Hey Babe -
I’m in the OC for Chinese New Year - you were supposed to fly in today at 11:30am. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to Chinese New Year this year-- wasn’t sure if I was ready, but grandpa was in the hospital and I wanted to come see how he was doing. Ever since you came out of the “closet,” I don’t think there’s been a Chinese New Year where we weren’t together with my family. Come to think about it, the first time you “officially” met the entire family was at Chinese New Year. They gave you red envelopes filled with money, and you turned to me and said, “Why haven’t you brought me to Chinese New Year earlier?” But when you found out that after we got married, we stopped receiving red envelopes and instead have to pass them out, you jokingly said to my mom, “We’re going on vacation for Chinese New Year now.” And she promptly responded with, “It doesn’t matter if you are here or not, you still have to pass out the red envelopes. So, don't forget to mail them before you go on vacation.”
Yesterday, when I was at my parents’ house, grandma asked where you were (she doesn’t know you passed - the family didn’t want to upset her with such devastating and upsetting news when she is so ill). I responded with, “He has to work,” as I start to cry and break down. She seemed disappointed that she doesn’t get to see her “favorite grandson-in-law” as you like to call yourself. I can hear you saying with that jovial voice of yours, “A’ma, do you miss me?” as you walk up to give her a kiss on the cheek. And she would normally just give you that grunt acknowledgement each time you asked. But last November, when you asked if she misses you, she actually responded with a smile and said, “Yes.” We both looked at each other in shock and awe especially since she has never ever told me she misses me whenever I ask her. Her only response to me whenever I ask if she misses me is, “Why would I miss you?”
That November was the last time my family would ever see you again. Looking back, one of the main reasons we made that trip in November was because my grandfather told me to tell you, “Tell S that I miss him and to come visit me.” He said that to me as I was getting ready to leave for the airport to head back when I was visiting my grandma in October. I was a little shocked when he said it to me, and I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, did grandpa really just say he misses S and wants him to visit?” I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I ever remember my own grandfather saying anything like that to me, “I miss you - come visit me!” When you picked me up from the airport and I told you what grandpa had said, you had this look of gloat and self-satisfaction. I remember turning to you in the car and saying, “Dang babe, you really won over my hard-core traditional Asian family. Everybody loves and adores you. I don’t know how you did it - but you did.” You just smiled and I could tell you were patting yourself on the back.
My entire family including all the aunties and cousins came up to suppourt and comfort me when you passed. They also came up multiple times to not only support and comfort me, but also to attend your memorial service. It was amazing to see my family who rarely leaves their comfort zone to come and pay their last respect to you. It’s a testament of how much they love and respected you. I know it had more to do with loving and respecting you than me since I firmly believe that my status with the family has increased since they met you. You helped elevate my status with the family with your charm and personality. You helped me to see my family through a different lens; one where they were not always set in their ways and that culture and tradition drives a lot of their actions, but underneath it all, they are human; open to change and love if given the chance. Honestly, I always thought I would be disowned for loving and wanting to marry you. I would never ever believe in a million years that they could be open and accepting of a black son-in-law, grandson-in-law, nephew-in-law ...if I didn’t witness it myself, I would never ever believe it could happen. You have taught me the most important thing in life-- that even my traditional, old-skool asian family has the capacity to be open and accepting, even when it’s outside of their comfort zone. Knowing this has made me love them and you more in the process, and in turn, it has made me a better person with my family. I only hoped that I also returned the same favor with your family (this I will never know but only hope).
P.S. My sister just handed me the silver coin she traditionally hands out for your collection.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.