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

Advertisements

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