Makes me wanna cherish all the people in my life, whether it be friends, family and enemies.
My dad won my mom over by being both a gentleman and a bit of a jerk (but not at the same time).
The first time they met, he made an impression on her because he stood up when she entered the room, like any chivalrous dude would do. And then, he got my mom to go out with him by honking his car horn at her—bip-bip-bip—over and over while following her on the road as she was walking home.
He didn’t stop the racket until she agreed to have dinner with him.
I don’t remember the story behind my parents. Whether he won her over a honk of horn, if ever he courted her and did some grand gestures. All I know is that I was made of love one night while they were still in college. Bit of a shocker.
Not alone after death
They were married for 26 years when my dad died on Father’s Day 12 years ago. He’d been sick for a long time and we were already expecting the end.
That didn’t make it any easier, though, especially on my mom.
She chose to take my dad’s ashes home with her instead of leaving the urn in a columbarium. The ashes are now in a wooden urn which sits on my mother’s dresser in her bedroom. That way, she wouldn’t be completely alone.
And my dad has made sure of that.
Dad replies from beyond the grave
A day after my father’s death, my mom was turning their room upside down, looking for the papers for my dad’s funeral plan.
It wasn’t in the briefcase where it was supposed to be—my mom, brother and uncle all looked separately, and none of them could find the papers.
In desperation, my mom asked my dad for help, and he replied in his usual quiet way. When my mom looked in the briefcase again, the papers were right there, on top of the pile, in the place where they all looked before.
Sending out handwritten instructions
My dad did it again months later. And this time, he did it with his odd sense of humor. My mother had to drive somewhere but she couldn’t figure out how to get there.
Me, I have the sense of direction of a teaspoon so I was no help there.
When my mom took out her wallet from her bag, she found a note in my dad’s handwriting, with detailed directions to the place where she was going. And at the end of the note, he had one last piece of advice for my mom, who tends to yammer on when she’s in the car (and who also doesn’t pay attention to street signs).
My dad wrote: “Concentrate on driving and don’t talk too much.”
A different set of directions for me
His directions brought my mom straight to where she had to go; no wrong turns, no stopping to ask for directions.
He did it to me, too, about two years later, but with a different set of directions.
The day before a job interview, I was getting ready by thinking of what to wear (that’s all I did to get ready for job interviews back then).
When I was arranging my bag for the next day, I found a handwritten note from my dad.
It was a list of questions that he said I should ask my interviewer. I was supposed to ask the interviewer about a detailed job description, benefits and working hours. I brought that list with me and had the list memorized by the time of my interview.
To comfort myself after my dad died, I imagined him hugging me whenever I went through a rough patch; I gave his memory a voice in my head and talked to myself the way I thought he would speak to me.
But my mom didn’t have to imagine. She didn’t have to strain to squeeze out a memory of my dad’s face. Because as he had demonstrated, he never left her.
Remember that thing that they say about love being eternal? I believe that with all my heart. I only have to look at my parents to prove it.
I know that even though my dad has this series of irritating attitude, to stay together for 26 years after 5 kids is really a big mutual decision to make. I have always admired how my parents are still in happily in love, still sweet to each other and talking things out together. I love the idealism that they show us kids of how relationships should be. And for that, I really admire my parents.
I don’t want a memory as lonely as this. I don’t want to remember anybody as melodramatic as this could get. But I sure do know one thing: What ever life may bring — we should make sure that we use that enough chances to make our loved ones feel the love we have for them.