Monday, March 11, 2013

An Obiturary: Losing you

"Have you cried?"

Knowing what to say was never his strong suit. When he asked, he was looking away. And when I was on the verge of tears, he changed the subject. He never said the right things, but then, in that moment, somehow, he got it right.

You passed away at 10:30 p.m. pacific standard time. 3/9/2013.

When I was a kid, I was always scared of you. You were my great uncle, you were stern, you never joked or seemed to laugh. And then I grew up, and you got sick, and my perception of you changed, or maybe you changed, with age and illness. You came to America first, during the war. And in the months and years after, you got the paperwork done for your nieces, nephews, wife and kids you'd left behind. You are the reason I'm here, living the life that I do now.

After you got sick, your marriage fell apart, things fell apart. She stayed with you because she owed you that much. You never traveled. And finally you did, before things got really bad. And that was when you realized, you'd waited too long to see the world. You'd worked too hard for too long, and had put it off for so long, that, at some point, it did seem like, too late.

In the later years, you smiled a lot, I'd even say you were kind of funny. Entirely different from the man I knew growing up. I wonder if that's what age and the knowledge of death does to you sometimes. You suffered for a long time. I know in the end, you just didn't want to be in pain anymore.

It'll just be strange now, going back, and you not being there. But I understand.

Rest in peace Ong Bay.

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