Dear Dad

Dear Dad

I Hope You're Proud

You were my first sight at my high school graduation. You were among the most honored of parents, watching your little girl cross the stage and accept her diploma. I had no idea that was going to be the last time I was going to see you outside a cold, dark hospital room.

I didn’t have the strength to talk to your doctors. I didn’t have the capacity to accept what they were saying. You didn’t either, which is why you didn’t want me to know until I had to.

I didn’t want you to see me sad. I didn’t want you to feel my heartbreak. I didn’t want you to watch me cry. I didn’t want you to experience more pain. I wanted to protect you just like you protected me. No amount of medicine or doctor care could protect you anymore from the inevitable.

You asked me to come over and sit with you, I couldn’t touch you. The moment I grabbed your pinky, it became real. The courage to say the words that we were all avoiding escaped, and although there was nothing said, the look you gave me spoke enough truth; I had days left to be with you.

I stepped away your side, and I ran as fast as I could. Out of the dreary room, passed the stark white halls of the oncology unit, and into my mother’s arms. All the strength I had was left behind on the tear stained floors of the ward, and for fifteen minutes, my mind was numb, my body was shaking, and I was running out of air.

I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to hear anyone talk about what happens ‘afterwards’. I didn’t want to know about your life ending when mine was barely starting.

26 days before you died, I was sitting on the far edge of your bed. You were in and out of sleep. I asked you if you were proud of me. It took you almost 18 years to say the words ‘Are you kidding me? I’m so proud of you.’ I grabbed your hand and wiped my tears with another. He said to me ‘your mom and I love you more than anything in this world, never forget that.’

On August 10th, 2015, I got my driver’s permit. I called you immediately to tell you. You grunted at me. I was relieved to hear you breathe. On August 14th, 2015, I took my first college placement tests. I had no idea that I would be receiving a call at 1:45pm saying you had said goodbye.

It’s been two years since you’ve passed away. I’ve needed you every single day since. I’ve needed you to show me how to do my taxes. I’ve needed you to help me get the scratch off my car. I’ve needed you to be my daddy again.

I hope I’m making you proud.

I hope I’m making the right decisions.

I hope that you are as happy with me as happy as I am with myself.

I hope you’re okay with me moving across the country to follow my dreams.

I hope you know that I’m truly doing the best I can in lieu of your absence.

I hope you know that I do everything with the grace and poise that you taught me.

I hope I’m making you proud.

‘Remember.’ ‘Daddy loves you.’ ‘That’s right, peach.’

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To My Parents

Thank you for providing me with such a fun and memorable childhood

As I am about to start my second semester of freshman year, I am very thankful for all that my parents have done for me. They were my rock as I navigated through the ups and downs of the first semester. Without their help, I definitely would not be able as successful. Being over 2000 miles away from them is so hard.

My parents are first-generation immigrants from China. They worked tirelessly to get where they are today. They never gave up no matter how difficult times were. All they wanted was to allow my sister and me to have experiences they never had while growing up. They did everything in their power to ensure that our lives were not as hard as theirs and always put us first. They have made countless of sacrifices.

They taught me everything they knew and provided us with every opportunity to expand our knowledge by signing us up for dozens of extracurricular activities. During all of these, they were my unwavering support system. Even when I was ready to accept defeat and did not believe that I could do it, they motivated and continued to believe in me.

My parents were very involved in every aspect of my life. While I was growing up, they were very overprotective and strict at times. Occasionally, they could be a bit too overbearing but it was only because they wanted what was best for me. Sometimes, I would disagree with them but in the end, I discovered that they are always right. If I had listened to them the first time, I would have saved so much time and effort.

Each inspires me in different ways. My mom is very strong, determined and genuinely kind. On the other hand, my dad is very independent, brave, and caring. From my mom, I learned how to take care of myself and others. From my dad, I learned how to be resilient and face obstacles with grace and confidence.

My values are because of them.

They instilled in me my work ethic and perseverance. They taught me to always put myself first and never give up. During my childhood, I was definitely not spoiled. Everything I wanted, I had to work for.

In addition, they taught me how important it was to connect to my roots. Almost every summer, they brought my sister and me back to China. During our one-month stay, we visited our relatives and explored the country. I had the chance to improve my Chinese and learn more about my culture. Even though they immigrated to America over twenty years ago, my parents are very proud of their heritage. At home, they speak Chinese to us to try to maintain a connection to the Chinese culture. We also celebrate all the traditional Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year.

They have successfully combined both American and Chinese traditions and holidays to allow us to have the best of both worlds.

Most importantly, I want to thank them for providing me with such a fun and memorable childhood. It was filled with so much joy and laughter. I will be forever grateful for everything they have done for me and my sister. Mom and Dad, thank you!

Cover Image Credit: Tingting Bi

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A Letter From My Father, 4 Years Later

Never take your time for granted.

My father is a lot of things. He's kind and patient. He loves others well. He is a skilled leader and communicator. He's humble and carries himself with a sense of humor that is contagious.

He is first and foremost devoted to his family and Christ. He is a hard worker and a patient person. He has a way with words that touches many people's hearts.

And so, there is a multitude of people that look up to my dad for those very reasons.

I am one of them. So, you probably know that I hold my Father's opinion, trust, love, and advice in the highest regard.

My dad has always been known for his speeches or letters that he has written upon special occasions in our family life or his work events, as he is very sentimental person and is in touch with his feelings regarding the things he values most.

Consequently, over the years I have accumulated a series of letters and notes from my dad.

A few days ago, I came across a birthday note I received from my dad via email while my brother and I were traveling Europe following our high-school and college graduations. I was turning 18 and getting ready to move away to college, and my dad recognized that this was a major life transition for him, my mom, and I (especially since I was the youngest and my parents were about to become empty nesters),

Me? I didn't foresee all the change that was headed my way. The good or bad.

But coming across this letter he wrote me almost four years later really hit home for the way I've been feeling lately as a senior in college.

He knew our lives were going to change, and he voiced how crucial of a role college was going to play in my life.

Guess what? He was right.

So, I hope after reading the letter he wrote to me that you recognize how valuable words are years later. And how crucial it is to realize what you have while you've got it because life has a way of throwing unexpected change at you.

"Anna -
It’s already your birthday in Denmark, but not yet here in Huntsville. Happy Birthday, Sweetie!! I am so proud to be your Dad, miss you like crazy, but am thrilled that you’re spending your 18th birthday on a trip of a lifetime with your cool brother. For my 18th birthday, I went to Captain D’s in Alabaster. You may have to eat fish like I did, but at least you’re in an exciting place.
You’re my princess. I miss my little girl with the long pony tail that I could never tie up right. I miss my little soccer girl who learned to be one of the best defenders ever. I miss my The Voice partner. I miss seeing you when you come in late from work to tell me about your awful experiences. I miss my princess.
I’m excited for this time of your life. Time to go but not yet time to leave. This next year will be one of the best of your life with new friends, new surroundings, and new experiences. In college, you will make the best friends of your life and create the best memories of your life. You will say that you miss Mom and Dad, but you really won’t - you’ll be too busy working hard and too excited about too many new people and activities. So I’m OK with all of that. I just miss my princess.
Keep having fun on your trip. Watch after your brother. Remember I love you. And have a Happy Birthday.

Love your parents and your time with them. Never take your life for granted because people love you and cherish you from afar. Value where you are and where you've been because sometimes when you're looking back on it all you'll realize what you didn't fully appreciate things you should've.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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