Sunday, October 10, 2010

100 (Some Odd) Days

September 20 marked 100 days since my dad died. I'm not sure where this tradition of marking 100 days came from, but I think the Asians got something figured out. As 100 days approached, I seemed to feel sadder for no reason at all. Nothing sparked the sadness, I just felt extra sad. Maybe it had to do with facing up to the reality of having to go back home, but my mom said she was felt the same way, a compounded sadness. Up until 100 days, I, on average, had been coping and functioning pretty well. But as day 100 approached, I felt more melancholy. Things reminded me more of him. I thought more about him. I was frozen with sadness more frequently through the day.

I believe in God, Jesus, heaven, judgment day, all of it. I also believe in ghosts and spirits, but I don't know, like, the mechanics of it all. I heard one theory that, based upon a reading of the bible, everyone just goes to a sort of nothing place until judgment day, and everyone who has lived and died since the start of time rises at the same time. That's a lot of people. But anyway, that's one theory. But there doesn't seem to be room for ghosts of dead relatives in that theory.

The strangest thing happened to me a few weeks after my dad died. I was so torn up because I hadn't talked to him in so long. And the last time I was home, he was not. He was in China. I tried to call him, but I just couldn't get through. I tried and tried and tried for 30 minutes. I knew he was sick, and I wanted to talk to him, but I just couldn't reach him. I remember thinking to myself, well, it's Dad. He'll be ok. But he wasn't. He died about 24 hours after he landed back in the US. And I hadn't spoken to him, much less seen him, in far too many months. Yes, that's right. Months.

Guilt gnawed at me. I was inconsolable. Then, one night, I had this dream. I dreamed that my dad came back for one last day, to say things he needed to say, and to sort out things that needed sorted. Whatever they were, they were not known to me in my dream. But in my dream, I ran up to him like a guilty child running up to confess that she did something bad, and blurted out, in Mandarin, that I was so sorry I didn't call him more. And he said, it's ok. And then I woke up sobbing. It was so real. And I think it was. I woke up that morning feeling more ok than I had been since I first heard the news.

I spent a week at home after my dad died. It was a hard week, but it was where I needed to be. While I was home, I took care of a lot of business. One of the things I had to do was cancel my dad's health insurance. My parents pay/paid a lot of money for insurance. And my dad used a lot of it. I told my mom that in order to cancel the insurance, I needed to see the insurance cards. She couldn't find them, and had no idea where they were. Then one morning, she showed up with them. She told me that she was laying in bed that morning and was talking to my father and asked him to show her where they were. As she was laying there, she heard something fall off of the tv. (Aside: this tv is straight out of 1978, and essentially is a huge wooden box with wheels. It stopped working long ago and my parents have used it as a shelf for at least 20 years.) She went over to inspect, and my dad's insurance cards had fallen off onto the floor. Just the insurance cards.

Maybe it was my dad. Maybe it was God comforting my mom. I don't know, but it was powerful.

I still get sad every now and then. I'm sad right now just writing about this and thinking about him. I'll be sad if I ever have a wedding day. I was really sad watching that episode of Friday Night Lights when Matt Saracen had to deal with his father dying in Iraq. But, the things I'm feeling and will feel are the same feelings millions of other people have felt all through history and for years to come. Maybe this should make me feel pathetic, but, really, it makes me feel...human.

Stopping and writing about my feelings just overwhelms me with emotion, and that's probably one of the reasons why I don't blog much anymore. That, and the fact that I'm at work like 14 hours a day and don't even come close to daring to post from work. But, I miss it, and I'm going to try to do it more.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Father

My father is, by many standards, a complete jerk. He is distant, cold, sets incredibly high expectations, expects you to live by certain conservative "old world" values, yet excel in modern worldly ways. If you could get past all that, you would see that he is incredibly generous, damaged, hard working and entrepreneurial. He came to this country with little money and eventually made enough to buy a small plot of Manhattan real estate. At the time, that plot of real estate was in a high crime part of the city, but he had foresight, and now that land should provide for our family for a few generations, at least. He valued education, and worked hard so his kids could go to school. Yes, he is distant and cold, and yes, he shows his love through material things, but he worked damn hard to provide us with those material things. And when his kidney failed after years of diabetes and alcohol abuse, he didn't even think to ask his kids for a kidney, because he said it was his burden and his mistake and he didn't want to make us pay for it. He bore that burden, and even in illness, he seemed invincible. So it is with incredible sadness and surprise I report that he passed away yesterday.

I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I found out late this evening and am getting on a train in the morning to go home. I know I made certain choices in my relationship with my father. I intentionally set distance between us because he had a way of driving me crazy in a completely irrational and unacceptable manner. I have to live with those choices, and that's ok. He was my father. I loved him. I will miss him.

Monday, March 08, 2010

2010, The First

I'm still here. I've mostly stopped blogging because I dare not do it from work, and when I'm not at work, I try damn hard not to be on the computer. I usually fail. But I'm home sick today, and I had to log in to turn on comment verification (No, I don't want your marijuana / blue cheese / web hosting, thank you) so I thought I'd pop in here and say hi.

A few quick updates? I'm still working, although every day I think about quitting, some co-workers and I are playing the lottery, the bf did indeed move in despite the bike incident, and it's been rough at times, but also nice at times. There's been trips to NC, to SF and LA and Napa and Sonoma, and several trips to NH. The bf is in school, now. I've taken up knitting and sewing, and our garden last year was a disaster. I've put on 20 pounds because working out just became so tiresome, although now I'm trying to get back in shape, which is hard, harder than it should be. I'm turning 33 in a month. Whoa.

I think I will try to blog more. I sort of miss it, and there's plenty to talk about. Hopefully I won't be violating any confidentialities that will get me disbarred. Although ...

A gratuitous shot from a peak in the White Mountains, circa October 2009.