were there inside listening. And I was glad to be there for you after all you had done for me.
You lived a life full of family and love. Though there were many hardships, there were also many blessings. I do not want to grieve as much as I want to remember you in joy and share that joy with my children. Thank you for being a wonderful father and role model. Thank you for loving us and caring for us even when we were trying your patience. Thank you for being the blessing in our lives that God made you to be.
You will always be the first man I ever loved.