October 17, 2016

To My Late Father On The Anniversary Of Your Death, I Hope You’re Proud Of Me

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Sarah Mak
Sarah Mak

Last night, I was swept by a stream of poignancy as I was propped up on my bed. I wasn’t particularly thinking about anything, simply browsing the web, staying in on a laid back Saturday night when all of a sudden, the date on the top right corner of the laptop screen caught my eye – October 16. Tomorrow is the anniversary of your death.

It has been 7 years now but it still feels like yesterday. I have been well since we last met. Some things remained the same, like how I still hate “The Great Gatsby” because I finished reading it the night you passed away. Most things have changed, however, hopefully for the better.

Mom is happy now. She travels every month and checks in on me once in a while. We still have our phone calls when she asks for fashion advice. Although we definitely grew apart since you passed. After you passed away, I realized that the departure of one family member doesn’t mean that the rest of the family will continue to function in the same way. I used to think that it would all be the same once you were gone, except for your palpable absence. That’s not true though, we all changed.

Your eldest son, my eldest brother, is the lucky father of 3 adorable children now – I wish you could meet them all! They are little energetic cuddle puffs whom we all love dearly. They run and squeal when their father comes home from work everyday, generously showering him with hugs and kisses. Your second son, my second brother, got married earlier this year. It was a beautiful garden wedding and I think you would have loved it.

For me, I will always be your little girl, but life is occasionally difficult as an adult. Sometimes, I seek solace by imagining how proud you must feel if you knew that I have been self sufficient for more than a year now, since I was always spoilt by you. I’m moved each time I discover slivers of moments that you dedicated for me but which I never knew the existence of, only concretized when someone begins a conversation along the lines of, “Did you know that your father once told me, if he survived the cancer, he would want to live with you for the rest of his life? He loved you the most.”

I also only found out this year at my brother’s wedding that you had already made my engagement ring because you knew you wouldn’t be able to walk me down the aisle. It marvels me how you continue to be such a significant part of my life years after you’re gone.

I miss you, very much so. Sometimes I wish I could text you, call you and hear your voice, tell you that I love you, tell you how much I regret not expressing that when you were still alive. I apologize for not spending more time with you, for not showing more concern when your body rapidly failed as the cancer took over. I wish I stood guard by your side on more nights, because now I will never have the chance to see you again or talk to you anymore. I should have been less hard on you for the way you treated mom.

I now understand that sometimes, it was your stress talking, not the genuine you within the deepest core of your perished being. I hope that you’re proud of all that I have accomplished. Although you never believed that women needed to pursue a college education, I’m sorry that I went against your wishes and ended up getting a college degree. On a positive note, I became the first and only person in our family so far to attend college and graduate. I hope you’re proud of that and won’t be upset if you knew.

I understand that you envisioned my life to turn out a certain way. Although I have to say it hasn’t exactly been in line with what you envisioned it to be, I want you to know that I’m still on the same path, on track to fulfilling the promises we reaffirmed together as a family, as you grasped on to dear life and held your final breaths on that hospice bed, 7 years ago.

Lastly, I wanted to tell you that there is a poem that vividly reminds me of you. It’s “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas. If you have access to a poetry database wherever you are, I hope you have a chance to read it and understand that even though you have gone gentle into that good night, I promise that I will never go quietly into that good night. Instead, I will always, always rage against the burning of the light. TC mark

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