Wednesday, July 11, 2018

saying goodbye

If you've been reading our blog, you know that my Dad passed away back in May.

I'm thankful that my brother was there with him when he passed and together with the care givers help, they all looked after him for the past 5 years.

We finally had a service over the weekend.

It was nice hearing all the different stories about parts of his life that I had not heard about before.

It was also nice to meet new people and reconnect with some, whose lives he touched.

Yesterday, we laid him to rest in the columbarium at Punchbowl (National Cemetery of the Pacific).

(I knew he was in the Army, and was a paratrooper, but didn't realize he had been in the Korean War!)

With one of his aloha shirts, I turned it into a furoshiki of sorts for his urn.

I don't know if this shirt was his favorite, but I noticed he was wearing it in a lot of pictures.

My Dad was a quiet man, never very chatty.

But, when he did say something, it usually made an impact and/or it made everyone laugh because you knew "he was really listening to our conversations"...

Two things that he said to me, still stick out in my mind...

"All the makeup in the world won't make you beautiful. You have to be beautiful inside."

"If your room is clean, happiness will come."

My father worked for the City's Parks & Recreation Department.

He refereed many basketball games and (I thought) his most busiest job was during the summers when he oversaw the Summer Fun Program.

The Summer Fun Program was a city-run free program (I think now there might be a small fee...does the program still exist?!) where elementary kids could go during the weekdays of summer vacation while their parents went to work (and hopefully keep them out of trouble), and where college students could practice their teaching skills in hopes of becoming teachers.

Another thing my father did was teach After School Classes (something to also keep elementary kids "busy" after school) during the school year...I learned many things from him through these classes like how to play the ukulele, archery, tumbling and embroidery to name a few.

He was active in sports...hand ball, racket ball, tennis, softball, golf (he had two hole in ones on the same hole on the same golf course but in different years!)...and he ran several marathons and many fun runs.

He loved puzzles and crafts.

He also loved music...studying shakuhachi, taisho koto, playing the piano, ukulele and guitar (I also learned the harmonica from him.).

Growing up, whenever he would go out, I would "wait up for him" to come home, of course, I'd usually end up falling asleep and he'd have to carry me to my room, but still...and when I started going out, he almost always waited up for me until I came home.

My first time trying coffee, he sweetened it up with lots of milk and sugar...

And to deter me from smoking, he let me take a puff of his cigar *cough*

One of the many things he taught me was how to smile...but, was super bad at teaching me how to drive (I can still hear him yelling, "brake brake!")...

And when he had depression, he confided in me and I'm glad he was able to get some help.

I'm not too sure when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, but watching him stop driving, golf, pretty much all the things that used to keep him busy/mobile was tough.

Where he was never verbally picky about things, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) seemed more pronounced, and verbalized.

And when they put in the G-tube (gastrostomy tube), I think it put a damper on his eating.

It is hard to believe he isn't physically here, but I know he is still around.

(especially with all the rainbows we saw over the weekend and also those huge moths that I believe means someone who has passed is visiting you.)

Thanks Dad for everything.

I know you told me once that you weren't good enough as a Dad and that you didn't do anything for us, at the time I told you that I thought you were a good Dad, doing your best for us, I still believe that.

Where ever you are, I hope you are eating whatever you want and running/walking around.

Love you.

Thank you to all of you who reached out to us, sending us good vibes, messages and just being there, we really appreciate your kindness.


jalna said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad, Kat. He looks like a such a kind and gentle soul. Love and blessings to you in this trying time.

Kalin's Mommy said...

Your dad was a busy man that touched many lives! Sending our love and prayers!

Yes, the Summer Fun Program still exists, Kalin was a part of that during his elementary years, can't beat the price $125 for six weeks during the summer vacation which kept him active. There are other private programs, but they were outrageous ($1000)!

Hope everything is going smoothly with the paperwork, my dad's one took a while, I still get junk mail for him and it's been 2 years. I did put their names on the to stop mailing, but some still slip through.

Love K & Mich

Anonymous said...

Beautiful tribute. My sincere condolences.

K and S said...

Thank you Jalna!

Thank you Mich & K! that is krazy about the private programs...

Thank you Anon.

Take care everyone!

alibaba37 said...

You've been in my thoughts a lot this past week. Your father does sound like a great Dad. Thank you for sharing all the wonderful things about him.

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful story. I hope your memories of your dad bring you comfort and lasting joy. My condolences to you and your family.

Alan said...

Kat: A very moving tribute to your Dad. Very nice. I know that he would have loved what you said about him. Hang in there. Things will get better and slowly the pain will pass and you will get on with your life, as I am sure he would want you to.

KirkK said...

Great memories and a wonderful tribute. Our deepest condolences.

Anonymous said...

Your tribute brought tears to my eyes. I'm super impressed that he could do so many things: a paratrooper!!! and even all those instruments he could play! Sounds like he was truly a great dad.

K and S said...

Aw thank you Alibaba37:)

Thank you De!

Thank you Alan:)

Thank you Kirk!

Thank you V!

Take care everyone!

Rowena said...

Wish I saw this as soon as you posted (IG makes me forget that we have blogs!).

Anonymous took the words out of my mouth. My dad is probably "chatty" compared to yours, but I know that growing up, he kept a lot of things to himself and only on very rare occasions did we actually have a conversation about real things. Even to this day I cannot get him to open up about anything that's bothering him.

I would have loved to be in a summer program where your Dad was in charge!

K and S said...

Rowena, I wasn't actually gonna update the blog until I left to go back to Japan, but BFF mentioned or actually said "eh, when you gonna update your blog?!"

Take care.