The Tie

The Tie

Five years ago, I was able to wish my dad “Happy Father’s Day” in person for the first time in decades… maybe ever. A month later, he passed, and in 2014, I decided it was finally time to let go of some of the sadness I harbored every third Sunday in June.


Through elementary school, it was a way of life to see my dad during his visits, perplexingly never in June. I remember his efforts to stay longer, but never lost hope for I was always rewarded with promises of next time.

Through middle school, it was a way of life to call my dad, purposefully every third Sunday of June. I remember answering machines, but never lost hope for I was occasionally rewarded with his actual voice.

Through high school, it was a way of life to think of my dad, poignantly every day in June. I remember the purchase–a tie, red, soft, and priced at $20, a fortune to a freshman who just discovered the world of work. I remember his wavering responses about a Father’s Day visit, but though I never lost hope, the visit that never came left me with the tie.

Instead, I was rewarded five years later at my college graduation, but his surprising arrival met with his not-so-surprising departure before Father’s Day, which, once again, left me with the tie.

Even still, my hope was rewarded six years later with a phone call–he was sick. As fate would have it, my cousin’s wedding was later that year in June, but also as fate would have it, I couldn’t find the tie. This pinnacle moment, years in the making, and the tie would not surface.

My August plans to visit and gift my gift were soured, for just before the end of July, he passed, and for one final time, left me with the tie.

These are the ties he left behind. My tie isn’t in there, but after years of trying to give him this one measly gift of fabric, it was he who was rewarding me with his inadvertently lessons to believe in people, in hope, in love, and in gratification that is not always instant.

Though he never knew of the tie and all its meaning during his life, I’ll never give up hope that he is in a better place where he now knows, and my tie to him was always there.

#HappyFathersDay. I miss you. 

The Tie

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Happy Birthday, Dad

I wrote this four years ago, five months after he passed and following the Chargers’ key loss last night, I thought about how cyclical life can be. I would like to think that somewhere, my dad is still holding his breathe like me, because, sometimes, hope is all we have… and some intimidating odds. Good luck, Chargers, on your playoff run, and happy birthday, Dad.


Today would have been my dad’s 68th birthday and the first thing I thought of was football.

It’s January 15, 1995, the day of the AFC Championship game. The score is 17-13, Chargers. The Steelers have the ball with time for just one more play, and I am watching my dad’s every move.

He turns up the volume, I get really quiet. He scoots up in his chair, I scoot forward from the floor. The ball is thrown into the end zone. He holds his breath, I cover my face. I peek just in time to see a Charger tip the ball away!

I turn to see my dad jump so high, his hands hit the ceiling. Ignoring his injury, he picks me up and tosses me in the air while yelling, “Chargers go to the Super Bowl! Chargers go to the Super Bowl!”

That moment was all about love. Love for football, love for hope, love for family.

Right now, I feel he’s thinking about football, hoping for a playoff spot, and knowing I’m doing the same.

Like father, like daughter. Happy birthday, dad. ❤

Don’t Stop Believing

That mantra isn’t just for karaoke.

It’s been a few days since the anniversary of my dad’s passing (7/22), and this year, I consciously held off on a post, until today when a friend told me I had too much faith in people.

I, refusing to believe it to be a negative quality, responded, “Faith is what we possess and accountability is what people should have whether or not we believe.”

Story of my life, and invariably, my feelings toward my dad.

He was not a full-time father, but I was a full-time believer. Countless times he’d make well-intended promises that were not-so-well-executed, but my faith never wavered.

My memories are not riddled with fights of the number of Father’s Days, phone calls, birthdays, and graduations he missed. They’re filled laughter, joy, and love for when he came through.

It’s not my job to hold anyone accountable, to make them feel bad for their choices. I’ve made it my job to not take anything for granted, nor turn people away.

I know my belief in him gave him a home to come back to each time, even if it was for one last time.

So today, I know that although he passed alone, my dad knew I loved him, always.

❤ Việt Ca

PS. The Chargers are no longer playing for San Diego, but I’m still excited for us to catch some games when the season begins. 🤣