I've always been a daddy's girl. Dad was very strict with me. Even when I was dating my then boyfriend now husband at the age of 17, there was no such thing as coming home after 6 pm and dating on Saturdays was just a mere 3-4 hours affair. I only managed to experience the then famous Fire discotheque ONCE after much begging but on the condition that I had to be home by midnight! Which is just about when everybody else was going to start partying!
Of course, I disliked being controlled like that but now that I am a parent with a daughter, I absolutely understand why he did what he did - to protect and uphold my dignity. My husband now appreciates my father's strict upbringing especially since having a daughter ourselves.
My dad was also a much loved and dedicated teacher. At the wake 2 weeks ago, some of his ex-students came to visit. They were telling my aunt about how he never gave up on them and re-directed their paths. I remember some of them. They were trouble makers at school and were notoriously known as "Far East Kids". I would tag along with dad and mom on weekends to Far East Plaza just so that he could suss them out. This went on for many weekends. It eventually paid off because I heard they are now very successful people with families of their own. They are grateful to dad.
Dad was a foodie too! My mom cooks awesome Peranakan food and he loved to have friends and relatives over for makan sessions - if not, he will personally deliver them! Even if mom didn't cook, he would take us out for lunches or dinners, so long as we are together and having a good time, costs never mattered. That's my dad.
Many will also remember Dad for his humor - mostly the corny ones. :) He would joke with anybody that he crosses path with - waitresses, doctors, cleaners... you name it! We loved to be around him for that too.
After saying so much, I must say it had been a difficult and emotional few weeks as my family and I watched dad deteriorate each day. I hated to think that he would be gone from us that soon. But I've no regrets having spent the last days as much as I could with him. Though I wished I could have done more, I believe that the simple hand holding and just being there was sufficient for him.
So folks, treasure your parents when they are still on earth. There are many ways to show that you care and tell them you love them. Take them out for coffee if lunches or dinner don't do for you. These little thoughts will be appreciated. For when they are gone, they can never be replaced and no amount of filial piety you want to show after that will make any difference.