It’s August 1st. The third anniversary of my father’s passing.
I didn’t want to go at first, but I wanted him to know he was missed.
When I remember his passing, it’s sometimes filled with guilt and shame. There are two things which immediately are attached to his passing.
The hospital called us to come down, that he wasn’t doing so well. I did. I saw him lying in the bed, eyes open, my mom sitting across from him, my sister, nurses…I don’t remember exactly.
“Hi, DAD!” (trying to sound normal, cheerful and upbeat).
Nobody said anything.
“He passed away already,” my mom said.
“What? When?” and I looked at him. I walked over and closed his eyes. I kissed his forehead and whispered goodbye to my dad. I heard talk around me about “taking the body” and funeral plans and I don’t know what else.
So when I went to visit him today, on the third anniversary of his death, I think I still felt shame for not being there at the moment he passed. I apologized today.
The second memory attached to his anniversary was visiting a psychic. A business partner told me to visit her, and she does tell you things which will happen, but it’s partially true (you know, if she sees you in a big house in the near future–well, yes, but I was RENTING it, not owning it).
Anyway, I went to see about the future of my relationship, and the first thing Lan (the psychic) says to me is, “Your dad is happy now.”
“Huh?” I was expecting love, relationships, career and travel….Dad? Dad who?
She said, “Your dad. He passed right? He was very happy to go. You should know.”
And even though that incident was also mixed with shame and guilt over my self-centeredness, somehow it helped to balance out the enormity of the guilt of not being there when he passed.
I always tell my mom I give her flowers now while she’s alive so can appreciate them. Then I’m entitled to put flowers on her grave, when she won’t be able to. (You have to understand, visiting your family and gravesites is like a cult here in Hawaii…we actually have family gatherings and lunches on site during big, round number anniversaries).
And I think about my passing, I don’t want any of my loved ones to carry this kind of guilt of not being there at the moment I pass over. I do want them to feel guilty if they don’t find the time to spend with me while I’m alive. It’s now that we can make new memories and moments for me to forget in my old age!
I hope this is how my dad felt before he let go of this world. I hope he remembered all the times he provided for his family, all the birthday parties and special moments, traveling around the world with us, and especially taking photos with me like this one. Dad, you are missed.