What If?

Happy Chinese New Year to all who’s celebrating Chinese new year all over the world.

Friday evening I was awaken by my wife to learn that my father is in critical condition in the hospital. I took a chance of calling his private nurse to get his state but I couldn’t connect. Early Saturday morning, I learned that he had passed away.

My dad died from pneumonia and had lived 87 years old, a day before Chinese new year.

I was thankful to God for being able to see him last year while vacationing with my family in the Philippines and I will treasure those moments till the day I die. He was weakened by joint pains and was aided by a walker as he could hardly walk. But he still has a clear sense of everything.

Migrating from China before the second world war, he would tell me stories how he lived a very hard life in his adolescent years. He would hold up his tears as he recount how he was treated when he would take more portions for his meal. That incident have carved out a niche in his self esteem. He recounts memories of the spoils of war during the Japanese invasion in the Philippines and how scared everyone was.

He eventually was able to start a small hardware store partnering with a couple of his friends. I started helping in the stores at an early age of 10. I would bring him snacks my mom prepared for him and will stay there. I would stay the whole Saturday. As a kid, I don’t have any kids to play with in my neighborhood, and the store had provided a way for me to be around people.

I eventually honed my technical skills and learned much about construction. Some folks say I should have studied as a civil engineer instead of a chemical engineer as I know a lot about construction.

After 33 years, my dad and his partners have parted ways amid some nasty accusations and other things. We eventually build up a new store close to the old one. Until I left for the Middle East and eventually the States, my sister and I poured out all sweat to build it up.

My dad knew my skills and he let me pursued whatever it is that I have in my heart. He does not approve of me working for other people as he wants me to be in business but his hands are tied. He had to let me grow as a man and explore.

As most pre-baby boomers, most people during that time had very little education. However, he managed to learn and read little English enough to get him to sell merchandises to customers.

If there is any calm demeanor that I may posses, I would credit that to my father. If there is a legacy that I have received from my father, it was how he taught me how to use the proper words to express one’s mind and feelings without necessarily offending anyone as a result. He was always diplomatic.

I have a family of my own now, and sometimes I think if migrating to the States was a wise decision on my part. I could not help but think how it would have turned out if I had just stayed in the Philippines.

For some distinct moments, I questioned myself. Would it made a difference for my own family? I could have probably stayed and spent time with him more. Maybe my wife would not be away from her family as well. I have probably carved out an emptiness in her heart more so to her family. May be I was selfish?

I believe I have made some significant strides in my life in the States. God had taken me to a deeper relationship with Him along the way and had allowed me to be of service to people I meet in business and in life. God is taking me on another phase of life right now in rebuilding myself. I may not even carry his name with me, but God have given me a gift from him, my father’s blood.

I could not resist questioning myself on my actions.

What if?