lostnchina

…because not all of us have our Peking ducks in a row

Funereality – Part One

When our beloved pet cockatiel of seventeen years died, my dad had witnessed the event.  He said that Binky had been acting sluggish for about a week – sitting on his perch, feathers puffed up, eyes closed, not eating.  And when dad finally looked at him closely – as if on cue – Binky gave one final chirp/croak and fell face first from his perch onto the bottom of his feces-lined cage, knocking down his favorite toy bell, which then fell into his water dish, spraying water everywhere.  To hear my dad describe the event, it was as if Binky’s death been captured on camera from different angles, then played back to us in slow-motion with “Carmina Burina” playing in the background – complete with the bird’s eyes fluttering towards the sky, as he drew his last breath.

Shocked and saddened by Binky’s death, my dad tried to find an appropriate resting place for him – no easy task in a densely-populated condominium in Taipei.  He’d first put Binky in a paper bag from “Bread Societe” – a bakery where dad had purchased some sweet buns from the day before.

However, the “Bread Societe” bag was grease-stained.  Dad then placed Binky into a small box, but couldn’t bring himself to throw Binky out with the trash and he obviously couldn’t keep a dead bird at home.  So, at about 11 o’clock on a Monday night, my 77-year old dad sneaked into his condo’s garden, dug a hole in the ground with a broken soup ladle, and carefully placed the tin box into the grave.  He then covered everything up with lots of dirt, twigs and leaves.  He had wanted to bury Binky with his favorite toy bell, but later changed his mind.

Just as dad was putting the finishing touches onto Binky’s final resting place, the security guard, who was investigating the source of a tinkling bell, shone his flashlight on an elderly man dressed in a stretched-out wife beater, my mom’s hand-me-down gaucho pants, and sporting a comb over that would put Donald Trump to shame.  This man was attacking the ground with what looked like the business end of a soup ladle, his every movement punctuated by the muffled sound of a tinkling bell in his pocket.

Everyone took into account dad’s age and the circumstances, so Binky was allowed to stay where he was.  But dad was (politely) asked by the Homeowners’ Association to refrain from future “gardening” and was even given a lucky bamboo arrangement in a pot.  The bamboo arrangement implied, No hard feelings, sir, but please confine your gardening instincts to this lovely potted bamboo. 

Dad became a reluctant celebrity in his condo complex: he couldn’t leave the house without a neighbor saying, HI.  The brochures for animal shelters, which they’d always received, suddenly took on a new meaning.  Binky became the avian equivalent of canonized, as neighbors visited his grave and left toys, rice, and bird seed.  The bird seed sprouted into plants, which then became weeds, till one day a stray dug up the area, tantalized by the smell of leftovers.

So, if you were to ask how our pet cockatiel’s death affected my dad – traumatized – would not even begin to describe it.

Two years ago.

Two years ago.

Before my dad died in the hospital, my mom had brought his iPad to the ICU, believing that an 84-year old man covered with as many tubes and wires as Boston has streets going in every direction, might suddenly regain consciousness and scrawl a message to his family, or gather enough strength to play a round of Casino Slots.  We might spend a lifetime with loved ones, but nothing they say during that entire time will seem as important as the words they might utter during the last few moments of life.  We hope those words might contain a heartfelt message, or a soundbite, which can be passed onto future generations.  However, some of us may never experience this, or when the words do come, they are unintelligible, like some kind of Esperanto.

Families can also be ripped apart by deathbed declarations: your sister, Joan, was adopted from a traveling band of Chinese acrobats.  Her mother’s stage name was Limber Lotus.  All of the Chinese antiquities your parents have spent their life savings on were Made in Bangladesh.  Your dying parent professes to have loved you unconditionally, despite the fact that you’ve always reminded him of Marty Feldman with a bad home perm.

Three years ago.

Five  years ago.  This is not a perm.

My dad had said nothing to us before he passed.  We didn’t even know what kind of funeral he wanted and whether he wanted to be buried or cremated.  Before going to the hospital, he had been sluggish for a few days, swaddled in layers of clothes and blankets, sleeping in front of the TV, eating very little.  But unlike Binky, dad’s funeral required a little more planning than a paper bag or a box.  And once action is taken – ie. Cremation – it’s usually irreversible.

We thought that the answers might be found in the piles  papers and notebooks dad had kept in his desk.  As my sister Annie can’t read Chinese, and my mom was too fragile to read anything belonging to dad without reminiscing for an hour, then crying for another two, I was left to sort through the mountains of letters, pictures, and documents – some of which were written on scraps of paper.

On a random piece of paper.  In neat English handwriting –

I prefer pens with a finer point than this one…I do not care for this one. 

(Next to this sentence, random scribbles and lines.)

In an undated Chinese fax from dad to mom when he was visiting Annie and I in the U.S. –

Today we went to the “QFC”, which used to be the old “Food Giant”.  The new store has been renovated and expanded, as well as its selection.  Annie found a salad which was to her liking, then Susan’s boyfriend came over.  I don’t know how to tell her he is stupid.  Not a kind of nice stupid, but just plain stupid.  I think Susan is a smart girl and will figure this out soon.

(Note: My dad could have been referring to anyone I’ve dated from 1991 to 2008, and for a brief period in 2010.)

At one point in the 80s, dad was learning Spanish, and kept a little notebook of words and phrases in this:

The Fonz says, "La Yo!"

El Fonzo says, “La Yo!”

In case you’re wondering, the Spanish word for plaid is tartan.

Eighteen years ago.

Eighteen years ago.

After going through all of his things, we also found a barely-used accordion, a gold trophy cup from Vegas’ Circus Circus Casino, a formidable matchbook collection, countless magnifying glasses, Frosted Flakes stashed in Chinese tea tins (dad was diabetic), and three pounds of keys.   Despite the fact that most of the keys were urgently labelled, OPEN THE DOOR!!! in English or in Chinese, they opened nothing.

When our loved ones are alive, we see their Royal Dansk cookie tins of trinkets and papers as junk to be discarded.  After their deaths, we want to keep everything we find, because each object was important to them at some time.  The unused mint-flavored toothpicks from 1995.  The pearl-encrusted toenail clippers. The wooden earwax picks topped off with a tuft of pink feathers. Even as recently as a month ago, I might’ve wondered why dad had more combs than he had hairs on his head.  Now, each object tells a story.   Annie and I recall when we each first saw the monkey claw back scratcher, now in its fourth reincarnation.  The first back scratcher had an index finger pointing straight ahead, so Annie had thought it was a nose picker.

We took turns sitting on dad’s swivel chair and spin around, the way we used to when we were kids.  But Annie and I were both bigger and heavier now, and our legs reached the ground, so we couldn’t spin as quickly or as easily.  And we only spun around on dad’s chair because he thought it was hilarious.  We’d spin and spin, then throw ourselves from the chair onto the bed, then watch the ceiling spin around.  But now there was  nobody to enjoy our swivel chair routine, and the spinning made us nauseous, so we stopped.

Thirty-four years ago.

Thirty years ago.

The Taiwanese Buddhist cremation ceremony allows us to place some of dad’s dearest possessions into his coffin, as well as letters written by his immediate family.   These  objects will accompany the person into the afterlife, so writing about your impending sex change is generally frowned upon.  These are not letters from which you’ll get a reply, but an opportunity for the living to make amends with the dead, reveal some hidden secrets, or get a previous hurt off their chests.  And, as the addressee of your letters will be cremated, the chances of their beating you up for sleeping with their spouse, or stealing their money, is very slim.

While I write letters everyday and have written countless letters to my dad, standard letter writing rules do not apply when writing to the deceased.  Things such as, How are you doing?  What’s the weather like up/down there?  Can I borrow your car?  Would you mind if I borrowed your chainsaw?  will not elicit a reply.  I also had nothing to get off my chest.  Dad and I were constantly communicating by email.  He was always the first to know about a new boyfriend and my vacation or work plans.  I’d often ask him advice about how to handle a difficult problem.

However, in the last few years he became progressively worse at keeping a secret, and I’d often get calls from my mom telling me how my new love interest sounded stupid.

“Your dad says the guy sounds like an idiot.  He doesn’t want to tell you to your face, so I will.  Your boyfriend is no good.  You can do better.  Oh…I’m not supposed to tell you I know about it.  OK.  Never mind.  I’m hanging up now.  Your dad’s upset.”

Thirty-eight years ago.

Thirty-eight years ago.

On the day of the funeral, about half an hour before the ceremony was about to start, I finally decided which letters I would  leave in dad’s coffin.  The first was written when I had first immigrated to Canada with mom and dad stayed in Taiwan due to work.  Mom found this letter in dad’s nightstand, next to the bed:

Susan letter

Hello, Daddy, Last time I wrote eleven lines of text, that’s a lot, isn’t it? Mommy was cleaning up stuff and found a picture. The picture was of you and me, so I asked mommy whether I could keep the picture and she said agreed. Can you come back a little sooner? Because I miss you. This week mom gave me some money, mainly because I did well on the test, so mom gave me some money. Is Sister Wang (housekeeper in Taipei) helping you with the household chores? Please give my regards to Great Grandma and Sister Wang, OK! Wishing you peace and happiness, Susan

The second letter was the one I’d written the day he was admitted to the hospital – two days before he died:

Dear Dad,

I’ve written you many letters but have not yet received your reply.  Hope everything is OK.

Today I went to pay the deposit for wedding reception in Seattle. The deposit is $1500 and it’s still refundable 60 days before the dinner. This restaurant is very nice and is special, because it’s the one where Doug and I had our first date. It is also by the water. I’ve attached some pictures of the banquet room. This room can accommodate up to 80 people for a buffet style meal.

I’ve chosen the option which includes the prime rib as well as seafood, appetizer, dessert and coffee/tea. In case this isn’t enough food I’ve also ordered several dozen  appetizers. For the wine and beer, alcohol, and other beverages, I can decide later whether to have an open bar, or just pay for unlimited beer/wine/beverage depending upon how many people arrive.

Since it’s been a while since you’ve been in Seattle, do you think the doctor would let you travel on the plane to attend the reception?  All of our friends and relatives from Canada and the U.S. will be here.  I’m sure everyone would love to see you again.  Perhaps you can even make a side trip to Vegas and play some slots at “Circus Circus”.  I keep getting letters from “Circus Circus” addressed to you.  They’re offering a promotion for the next few months.  If you spend a certain amount of money they’ll give you a free room.  I do hope you can make it.  It’ll be like a big reunion.  We all miss you a lot.

Love,

Susan

Forty-four years ago.

Forty-four years ago.

Twelve hours before getting onto a plane back to Taipei for the funeral, I was in a Bank Manager’s office trying to explain why they couldn’t freeze dad’s term deposit due to inactivity.  I’d only received the bank notice in the mail the day before. I had dad’s official English death certificate, but nothing to verify that I was his daughter.  The account would be transferred to State while I was in Taiwan attending the funeral.

The Bank Manager was very understanding.  He made all of the appropriate calls and managed to close the account and give me a check for the amount.  There is something that happens to others – even bank employees – when they discover you are bereaved: They feel sorry for you, they allow you to act like an idiot, they speak in hushed and soothing voices, they frequently ask if you need anything, and they don’t talk about life insurance policies.  The thought of death makes us more human.  Despite our differences, we still have death in common.  And the death of a loved one is something that everyone can relate to.

As I got up to leave, the Bank Manager pointed to a Teller and suddenly asked me if I’ve seen the Transformers movie.  “Charlie, here…His nephew did all of the C-G-I in that movie.”

“Well, he did Spiderman, too…and Noah’s Ark….” Charlie offered, “…but Noah’s Ark‘s a piece of crap.”

Spider Man?  Your nephew did Spider ManOh, man – that movie was just freakin’ awesome, all the action scenes.  That’s really somethin’!  Wow, I never knew your nephew did Spider Man!  Susan, if you haven’t seen that movie.  You’ve got to.  That thing has the best action scenes – THE BEST.”

After I shook the Bank Manager’s hand, thinking that I’d sooner suck on a sweaty gym sock than watch any one of those movies in my present state of mind, I walked out into the bright Spring sunshine.  The tulips were just coming out, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, and it smelled like fresh cut grass.

Life – in all of its THX, The Audience is Listening, Dolby-surround-sound, CGI, Lucasfilm goodness – more or less, goes on.

My dad 1930 - 2014

My dad 1930 – 2014

 

115 comments on “Funereality – Part One

  1. clairesinclair
    June 2, 2014

    A beautiful tribute. I lost my mom last year and writing about it really helped me get through a very difficult time.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      June 3, 2014

      Thanks, Claire. I wasn’t sure if I’d wanted to share something so personal over the blog-o-sphere, but I’m glad I did. Thank you so much for reading and condolences on your loss, too.

      Like

  2. gehirnandy
    May 28, 2014

    Reblogged this on gehirnandy.

    Like

  3. amriechia
    May 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on Child Of Woe and commented:
    A very wonderfully written piece.

    May her Dad rest in peace.

    Like

  4. lyndasharp2
    May 22, 2014

    Looking forward to Part Two. Thank you for sharing your father with us all.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 23, 2014

      Thanks, Lynda – though Part Two is going to be quite different from this one.

      Like

  5. hsy11002103
    May 21, 2014

    好早的照片了,应该非常值得回忆和留念,哪怕亲人们不在身边,但是我们拥有共同的时光是无法磨灭的,他们就在我们身边。

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 23, 2014

      你說的沒錯,雖然我父親不在身邊他留下很多讓我珍惜的回憶,謝謝你的留言.

      Like

  6. Desire
    May 20, 2014

    This is really touching, so beautifully written!

    Like

  7. divya012
    May 20, 2014

    sorry fr your loss. must have been heart breaking but d story is simply beautiful

    Like

  8. appslotus
    May 18, 2014

    Reblogged this on Apps Lotus's Blog.

    Like

  9. Sheryl
    May 17, 2014

    What a lovely tribute to your father. I’d like to extend my condolences.

    Like

  10. Dan Antion
    May 17, 2014

    I am very sorry for your loss. We can all relate to the death of a loved one, but reading this touching tribute also makes me think about my father again. Thanks for that. Life does go on, memories help and sadness wanes but things are never the same. I hope writing this helps you move forward. It has helped me today.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      As little as six months ago I wouldn’t have understood what your words, “Life does go on, memories help and sadness wanes but things are never the same”, but after experiencing the loss of my dad, I know exactly what you mean. Thank you for sharing and for your comment.

      Like

  11. Morguie
    May 17, 2014

    An honest look at life and death…I appreciate that you, like myself, were a Daddy’s girl. Funny how we suddenly understand so much more about ourselves once a parent dies…I miss so many things about having my dad here. He’s been gone nearly four years, yet the grief is still quite present in my day-to-day life. I miss having him to talk about ‘difficult things’ the most. He had a way of seeing things from an angle I couldn’t, often showing me that there were more options and remedies and outcomes, therefore giving me a sense of encouragement and power to help myself find solutions. I miss him terribly.
    So, did you marry the ‘stupid’ guy? 🙂 At any rate, I wish you peace and happiness, and I am sorry about your dear father. Make him proud by sharing things you learned from him with others.
    I decided that your well-written story should be shared with my readers. Thank you for sharing it with us. Congratulations, too, on being Freshly Pressed.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Hi Morguie/CJ: Although I don’t like to say it in front of my younger sister, Annie – I was probably Daddy’s Girl, simply because he was around more when I was little. I used to write emails to him often and still find myself composing letters in my head starting with, “Dear Dad –“. Though I tell myself there are all these great memories and pictures of us throughout the years to sustain me, it won’t be the same, I know. And thank you for sharing your experience with me.

      If my husband is the “stupid guy”, he hasn’t reared that ugly head yet. And thanks so much for reblogging this post. I understand you are in that “industry”. My next post will be even stranger – about the weird funeral customs/habits of the Taiwanese. All I can say is that we Taiwanese are pretty good at making the living family members of the deceased wish they were dead as well.

      Like

      • Morguie
        May 20, 2014

        Can’t wait to read it! I am marginally familiar with Buddhist custom and the Eastern religious rites. I do know there is a bit of isolation involved, or separation, if you will.
        I will want to share that post on my site, I am sure. If you don’t mind my reblogging, that is. I try not to reblog on a frequent basis, however, it would be relevant to what I attempt to do as an ‘educator’ of the mysteries of funeral customs. I simply like my readers to enjoy learning about the diversity and variety of rituals honoring the dead. You write in very interesting view that is enjoyable, as well.
        Your husband, if even the most gifted with intellect, would never have been good enough by Daddy’s tough standards…no man probably would have been. But you already know that by now, don’t you?
        🙂 Thanks for letting me share your personal story. It was loved by my readers very much.

        Like

  12. Morguie
    May 17, 2014

    Reblogged this on A View From Under The Prep-Room Table and commented:
    Here is a daughter’s take on her father’s death, and some shared memories. It also gives the reader a glimpse of life in the Chinese culture, and funeral custom, too.

    Like

  13. maryangelis
    May 17, 2014

    Oh Susan, Oh Susan…

    This was beautiful and I feel happy to be here. Who knew, waking up this morning, that after a long day and dental work there would be a whole new story like this!

    And at the same time I do hope it was okay (was it okay?), that your Dad’s loyal burial of Mr. Binky had me laughing out loud sentence after sentence and finally surrendering and doubled over helpless and still laughing. And why? Because we’ve all been there! (Well ok, at least if we are all me anyway.) Just going along, carrying out a sincere and simple errand, and then stuff turns out just like this!

    And it was good laughter because your writing is soaked, like an almond praline, in the liqueur of affection and kindness. There is such an amber warmth in your view of your parents and their beautiful culture. Your sense of humor is so gentle and kind.

    And, and, your choice of detail! It’s just perfect! The prosaic little homelike mood of Ordinary Stuff contrasts perfectly with the wacky flow of the action.

    And how heartwarming, the time-reversed procession of photos showing all the stages in your father-daughterhood.

    Ah me.
    Thank you.
    Mary

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Mary, thank you so much for your wonderful and kind comment. I’ve had many great memories of and with my dad. Life, like death, is bittersweet and funny and sad. I’m glad I have these photos and my memories and your kindness.

      Like

  14. Tara M
    May 17, 2014

    How lucky your father was to have a daughter like you and vice versa. Your words were so sincere and so perfectly written.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Tara, thank you for your kind comment and for reading.

      Like

  15. Mon Ange
    May 17, 2014

    So sorry for your loss. Touching story. Take care.

    Like

  16. Karl Drobnic
    May 17, 2014

    Your point about our propensity for attaching heightened value to death bed statements is a good observation. We most of us have secrets that are best taken to our graves with us, and would do little good if revealed in a last moment declaration. You focused on the sum of your father’s life, and he will rest better for your kindness.

    Like

  17. matosukenik
    May 17, 2014

    If you had an opportunity to ask a successful person one question. What it would be? I’m doing kind of opinion poll. Thank you so much.

    Like

  18. sunepla3jamir
    May 17, 2014

    God bless his soul.

    Like

  19. PoshPedlar
    May 17, 2014

    Thank you for sharing such a personal and touching story. Your dad sounded like a very interesting chap. I really enjoyed reading your post.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Thank you so much. Between the ear wax picker and the casino gold trophy cup, my dad was pretty interesting in every sense of the word! 🙂

      Like

  20. Project Profile
    May 17, 2014

    Reblogged this on All But Good Articles.

    Like

  21. Fiya'Says
    May 17, 2014

    And on a side note, im so sorry for your loss. He must be an amazing man. Rest in peace

    Like

  22. Fiya'Says
    May 17, 2014

    I LOVE the picture in the end. Beautifully written. Following you now. 🙂 xx

    Like

  23. onehindu
    May 16, 2014

    My deepest condolences on the passing of your beloved father. Your tribute to him was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. From the way you describe him I think he would have wholeheartedly approved.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Thank you very much for your comment. And I do hope he would approve.

      Like

  24. tinaslingerie
    May 16, 2014

    my condolences to you and your family……. Great tribute to a great man.

    Like

  25. wannabepoet
    May 16, 2014

    Beautiful, honest and raw post.

    My condolences on your loss.

    Like

  26. Anonymous
    May 16, 2014

    In my country we say live and rememper him.sorry for your Lost.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      I agree with you – live and remember him. Thanks for your lovely comment.

      Like

  27. francescaannierossi
    May 16, 2014

    Reblogged this on in the making.

    Like

  28. amlakyaran
    May 16, 2014

    very nice post…

    Like

  29. worzelodd
    May 16, 2014

    Lovely tribute, funny and sad just as the great transition is. Thanks.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Yes, you are right – the great transition is bittersweet. Thanks for that observation and for reading.

      Like

  30. lisaknee
    May 16, 2014

    Beautiful post and a loving tribute, very sorry for your loss and hope writing this helped in some way, Lisa

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Lisa, writing this post did help a lot, and thank you for your kindness.

      Like

  31. theramblersclaim
    May 16, 2014

    Gorgeously written, Susan. Many thoughts for you and your family.

    Like

  32. goatgirlgazette
    May 16, 2014

    Beautiful.

    Like

  33. Michelle [michalogy]
    May 16, 2014

    What a touching tribute. Reminds me that I should continue to appreciate my parents while they’re alive and cherish the time I have with them 🙂 I liked looking at the old photographs of you and your dad

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Michelle, I do hope, if anything – this post will remind people to send more time with loved ones, just as you said. I’m so glad I had that time and all those letters with my dad…and, of course the old photographs.

      Like

  34. Rae
    May 16, 2014

    This was really beautiful, and I mean that in every way possible.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      Thank you so much, Rae. And thank you for stopping by.

      Like

  35. valentin10
    May 16, 2014
  36. gallivance.net
    May 16, 2014

    Oh Susan, I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dad. What a beautiful, moving tribute filled with love. And in typical “Susan Style” you had me laughing and crying at the same time. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed again – as always, richly deserved. Wishing you all the best, Terri

    Liked by 1 person

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      It’s tough dad’s passed away, but he’s left us with a ton of memories (and weird junky stuff) we can sift through and will hopefully become the fodder of future blog posts. Writing this post was very helpful in the healing process. Thanks for stopping by, as always.

      Like

  37. qpillowcase
    May 16, 2014

    I feel like dads should be there for weddings DB so it’s sad

    but your dad sounded awesome – is he wearing a jacket in the last photo or the big sleeved things that ancient chinese people used to wear?

    LOL ASKING mainly because of the big sleeves, but The collar doesn’t look that Chinese so probably not haha

    I love the black and white photos, and I hope your dad is having fun wherever he is.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 20, 2014

      At least we had gotten married before he died, it’s just that was unable to attend the wedding reception which is later this year. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  38. That was funny and beautiful. My condolences to you and your family. I love that your dad was still getting those Vegas offers 😉

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 18, 2014

      Ryan, when I saw your comment I immediately thought about your dad’s death and the birth of your son, and I thought how strange it is for death to be bittersweet like that, because that’s how it is with my situation.

      On another note, my dad was a high roller at Circus Circus, though this is not anything to be proud about. They’d solicit him all the day. Dad claimed to know which slots paid off better and during which times of the day. Despite this knowledge, he’d still win some and lose more, which again justifies my belief that Vegas is a waste of time.

      Like

      • Yes… i did notice in there that congratulations are also in order. I don’t know if I missed that in a previous blog, but if you’re getting hitched, then we will all be missing out on some great ‘dating fail’ posts in the future. It will be a happy/sad time 😦
        I’m wondering if your whole Vegas hating thing stems from the fact that your dad was a high roller at the WORST CASINO IN VEGAS!!! Was that your first exposure to Vegas? Did the clowns at Circus Circus scare you? Is that why you don’t like it? 😉

        Like

  39. Chopstik
    May 12, 2014

    Condolences on your loss. But you have written a wonderful tribute to your father. I know he is impressed and happy – though it sounds like he always has been. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Elmer Nev Valenzuela
    May 9, 2014

    Oh life. Teach me how to face what you have been through Sue. In all these, all I see is your sweetness and strength

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      Elmer, you are too kind. It’s something we all have to go through, and based on your photography, I’m sure you can handle it quite well.

      Like

  41. gingerfightback
    May 9, 2014

    Sorry for your loss. Best wishes to all the family.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      Thanks, Jim. Do miss Bob on the Pot, et al, and look forward to it when I’m in a better frame of mind. I’m sure they are all up to their usual shenanigans, and can’t wait to read them again.

      Like

  42. expatlingo
    May 9, 2014

    I adore reading these small touches about your dad. Especially the note about not liking the pen, the fax about your stupid boyfriend and the Fonzi notebook. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      Thanks. Jennifer. I see you’ve had your own drama about relocating in the near future. I must catch up on your posts some time. Glad to hear from you.

      Like

  43. Anonymous
    May 9, 2014

    A wonderful tribute to Daniel. The pictures of the both of you through the years are very touching. He will be missed by many, I am sure.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      Thank you for your comment. He was very much into his work, and at the funeral, dozens of employees from decades ago attended, it was very touching. But to me, he’s just dad, and one who will be missed.

      Like

  44. Miriam
    May 9, 2014

    So sorry for your loss. Thanks for writing about it: beautifully done.

    Like

  45. becomingcliche
    May 9, 2014

    And congratulations on your upcoming wedding! No more internet dating posts? Would Doug mind if you picked up a Match.com date every few weeks for blog-fodder?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      You’re the only one who got the wedding part! Friends and family always give me condolences and then slip in, “…and congrats on your wedding!” in a whisper. Thank you so much. It’s the exact definition of bittersweet, I suppose. Doug has read your comment and is not thrilled about me going back on match.com. Something about wedding vows, and “till death do we part” kind of thing.

      In other news, I stole 4 more Hello Kitty barf bags, and I’m thinking if I keep it up I can send wedding invites in them. I also stole the safety evacuation instructions with Hello Kitty telling you how to leave the plane in case of an emergency. I just hope Hello Kitty is not piloting the plane.

      Like

  46. becomingcliche
    May 9, 2014

    Susan, what a beautifully written post! I am so terribly sorry for the loss of your dad. Your post had me laughing until I cried and then just crying. Beautiful tribute, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      Thank you for your kindness, Heather – and for suggesting this post to Freshly Pressed. It wasn’t an easy post to write, but necessary. I hope we all just cherish the time we have with our loved ones while they/we are still alive. I’m so grateful I did.

      Like

      • becomingcliche
        May 12, 2014

        I’m glad you’re okay with me nominating you. I was torn. It is such a personal post, but I think other people should read it.

        The last photo of you and your dad melts my heart.

        Like

  47. WSW
    May 9, 2014

    Oh Susan I’m so sorry that you’ve lost your dad. What a fine and moving tribute. What a lucky lucky life.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      Thanks, Wendie. I may have to take up accordion lessons; I can’t seem to put it up on Craig’s List.. What have you been up to? Have not read any of your posts in a while, either.

      Like

      • WSW
        May 13, 2014

        We’re out in your neck of the woods now, Sue! San Francisco. Ever travel south?

        Like

        • lostnchina
          May 13, 2014

          Hey, Wendie! What are you doing all the way in SF? Italy got too boring for you? I’m not in the States now, still in Taipei. Will you be out on the west coast again anytime in the near future?

          Like

          • WSW
            May 14, 2014

            I’m living in San Fran now, Suzy! What a bout you?

            Like

            • lostnchina
              May 15, 2014

              Whaaaat? Since when did you move to SF? And how do you like it over NYC?

              I now divide my time between Half-baked Potato Land, the Saguaro state, and the Evergreen state. Added to that, occasional forays into Asia. Will you be in SF permanently? I’m not planning to go down there any time soon, but driving from the NW to Saguaro country in the fall, we might be passing through.

              Like

              • WSW
                May 16, 2014

                We are here to stay. Apartment rented, lifestyle adopted, attitude adjusting, but not very much. San Fran is, by all appearances, the last outpost of the quality dive bar. Keep me in the loop!

                Like

  48. katechiconi
    May 9, 2014

    Beautifully written, funny, touching and full of love. My condolences. One is never ready to lose a parent…

    Like

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. You are absolutely right – one is never ready to lose a parent.

      Like

  49. Leslie
    May 9, 2014

    What a marvelous tribute to your dad. The pictures, growing older as he grows younger, punctuate the text perfectly.

    My sympathies on his passing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lostnchina
      May 11, 2014

      Leslie, thank you for your comment and for your sympathies. It wasn’t an easy post to write, but it was necessary to write it. Thanks for reading.

      Like

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