Anniversary Update | Hi Dad

Hi Dad,

A lot has happened in the last year, and even if it’s a relief you don’t have to deal with it, if only you were here to deal with it with us.

  • COVID-19 is still rampant in the US because people struggle with caring about themselves versus others, while the rest of the world knows they’re not mutually exclusive. If you were here, you may convince Mom to stay in, but then I’d have to worry about you both.
  • Racial relations have elevated from where not being racist is no longer enough, and being anti-racist is an active choice. It’s too bad I never got to know more about your thoughts on matters like this.
  • I did my first oil change! Took three hours, BUT it’s a step up from when you taught me how to check my oil and coolant levels.
Vietca's First Oil Change
  • I started dating and met a lot of… different types. They weren’t keepers, but the stories sure are. Remember the kid who “proposed” to me from another car at a Houston intersection? I still have the ring.
  • I went camping for the first time in years AND finally saw a bear in the wild! Remember that huge bear you got me when I was four, and someone stole it off the truck on moving day?
  • I built my first computer. I mean, I kinda built the others, but was more hands on this time. The first one you got me had a black and green screen. I just found my diary entries on floppy disks.
  • My friends helped me make a pumpkin Halloween costume, but everyone thought I was a strawberry, hot chili, or tomato. I was a… Viet Cà (cà = tomato in Vietnamese). Now that I think about it, I think you told me my first pun, in Vietnamese no less. Something about a lady with a lemon waiting for a boy with a bottle, haha.
  • I used my bilingual skills to make students feel more comfortable in the classroom! Remember the Vietnamese teacher who said my name wasn’t real, and seven year-old me said if she didn’t know it was, she’s not qualified to teach us? I got to spend the whole summer with you learning to read and write.
  • My friends and I had a fierce debate about how to close takeout boxes. I think I won. Remember that bigger-than-me barrel of fortune cookies from your restaurant? I’m taller now, but still collect fortunes. I have a feeling you had something to do with me getting this one.
  • Mom needed a couple of surgeries, and was stubborn about letting others care for her. Guess it runs in the family. She’s better now because we caught it in time. I still wish you told us sooner.
  • I visited Filoli Gardens for my first time, and it was absolutely beautiful! I still love Christmas as much as I did when you bought us our first Christmas tree in the first house we lived in together.

Finally, the Chargers didn’t do very well, but at least the AFC West won it. I still remember that Chargers-Steelers game we watched together that led to the Super Bowl. They’ll get there… soon, I hope.

Sorry, that was a lot, but it was all to say that however much you missed doesn’t amount to how much I miss you this year, today. It was nice catching up.

Love, Việt Ca

Accountability, Table for One

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.”

Accountability Signage

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. 🤣


Photo credit | Volkov

First posted | June 26, 2017

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. 🤣

 

Thank Goodness for Regret

re·gret
/rəˈɡret/

n.

a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity.

Today, I thank goodness for living with regret.

It’s been three years since my father’s death, and I think it’s time I stop punishing myself and let go of the guilt I’ve been harboring since then, the regret. This is my first time sharing this with anyone, so here goes:

My dad was receiving treatment in San Jose and because I was in San Diego, my visits were few and far in between. I even reasoned that it was best to put my would-be travel costs toward his medical expenses.

I flew up in April and June, and was planning another trip for late July, but my family encouraged me to visit sooner. The sense of urgency was thick, but I pushed it aside. Call it denial, or maybe blind optimism that there was more time. Regardless, I stayed my course.

On July 21, I was out when my dad called. I let it go wanting to call back in a quieter setting, but he rang a second time. Panic set in; I missed him again while rushing outside, but immediately called back. My uncle picked up and said my dad was already sleeping. He really wanted to talk to me, but was too tired, so I’d have to try again after he wakes up.

He never did wake up again, and I never got my phone call. He passed the next morning and in the seconds after hearing, “He didn’t make it,” the regret and guilt set in, and it never left.

Regret is typically a shameful word. We hide it deep in our closets, and hope it never rears its ugly head as a reminder of our transgressions, but today, I move that we embrace regret.

We’ll always wonder the what ifs of paths not taken, but so long as we fully commit to our decisions and their consequences, we will come out stronger.

Living with regret doesn’t have to be a bad thing because at least you’re still living.

I miss you, Dad. It’s Comic Con weekend, so I hope I can still have a #HappyFriday. Have fun watching my shenanigans and if it’s of any value, I think our last conversation would’ve been a great one.

I love you,

Việt Ca

Regret