Last October 30, 2008, my dearest Daddy went to sleep and never woke up again. He passed away at 78 in his own bed with half of the family at home with him. We are still grieving, but there is comfort in knowing that he left with peace in his heart and a gentle smile on his face.
How ironic that I found myself in the Happiest Place on Earth just a few days after his death. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. in HK Disneyland’s Hollywood Hotel, laced up my shoes, and prepared for a run which would pay tribute to my Dad’s life; it wasn’t going to be a “grief run” but a celebration of his life and his legacy. It was—in a spiritual kind of way—a kind of prayer as I offered this run to God and asked him to care for my father and welcome him with open arms.
I stood at the start of my favorite jogging path, the same one I ran last summer, which faced the sea and offered a breathtaking view of Hong Kong. I took in the cool breeze, switched my ipod on, and started with a slow jog.
The first track that played was Mariah Carey’s “Bye Bye” and—with all the tiny hairs on my arms standing as well as a small shiver up my spine—I knew that this was not sheer coincidence. Trying my best to keep the tears from falling, I took in the lyrics of the song and thought about Daddy:
…I never knew I could hurt like this
And everyday life goes on like
“I wish I could talk to you for awhile”
Miss you but I try not to cry
As time goes by
And soon as you reach a better place
Still I’d give the world to see your face
And I’m right here next to you
But it’s like you’re gone too soon
Now the hardest thing to do is say bye bye…
…This is for my peoples who just lost somebody
Your best friend, your baby, your man, or your lady
Put your hand way up high
We will never say bye (no, no, no)
Mamas, daddies, sisters, brothers, friends and cousins
This is for my peoples who lost their grandmothers
Lift your head to the sky ’cause we will never say bye
I ran like a madwoman thinking of nothing but my Dad through the run even as I reached Disneyland Park on one end and Inspiration Lake on the other. I felt I could’ve gone on forever but decided to end at 12k to make it to my flight home.
It was the interment for my Dad yesterday morning. I am the youngest of 7 children and I was asked to give the eulogy in behalf of the family. It was the toughest talk I had ever given, but it was also a release of a multitude of emotions, and my last chance to tell Dad how much I loved him. Somewhere in the lengthy speech I had stayed up all night to write, I told Dad that we loved him, we would miss him, and with my head lifted up to the heavens, I said to my dearest Daddy that we would never ever say goodbye.
– Love you, Dad –
Thank you to all the runners who sent their condolences and offered prayers, especially those who took the time out to come to my Dad’s wake. Truly appreciate it.