My dad was lucky that he didn't have any dementia or loss of memory, and he was sharp till near the very end. Even in the week before this last hospitalization, he designed new technology and ordered a high-end color laser printer that he was so excited to try. Go dad -- once an engineer, always an engineer. I'm also so glad that he was able to be in California for the last few weeks of his life, enjoying sunshine and clean air, the company of his grandchildren, and my mom's delicious home cooking. He was happy, and much more himself here.
The last few days have been difficult, and the grief ambushes me still, but I’ve also found a rare and precious comfort in sharing my grief and celebrating my father’s incredible life with my friends and family. Through the uncertainty and challenges of the last few months, my brothers and I have all become so much closer and far more understanding of each other. My dad's many near-death episodes also granted all of us a chance to come to terms and make peace with his dying in our own ways.
Though the travel was challenging, I am grateful to have been with him as much as I have been. I know I've done all I can, and I know how much my father has appreciated our efforts to be with him and give him comfort and strength. My mom's been incredibly strong, as she always has been, but she's tired and deeply affected. I'm so glad I could be here for her and share many tender and teary laughs and cries. In some ways she's been preparing for this for some time, but nevertheless the impact is hard to imagine for her, and I hope she gives herself time to heal. She's planning on moving back to Beijing after my dad's funeral service. She still loves it there; for her, Beijing is definitely still home.
We've been making some funeral arrangements and settling things as best we can. We had a very small, family dinner and commemoration for my dad last night, and will hold a full service on August 24th here in Berkeley at a beautiful chapel in Oakland designed by Julia Morgan, the Chapel of the Chimes. We'll also have a memorial service for him in Beijing in September sometime.
I believe that the loss of my father – and the loss of anyone close and dear – directly shapes my ability to love more fully. If there’s one gift I truly treasure now, it’s a sense of timeless love that I’ll always keep in my heart for him, and for my whole family. His slow departure from this world also granted me affirmation that our time on this earth is precious but that our spirit is eternal. I know my dad is always going to be close. Nevertheless, the grief is there and I welcome it – it is sometime beautiful, and other times commensurate with the weight of losing my father, whom I loved so deeply. I'm going to miss you, dad, but I know your spirit is shining brightly, as it always has. You've returned to the universal energy that you always believed -- and I believe -- animates this magical, mysterious world we have.
I love you, and will always love you, dad. Mimi
Teacher, writer, lover of movement and meditation who lives with her husband, dog, three cats, 6 chickens and 10,000 bees.