Letter to My Father

I felt compelled to write this to you because Asian families don’t talk about emotions. It’s a foreign concept in our culture but I could not go another year without expressing what I have felt all my life.

Where most of my friends get impatient and annoyed when their parents keep asking them the same questions over and over again, I love that you love me enough to do that. Because I’m no longer the little girl who lived in the pink room in the home you built and because you can’t just walk upstairs to talk to me every night like you used to- I understand that all you can do for your grown up daughter is ask questions from afar.

I understand that your questions are out of concern about how my life is going, out of the hope that my journey will be as pain-free as possible.

I have watched you all my life, the way you sacrificed not seeing the rest of the family for months at a time for years so you could build a successful company that would provide the best life for my siblings and me. I watched you work at the dining table late at night- your tired shoulders slumped as I fell asleep on the sofa waiting for you to tuck me in. I watched you walk away from the front door of our little apartment after seeing you for only 2 weeks; I watched your figure become just a dot in the distance as I cried with a pain that no child should ever know.

When I ten, I watched you grow your business as I tagged along on your meetings with powerful world leaders. I thought how wonderful it must be to be a businessman- you get to have fun meetings at fancy hotels drinking coffee all afternoon and eating yummy cakes. Of course I didn’t understand how hard you worked the rest of the day at the office and continued at home and how you had earned your CEO title. Yet somehow, in all the hours you spent building this company, you were always there when I needed you.

You never once made me feel that I was bothering you, that I was a burden, that anything or anyone was ever more important to you than me. You saved my life when I tumbled down the ravine on our hike. You patched my bloody knees when I fell. You tutored me in long division when I was going to skip a grade. You talked to me about your day like I was an intelligent adult. You listened to me about my silly friends at school and what went on in my childhood days. You made me laugh. You spent time with me each night during my early teenage years, making sure I was coping and growing properly. You saved me again when I wanted to kill myself. You delivered me to college like the proud, excited and worried father that you were.

In my early 20s you heard my voice wavering on the phone from half an earth away, sensing that I was in danger. You worried, you loved, you advised, you provided. You were my father, my best friend, my financial advisor, my conscience, my savior.

And now, after all my years of hard work, sacrifices and suffering, I am finally on the cusp of achieving so many of my greatest dreams. And now, I need you to know that this is all for you. Every breath I take, I remember you. Every exhausted limb that I force to carry on working is inspired by you. Every failure I get up from is because you gave me strength and resilience. Every dream I dare to dream is because you taught me to never settle for less than my best life. Every success is because of you, for you.

This is my life…and I dedicate it to you, the best father I could ever have asked for.