Life had just given me a whirlwind experience and a lesson to be learned.
My Uncle “Curly” had passed away on July 4th. He had a rare auto immune disease scleroderma. I remember when he was in the hospital a couple of months earlier I had paid him a visit. The moment I saw him, flash backs of my dad came back. He looked as depleted as Dad did. My heart broke. But I didn’t do it for me, it broke for my Aunt and cousins. It broke because I knew the pain that they were in, and inevitably were going to experience. If I could take that pain from them, from anyone, I would.
The funeral was planned on that following Saturday, the same day my Father-in-Law was getting married. I was supposed to be celebrating the new life for one side of my family, a happy time! But here I was, put in the position of mourning the loss of a loved one. I had to stop and pray to God what the lesson was for me out of this. While I understand, life isn’t about me, but all of us, I knew I was playing a part of the grand picture. I understood the feelings of losing a father. Watching them pass in front of you. Feeling lost. Feeling hopeless. Maybe I needed to be a support for my family more than I understood. So I asked God for the strength and guidance to do my part.
Funerals (and weddings) have a way of bringing family and loved ones together. I hate/love that. But, it’s how life kind of works out isn’t it? I LOVED being back with my family. MY FAMILY. These are the people I love so much. These are the people that raised me and shaped me into who I am. MY PEOPLE. MY TRIBE. My family is so fun. We could be away for months, even years, and we pick up the same. We always end up laughing and having fun when we all hang out. I love that!
(I learned my high tolerance of drinking came from my family. Asian Genes. Big Texas=Death. Never again to bottom shelf vodka)
No matter the shit we all went through, all the shit we put each other through, all the shit that we want to be angry for, at the end of it all…we still LOVE each other. Truly LOVE. I was reminded of this last weekend. The incredible strength and compassion that my family has for each other when things get real, made me who I am. I come from a family of badasses. I felt my part was to remind us of that. I got a lil hippy and went deep with family. I think we all needed that. To let our feelings out, to hear each other stories. To understand and appreciate each other more.
It’s unfortunate that this had to be reminded during a sad time. But I think the thing about these life events, is they are there to ground you. It’s a time of reflection and gratitude for your life and those in it. My Uncle’s passing allowed us to be together, bringing back the love we share. It allowed me to look at my family and really give them the gratitude they all deserve. The thing about us Asian’s, we don’t grow up talking about our feelings. We don’t believe in positive reinforcement. The OG’s (older generation) are fans of what I like to say, destructive criticism. You know, tell you about all the bad you do in your life, hoping you will somehow find the love in the message and do “better”.
The love is there, but it’s cleverly hidden behind all that shit talking. I kid, kind of,
The younger generation had to deal with this. We weren’t supposed to talk back and be emotional about anything. We had to respect our elders. Just be good. Go to school. Become a doctor, or something that made lots of money.
I did a lot of talking back. I kinda pushed myself out of my culture, cause I was getting damaged by the beliefs they held on to. I moved away and submersed myself into a completely different culture (Good Ol’ Utah County! I’ll go into this culture on another post). But when I found myself back into MY childhood culture, I was happy. I realized this is me. This will always be a part of me. THIS is what raised me. THEY are what made me who I am today. I am who I am BECAUSE of them.
Cause if you’re going to blame people for all the shit you better blame them for all the good too. If you’re going to give them credit for everything that’s fucked up then you have to give them credit for everything that’s great.
My eyes and my heart were open and I felt so much love for them. I was kind of annoying everyone with my hugs and kisses, which again, Asian people aren’t affectionate. My Grandma was super annoyed and disappointed in my lack of Lao language skills. But I loved it. If me being there and annoying them with hugs, kisses, and words of love in a time when the family needed it most,
I’m your asshole.
Isn’t it then when we need to show up the most? In our lowest of times? Show up and love them. We all have different ways of showing it, and I’m just really good at being annoyingly loving.
Life is too short and too precious not to show up and let people know you love them. I would rather have my memories with those I leave to be me annoying and always hugging them and getting people to laugh and feel closer to each other. Rather than to be of one who never let you know I loved you.
This is for my family:
I love you all. ALL of my family. So much. No matter where you live and if we don’t talk, you will always be close to my heart. I owe so much of who I am to you. Thank you. I am proud of myself, because of my family. Let us never let petty things distract us from what we know in our hearts truly matter. Let’s love each other always. Laugh always. Joke always. And be there always fore each other. Because, like Momma always said,
All you have is your family. So be kind to each other.
Our family will continue to grow and expand, and let’s show them the love we showed each other, so that our legacy of who we are as human beings will uplift all those around. I love you,