Hey… It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I’m sorry I haven’t gone to Pleasant Hill in awhile. I will definitely be sure to go this Thanksgiving. Wait, but I won’t have a car and I want to go alone. Whatever, I’ll figure it out…
Every year, I anxiously wait for this month, this week, this day… and every year, it never is quite like I had imagined. Every year, I want you to see the girl I’ve become, the daughter you would be so proud of. Since you passed, a lot has happened. I’ve graduated high school, moved to a whole new city, made a bunch of friends, majored in nursing, worked at the best children’s hospital in the nation, graduated from upenn, moved again across the country, and started post grad working life. I’ve kissed a boy. I think I might even be in a relationship right now… I’ve traveled across lots of seas. I’ve eaten some really awesome amazing things, and some not so awesome pretty awful things. I’ve met pretty cool celebrities. I’ve played a few intramural sports. I’m helping mom with what I can. I’m trying to be a better sister to Peter and Ji Young.
In the hospital and in civilian life, I’ve seen a lot of death. and I’ve also seen a lot of hope. Both always remind me of you. I never know quite how to reconcile the two feelings… Just like I never knew how to deal with them when you were sick too. I guess some things never change…
I don’t know, Appa. I just don’t know. There are so many things you have yet to teach me. I have so many questions for you. What is it like? Are you with Jesus? Are you sad? Do you miss me? Can you get through to Peter? Why didn’t you try harder to get me to understand? Why did you have to be so stubborn about your health? You know, I went to the doctor’s office today and he told me gastric cancer is one of the more detectable ones. I hate him for saying that to me, but that’s beside the point. Do you have regrets? Are you happy with how I’m turning out?
For the past five years, I have wanted nothing more than for you to see how I’ve turned out and be proud of me. But this year, I am actually quite ashamed. Things aren’t so peachy keen. I’m so sorry to have disappointed you in so many ways, and I’m embarrassed in front of you. I’m sorry. I wish you were here to yell at me and set me straight again.
I’m learning a lot though… I’m curious of your opinions. I wonder what you would say to me about my roommate situation. I wonder what your past dating experiences were like, before you met umma. or even after. I wonder what you would think of me living so far away. Would you visit? Of course, you would visit. You were always better at showing me love in a way I could understand than umma. We fight a lot about that, you know… It really hurts because Ji Young and Peter and Mom are so alike. You know how we always made fun of you for being the odd one? Well, I’m the odd one now and I’m really sorry if we ever hurt you because I definitely understand now.
Your mom passed. But I’m sure you already know that because you’re probably with her now.
I don’t want to be sad anymore.
I’m usually not.
I’m pretty good at blocking out things, actually. A co-worker pointed out that sometimes I don’t allow myself to feel. She means well.
It’s just sad when I start to think about what I could’ve done differently. And how things will never be the same now. We had a lecture on that recently— a social worker on the bereavement team was saying how she really tries to minimize guilt and regret in siblings by not shielding them so much. That lady is onto something. I wish she had talked to me six years ago.
Anyway, no use living in the past, eh? As far as the future goes, I really really hope to live out your legacy. I hope my kids will one day understand what a great man you were. are. whatever.
Someone asked me if I had a ritual that I did every year… I don’t. I don’t know how to honor you. I just know that you loved the leaves changing and you loved to be active. Hahah I didn’t realize how much of a farm boy you were. If you were here, I could take you hiking, I could take you to the beach, I could take you lots of places…
What does it mean to honor your life?
How can I honor and remember your life?
This is a start, I guess… I have two more days until the actual day I suppose I can try to think of something until then.
I love you, Dad.
I miss you a lot.
Don’t be sad, Dad. I’ll try not to be too.