It’s been 8 weeks now…

This weekend marks 8 weeks since my Dad passed away. Two months.

I’ve been counting the weeks because my Mom, Bro, and I have spent the last 7 Saturday mornings at the place where my Dad’s ashes are interred. In Buddhist tradition, the funeral ceremony lasts for the first 7 weeks (7 weeks x 7 days = 49 days) after someone passes away. Although it’s been hard, I found solace after my Dad’s Memorial Service in going to the weekly chanting services every Saturday morning (every 7th day) with my Mom, Bro, and other assorted family members and close friends at the Rose Mausoleum/Pagoda where my father’s ashes were interred last month. The Buddhist Columbarium at Rose Hills is also where my Grandfather (Dad’s Dad) and Grandmother (Mom’s Mom) had their ashes interred. My Dad’s niche is right next to my Grandfather’s. I would cut flowers from my front yard and bring them as offerings for the service and leave them by my Dad and Grandfather’s niches.

This week, I didn’t do any of that.

Now that it’s the 8th week, my “new” routine has come to an end. I know that Buddhists stress the impermanence of life and the inevitability of death, but it still makes me sad to realize that my Dad is gone in the way I knew him. The last two months have simulatenously flown and crawled by. I felt sad that I didn’t go visit my Dad’s ashes on Saturday, but I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to do so every week. I had to give myself permission to make other plans that morning. Instead, I went to an appointment in San Gabriel and then visited my grandmother.

In the afternoon, I went back home to visit/help my Mom around the house. My Dad’s photo, the one we had to select and have enlarged for the Memorial Service, has been placed prominently on the mantle, kind of like an altar. When I used to walk through the front door, I used to yell loudly into the house (depending on who was home), “MOM! DAD! BRO! I’m home!” When I got home, my Mom ran to the front door to let me in. And my brother wasn’t home. So I had no one to yell to. So then I just said hi to my Dad (well, his picture, anyway) and told him I was home, kind of like how I used to. Except it was definitely not the same.

I spent the rest of Saturday in the garage, aka: my Dad’s office, rifling through boxes and boxes of stuff that my parents had saved from our childhoods. My Dad was an architect and an art lover. As a kid (ok, as a teenager, too), I used to pore through his library of books about Picasso, Miro, Monet, and more… My parents saved countless pieces of artwork my brother and I had made. I dug through boxes and boxes of my schoolwork from junior high and high school, throwing out years and years of homework and notes… kept because of all the “A’s” I’d earned over the years. (Sheesh, I was SUCH a nerd!). I found years and years worth of letters I’d exchaged with pen pals over the years. And I threw out all kinds of flyers and other papers from various high school activities I’d participated in.

And I felt sad because even though all these things were in the past and I didn’t need to hang on to them, when I saw all these things that I’d kept over the years, a flood of memories came back to me of all the things our family did together and I worried that without these things to remind me of them, that I’d forget them forever.

So then I had to give myself permission to throw all these things away and remind myself that the memories weren’t in the things, they are in me.

I still haven’t really gotten to the point that I really want to say more than a few words about my Dad and I’m definitely not at the point that I feel like I can write about it, but then I worry if I don’t just put it down, will I never get to it? There are all these things I’d wanted to do with my Dad, especially things like writing down our family history and to do a blog with him about Taiwan/Taiwanese independence. It makes me hurt when I think about it all because now we’ll never get to do these things together.

Now I also want to make a website about my Dad, something to memorialize him with. (Nevermind the fact that I had promised my Dad I’d help him build one for the stuff he was working on while he was alive.) But it’s overwhelming to go through the stuff and organize it all, and I’m scared I won’t do him justice.

So now I’m scared that I’m going to be stuck in this strange rut of doing nothing because I’m overwhelmed and afraid I won’t do things good enough.

I guess all I can do is to give myself permission to do things a little at a time, remind myself that my life is different and that I’ve got to move on, and that my Dad would want me to be myself and live my life fully, not to be paralyzed by this.

So maybe as one of these first baby steps of getting my life “back to normal,” I have to give myself permission to blog again. To realize that before this happened, I had no problem writing about things that were insignificant and that I every post I write doesn’t have to be about my Dad anymore. That I shouldn’t feel like people will think I’m not thinking about my Dad all the time, especially when I’m not writing about him all the time.

And I have to give myself permission to write about my Dad when the impulse strikes and not to save it up to a time when I can “write something well,” because time is precious and sometimes it’s more important to just write it down, even if it’s not perfect.

I have to give myself permission to also spend my time with my friends again and that I don’t have to feel guilty if I don’t spend every free moment with my family: balance is important.

I guess that’s enough permission for myself for the moment, so I’ll indulge with another photo of me and my Dad. In the one below, I would guess that I’m maybe 5 to 7 years old, based on the dress I’m wearing. I can’t remember the context of the photo at all, but I know that we are in the family room of at my Grandparents’ place. That couch has long since been replaced and the light on the right now sits in the living room of my parents’ house, but everything else in the picture is pretty much the same. Except for the people, of course.

Dad & Joz: Early 1980s

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18 Responses to “It’s been 8 weeks now…”



  • Aww. Ikle Jozzy! If you are interested, here is one of ikle Nez at about the same age flanked by my mum and sis.


  • Such a sweet photo of you and your dad! What a cute lil thing you were (and still are) in your brown velvet? dress. Absolutely adorable! Glad to see you back writing again, we all miss ya : ) Hello to Yoshi from me and Doetzi.


  • such a cute picture joz!


  • Heh…was that post inspired by my recent post on my blog?

    It’s good to see that you’re moving along–what’s seen as big steps by most people are really tiny, painful steps that only you can see and experience. I remember feeling incredibly guilty when I wouldn’t go to my mom’s grave every week, or see my family every week–but I gradually realized the same thing you’re going through now–that your dad and your memories and experiences of him live in you, as those of my mom live in me. You’ll gradually get your life back–but you are a totally different person, and you’re a better person because of it.


  • Actualy, stkyrice, I just read your post this morning… so I guess it was just coincidence!


  • Joz, all of that permission was such a good thing to see. You know, I totally understand what you are saying. As I was reading it and thinking about it, my thoughts were (not that this is important, but perhaps it will help) keeping yourself from the paralysis that you ‘speak’ of and just getting some of those little things down as the mood strikes you in your day to day blogging will help you capture some really precious memories that waiting for the time for perfection may make you miss.

    In looking back over my stacks of notebooks from the past 15 years of scribblings I’ve been doing while waiting for the time to write that family history, when I have captured some little things, there are some stories I had completely forgotten about and am so very glad I had been doing the scribbles in the meantime.

    You sound like you are healing. Big hugs. You are in my thoughts.


  • Awwww…so cute. Dad was a good looking fellow, good to think of you continuing the work he started.


  • I’m glad you’re allowing yourself to live your life with just a little less guilt each day. You’re right, your Dad would have wanted you to be fully you. Keep your head up, Cuz.


  • Seriously, dude, you were a WAY cute kid!

    Good mentioning about giving yourself permission. I don’t give myself nearly enough permission to do stuff that I should.


  • A great, insightful post about moving on. Welcome back and you and your family are still in my thoughts. (big hugs)


  • Hey!!! I “think” I still have your letters from over the years. I am not 110% sure. So when I read you finding letters from pen pals, I remembered that I had yours for the longest time. I am sure they are somewhere ha ha. Either way, if I do not have them – then I will give myself permission to be okay with that too.


  • Lisa, I’m so glad to hear from you! I was thinking about you the other day. Many of your letters (not all) were in the pile I found on Saturday. I know there are more elsewhere…


  • hey sweetie, you have to give yourself permission to live your life and be around your friends. your dad would have wanted you to. i’d hate to see you wind up depressed and confused like i became.

    the photo’s cute. i looked at you and thought ‘damn she hasn’t changed.’


  • “And I have to give myself permission to write about my Dad when the impulse strikes and not to save it up to a time when I can “write something well,” because time is precious and sometimes it’s more important to just write it down, even if it’s not perfect.”

    Sometimes the ‘imperfect’ posts are the most beautiful.

    I’m glad to see that you’ve allowed yourself to continue on with life and friends. (HUGS)


  • That’s a really cute picture of the two of you. It’s really good to know you’re doing ok right now, and of course, great to hear from you. :)


  • Thank you for that post, you reminded me how precious time with family is and also reminded me how hard loss can be. I’ve been doing a lot of military funerals and sometimes I forget that the people there–mourning–are real and deserve to get a hundred percent from the service I provide. You reminded me that when I provide taps for families it is more than just a “job” I do for a paycheck. They deserve the honor.

    I’m also glad to see you writing again.


  • Joz,

    First, a big, warm hug for you, because it’s exactly what I’d do if I met with you right now.

    The path to healing… certainly an important one. You’ve taken so many steps already, and have acknowledged all the important things, little things, that sometimes can be overlooked. You’re giving yourself permissions, allowing yourself and your emotions to have their space and their time. Good for you! Know that I keep you in my mind and heart daily, and I hope that the thought of that brings a smile to your face, just as a smile comes to mine.

    And thank you, Joz, because such an insightful post could have not come at just any moment, and not to just anyone. It is full of emotion and energy; it moved me to remember what is truly important.

    Much love, Joz. Keep on keeping on.

    Zee

    P.S. I’ve missed you. I’m glad you’ve writing again. :)


  • Thanks for sharing all of this with us joz. My mom died in 1994 and at the time someone explained that although time goes by … there will always be a space that can’t be filled. When I read your posts about your dad, I have truly been feeling them. Lots of love to you and your family and keep up the great posts. I give you tons of credit for having the energy to not only feel everything you’re feelng, but being able to share all of it with us.

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