每逢家节念思亲

A simple verse depicting the longing for our loved ones during every festive season.

Understanding is always different from feeling. I have never truly feel the meaning of this verse until my dad passed away a few years back.

It is a phrase that haunted me year after year on all the lunar festive seasons. And the feeling is always most acutely felt on every Lunar New Year. The feeling always seem to creep up on me unaware. In the midst of joviality and laughters among relatives. In the usual frenzy of new year wishes to elders. During reunion dinner. Spring-cleaning. In the middle of a joyous black jack game.  I am always caught off-guard by how intense the pain is and how much I miss him.

The pain griped me with an intensity that choked my breath.

I think of how happy you will be to join us in our games of black jack. I think of how glad you will be to see all your siblings getting along cordially, unlike the past, where festive seasons are always characterised with a quarrel brewing on the horizon. I think of how comforted you will be to see all the elderly uncles in good health and how happy you will be to hold your newborn grandniece and nephew in your arms.

And I take a deep breath, blink back my string of tears, take more deep breaths, smile and plunge back into the joviality around me.

No matter how I thought I have come to terms with your death. Or how I am done with griefing. The pain always resurface in unexpected moments. No matter how many years have passed, this gripping pain will always be a part of me. With the pain comes memory, heart wenching memories that intensified how much I miss you. With memory also comes strength. I remember your love and your every effort for our family. Your sacrifices. I remember your concerns and worries at your deathbed. I remember my promise to you to take good care of myself and live well.

And yes, Pa. We lead a reasonably happy life now. We will take good care of each other. And, we will both live happily. Our memories of you will give us strength.

每逢家节念思亲

I miss you, Pa. Very very much.

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