Category Archives: Family

Around a walk

Two big games today

#5 Michigan 32, Appalachian State 34
#20 Nebraska 52, Nevada 10

My dad always routed for the underdog (except when it was a good whupping), and had never voiced support for the trolls (those who live under the bridge in the lower pennensula of Michigan), so he would be pleased by the Wolverines losing in the greatest upset in college football history: the first time ever an 1-AA team defeated a ranked 1-A team.

However, dad also thought that Nebraska got by with a perennially weak schedule, so inspite of the good start of the season he would have mentioned that if things don’t click for Coach Callahan, this could be his last season.

After a delicious dinner meal in post-game celebration, I went for a walk.

I took my camera because the evening was beautiful. However, it wasn’t fully charged, so I didn’t even get to the stadium by the time the battery gave out.

I was ok until I got to the computer science building, which my father and I visited during our first trip to Lincoln. Here the sidewalk forked, and I could walk back to the union or go out of my way to the hotel we used to stay at. I decided to walk back to the union. My legs carried me to the hotel.

I walked inside for the first time since he last stayed there. I walked outside our old room. Around the lobby TV’s were turned to a football game and cheers would go up at appropriate moments. I went over the skywalk to the parking garage.

I walked back home. I thought of how I had promised to get a copy of the Boise State/Oklahoma game to my dad during his deep sleep at the hospital. (Immediately after the game, which he had missed, he looked up buying a DVD on his iMac. But the “commemorative DVD” was quite pricey, so he decided to wait until the charge came down.)

I had a waking dream that I was back in the hospital on the day my dad had surgery to have a ventilator. I walked on the paths of Lincoln but I could have navigated the hospital too.

Then I walked home.

Up and down

Within the past year, the best thing ever to happen to be happened to me. So did the worst thing.

So it’s no surprise that my mood varies from pretty high to pretty low. From day to day, and even moment to moment.

There is all the normal stress and anxiety of the school year, but also real honest happiness and real honest sadness. There are so many times I keep thinking of my dad’s letters or are phone calls. There are so many times I am so happy to be with my wife.

Sometimes I have this driving energy to get things done (I woke up at 4:30 and started working this morning, before going back to sleep) and other times I find it hard to click continue on a web form.

I am introspective enough to recognize how time changes things. The only reason I finished the spring semester at all was that I had gotten nearly all work done before my dad’s heart attack. This summer I accomplished a lot, including work ahead in class, deforestation, a visit to China, and, of course getting married.

Take that trees!

So I’m feeling more down that I was, at any given time, a year ago. But I’m also feeling more up.

If living means feeling emotions, then boy, am I living now!

May the joy always increase, the sadness become less intense, and US CIS stop losing our paperwork!


Six months and one day ago, I talked with my dad on the phone about where we would go on spring break. I was planning on taking Fei out west that weekend, so I wanted to make sure that our spring break destination was Chicago. (This way we wouldn’t re-drive much of I-80.) Chicago it tentatively was.

Six months ago, almost to the minute I am writing this, I called home while driving to pick up soup and bread for Fei and myself. Dad seemed tired, and put mom on the phone. We talked a bit.

Six months ago and a little later, Fei and I ate our soup (she loved it, I thought it was mediocre). We watched some tv, and ate some of the birthday cake she made for me.

Six months and a little later I got a phonecall. It was my mom. Dad had a heart-attack. Fei and I threw things in the car, we called my brother, and drove north.

It was dark by the time I got to Sioux Falls. I remember images from that drive, but of everything it is the part I recall least.

I remember the next few days. Because I I had taken a class that dealt with neuroscience the previous semester I was able to understand some of what the doctor’s told us. I learned about coma scales and degrees of unresponsiveness.

I learned that dad’s odds were reduced by one treatment he did have and one he did not. The treatment he did, Avandia, is known to increase the risk of massive heart attacks. The one he did not, induced hypothermia, appears to help recovery because the damage of cardiac-induced comas come after physical revival. But that’s new, and experimental, and the hospital just did not have it.

I remember crying in the waiting room (actually a family conference room which
our family occupied), at my dad’s bedside, and just whenever.

I remember listening to Sigur Ros in the dark.

There were two good signs, two good responses, that had made us hopeful. Shortly after the coma began, my dad responded to certain jokes told by my mother. He would smile and lift his head up. Later, after that had stopped, he would arm wrassle me.

The response to the jokes may have been him fading away. The arm wrassling was dad “waking up” to a persistent vegetative state.

Ten days after my dad’s heart attack, he went into PVS without having woken up. The same day he died of an infection.

Yesterday my mom mistakenly referred to February 10th as the day that dad died, but that’s what it feels like.

Today, one year ago, my grandpa was dying. Today, six months ago, my dad was about to.

Since February 10 I have split my time between Nebraska and South Dakota. At first my dad needed me. Now my mom and sister do.

I miss my friends. I have not been able to give them the time they deserve. I have not been able to present them with the kind of happiness they should have.

I miss my dad most of all.

Since my dad’s heart attack both Fei and myself have missed dying by inches. Her car was sucked under an 18 wheeler. I was nearly hit by a bus.

I dreamed of going to Chicago without him.

I love you dad.

Wedding + 2

Sean was kind enough to give us congratulations from his blog. Thanks!

Today got off to a bang. Last night we devised a list of questions to ask our lawyer first thing in the morning… and this morning we got the answers

Q. Do we have to fill out the G-325A Biographical information, or do they?
A: The law office will, and they sent out draft forms yesterday .
Result: Updated drafts will be hand delivered backto the lawyer tomorrow.

Q. Where to get I-693.
A. Instructions were provided.
Result: Appointment set up for July 5.

Q. What is “Police Clearance? (If applicable)” requirement about?
A: It’s not applicable.
Result: The issue’s mute!

Then went to Walgreens to print up pictures of us for the “bona fide” relationship requirement. Got them back this afternoon, wrote a summary and date on the back of each, and now their in the envelope with the updated drafts. Forms and paperwork took long enough, but eventually that we set out for today was finished.

Let’s spend our lives together

I write many things, but I do not know how to write it.

I don’t know how to say it.

And you know my voice — you would not want me to try to sing it!

Unlike you I am not an artist. I cannot draw it or paint it.

More than I can write, say, sing, draw, or paint,

I love you.


Will you marry me?

The End

I was the first one at my father’s burial.

I drove around the small town some. I stopped for gas, drove past the city hall where my grandfather once teased an imprisoned clown, past “Presbyterian Hill” where one of the first academy’s in the state was founded, and went back to the cemetery. I saw the funeral home’s tent and, next to my father’s grave, my grandfather’s temporary marker (misspelled) and my brother’s tombstone.

Eventually the rest of the family arrived. We waited until about the appropriate time and stepped outside.

We mingled some, and then the priest arrived (a fine Asian-Indian Father who, unlike his native born coreligionist at the funeral, kept to the liturgy). I was supposed to be a pallbearer (as at the funeral), but my uncles and a cousin relieved me of that duty.

Instead, I held my mom.

After, we gathered at my grandfather’s old house. My cousin has kept it up well — perfected it, really — and we told stories. Then, as conversations among family tend to do so, we turned to happier subjects. Lunch was tasty, and it was good to eat with so many loved ones.

I will continue to write of this as appropriate, but today is a real end. I went from worried concern, to hope, to despair, to my father’s death, to his funeral, and now his burial. I don’t know what else to say here. I suspect there is not much more. How many times can you say, “I love you, dad”?

So I expect tomorrow will see a resumption of normal blogging. A world has ended, but I am still here. So is my girlfriend, who my dad loved, in spite of being sucked under a semi. This life goes on.

A Weird Limbo

The funeral was Friday, but burial is tomorrow. This time feels weird. Sometimes I feel “normal,” sometimes I feel terrible. For the first times I am feeling guilty for not feeling sad (up until now the true feeling was pretty much continuous). It certainly don’t feel good.