After a fifteen month-long battle with pancreatic cancer, my father recently passed away. I wrote my Dad a letter regarding love that I read aloud at his funeral service, and I'd like to share it with all of my readers...
I remember a day years ago when I was growing up and you and I had gotten into an argument. I don't remember how the argument had started or even what we had argued about, but I do remember that in a fit of anger, I had asked you why you weren't loving like other dads. I told you that I resented the fact that I got more lectures than hugs and kisses from you and that you never called me "honey" or "sweetheart" or "princess" and that because of that, I did not feel loved. I also remember that you were very hurt and angered by what I had said. Though it's more than 20 years after the fact, I still want to apologize for ever saying that. I'm sorry Dad--I was young and naive, and most of all, I was wrong.
For over the years, I learned through you that I didn't need to be called "honey" or "sweetheart" or "princess" because those are merely words! I know that you were never the touchy-feely, huggy-kissy type; in fact, more often than not, you had quite a serious demeanor and fiery spirit. But through your efforts to teach your children what's right--hence, the lectures--and through the constant selfless sacrifices you made for your family, you showed me what the true definition of love really is. You taught me that it's not what you say, but instead what you do for your loved ones that counts. You were the ultimate embodiment of the phrase "actions speak louder than words" and for that, Dad, you are the most loving man I have ever known.
Dad, one of your greatest passions was food, and it was often through food that you showed your love. You always planned ahead to make sure you fed me my favorite dishes when I came home to visit. I could have just bought myself a little something for lunch at the office cafeteria on days where I went straight to work from flying back from home, but you always made a special stop in Oakland Chinatown on the way to the airport to buy me a bahn mi sandwich just so I could have something better to eat. And because I'm your daughter, you always kept a watchful eye over all of my boyfriends, but despite the suspect comments, you showed your acceptance in your own way. Never did you say to me "I like him--he's a nice guy"; instead, you'd ask, "What does he like to eat?" or "Does he eat this?" and then cook accordingly.
So that I would have a taste of home away from home, you always packed more of my favorite home-cooked foods into to-go containers to take back with me to LA. Sometimes you even drove the food down to LA yourself, spending a few quality hours with your daughter and then turning around to deliver food to [my brother] in Davis on the same day! I know, there were times when we were a little less appreciative--when we'd trade our home-cooked Chinese food for pizza or when we would joke with our cousins about tossing those to-go boxes out the car window on the way back to school. But we always knew that no other dad would have done such an act of love for his children, and we savored everything you cooked for us.
I will miss you Dad; I will miss your cooking and most of all, I will miss your love. But I am comforted by the fact that you are in a better place and that we will see each other again. Until then, I know that because you've affected so many people so much with your love, there will be enough love to last for generations to come.
I love you Dad.
It's not like I've been around much recently anyways, but I just wanted to officially say that I'll be taking a little bit of time off from food blogging to catch up on some personal things. Don't you worry, though...I promise that I will be back in full force with a husband, a clear mind, and a full stomach. Look for new posts in the fall, maybe earlier if I find the time.
And please, if you haven't already read the post I wrote back in November when I had taken time off to be with my Dad, I urge you to do so. It means alot to me, and I hope it will mean alot to you as well.
I wish all of you and your loved ones the very best.