Family is not a significant thing

It is everything

After lunch, I was walking back to the office from the bank by myself, holding an umbrella in one hand and browsing on my phone with the other. Today was another typical morning at work. I was racing against time to get some financial analysis completed for my boss for a new project (in fact, I don’t even remember now). Rain kept on pouring all morning on the streets, dripping through crowded commercial buildings in the downtown area in Central. Life felt normal until I saw this message on my Wechat:

“Dear, I am afraid to tell you that your dad is in the hospital.”

I dropped my phone.

I stood on the sidewalk in disbelief. I started calling my dad while sending messages to my mom. It didn’t really register in my head what could be the reason that he was sent to the hospital. Not my dad!

In the next couple of hours I called, I called, and I called…but I did not hear anything from him. I was back at the office and went into a total panic. I began searching for flight tickets to go home, but my hands were non-stop trembling that I could barely select any of the travel date options. Then my mind shut down and my head went blank. I couldn’t process which date I needed to go and which flights to pick. I couldn’t remember what I was doing.

What immediately filled in my head afterwards were flashbacks from my childhood: sitting on my dad’s shoulders while he ran through a bee-buzzing botanical garden / my dad helping me blow out my candles on a feather-white vanilla birthday cake for my 3rd birthday / both of us watching the hospital clock tick for six hours while I was getting my penicillin IV injection. I was so young back then…I was his precious little girl to be protected always. Now my dad has become an aging, weakening man who no longer resembles that strong giant he used to be.

I just wanted to be there to hold his hands and offer words of comfort to him.

A few hours later, he finally picked up my call. “Hey Mao Mao, I am doing fine. They are doing checkups on me now — yes yes, I will quit smoking. I will change my bad habits and live healthier. Don’t worry…” I held my breathe and my tears while he was talking. No words can express the joy I felt at that moment.

Although writing with pain, I feel compelled to share my story.

In the very moment when I feel like I was losing my dad, I realized that I was losing everything. I assumed that I had no regrets in life, but I couldn’t be more wrong. All the million times I could have had better conversations with my parents and took longer vacations to go home, I regret them now. It pains me to think about them.

On the bright side, I know it is not too late for me.

I hope it isn’t too late for you!