Two Simple Letters

Father’s Day this year has come and gone. Fortunately, the special connection between father and child lasts a bit longer. It grows and matures into eternity, like the rising of the sun every morning on the horizon. Even if we can’t see it on a foggy day, we know it’s there.

Two Simple Letters1A

My good friend Kate forwarded me a beautiful poem the other day. It was written by a Chinese father to his child when he found out he had terminal cancer.

It didn’t come with a title. So I gave it one of “我 從 不 曾 離 去”, I Never Left.


日落時,微風拂過樹梢, 在沙沙作響的枝葉聲中

My humble translation:

I Never Left
If you can’t see me anymore, my child, know that I am still around
In the morning, the sun shines through your door, your window
Don’t you feel the radiant warmth?
I am right here
At sunset, the gentle breeze touches the branches and caresses the leaves
Among the endeared rustling, can you hear my whispers?
I am right here
In the midst of the night, when the cool moon quietly slips into your room
That is me tiptoeing inside, watching in silence your beautiful face
My child, you may not see my physical presence
I am right here
Because I never left  

Two Simple Letters2The author’s name is 楊育正 Yang Yu Zheng. Yang was an oncologist and the superintendent of Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taiwan. I never had the fortune of meeting this tender father. Neither did I know if his poem was copyrighted. If it was, I hope he and his family would forgive me as my intention is to spread his spirit and love to other parents and children.

Last October, I had a sudden and almost fatal illness. I didn’t know it was coming and I didn’t know I was going to die. And I didn’t have Dr. Yang’s erudition and wisdom to write a touching poem. I didn’t leave my children a last letter.

But I do have two children who are much smarter than their dad. On Father’s Day, my son Brandon came to visit and took me out to lunch. He also gave me a card, in which he wrote:

Still can’t believe you’re alive
It brings a whole new perspective on life
I don’t know who to thank for keeping you around
So let’s enjoy the time we have together
Thanks for always being there for me

Yes, let’s, my children. I liked it so much I bought him coffee afterward.

The love between parents and children is an interesting thing. You can’t pinpoint it. You can’t clearly and precisely describe it. It comes in all languages, shapes and forms. But we know it is there, even when we are no longer here.

*** The End ***

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