Father's Day

Father's Day
Picture of my dad.

Almost 18 years ago, when I was just 6 years old, my dad passed away. Since today is Father's Day I wanted to commemorate this day to him as that I don't do that enough. He passed when I was so young I don't have many fond memories, but I still cherish the time I did have with him and often recall those memories with my mom.

Some times I had teachers who would told the class to make a card or something for our dads for Father's Day before summer break. I always felt sad because I didn't have my dad anymore. Instead I would either address it to my mom or my grandpa who moved in with us after my dad passed.

One time while grabbing lunch in elementary school I was talking to the lunch lady about my dad and started crying. I walked out of the cafeteria crying my eyes out because I missed him.

Growing up I didn't have a dad to look up to; to ask for guidance. Everything just had to be self-taught. As the oldest child I was always told by my family members that I'm the man of the house and I'll have immense responsibilities growing up. I never liked that notion since I felt burden and got ridiculed when I didn't do something to their standards or expectations. I didn't have any breathing room as I had to manage the finances, everyday family planning, etc. I felt, and still do, that every single decision I made needed to have the interest of my family first. But I digress.

I remember growing up my dad loved quality family time. My favorite moments were when he would celebrate my birthdays and bought me things I wanted (yes, sounds selfish as hell but mind you I was essentially a toddler). Every birthday he had a birthday cake in the theme of the TV show I was interested at the time (I remember very well that one time my cake was Care Bears themed). Another random memory was when we went grocery shopping and I saw a red backpack that caught my eyes on the shelve and all I wanted to get it. He told me he didn't have enough money and would get it next time, and sure enough I got it. That became my favorite backpack and it traveled with me from Iowa to California. Sadly, it grew old shortly after moving to California and got thrown out.

We often had family outings and went to festivals, fishing, family parties, and whatnot. Usually those activities included the extended family from his side. My dad had a pretty extensive extended family compared to my mom's side due to step-siblings, so I have many aunts, uncles, and cousins. I haven't really kept in touch with them since he knew his time was coming and decided to move across the country from Iowa to California so that my mom, brother, and I could be closer to her side of the family.

I remember shortly after moving to California and settling into our new apartment my mom received that faithful call from my uncle that my dad passed away in his car after parking his car to nap after his dialysis session. My mom started sobbing, but I couldn't comprehend what was wrong. All I knew that my dad hadn't return. Earlier in the day before my dad left he asked my mom to make some artichoke water for when he returned home. We drank it instead while my mom was still crying.

One of his favorite hobby was painting and he was pretty good at it. I remember he liked to use nail polish in lieu of traditional paint. He liked to paint Buddhist symbolisms and did some work for local churches. I wished I had a collection of his work in order to honor his legacy and showcase his works. Recently, I wondered if any of his works still exists and if it does I think it would be amazing to showcase his work in some form because I think his style is relatively unique. A few years ago my grandma showed me a picture of one of his artwork on the walls of our old home before it was painted over by new owners.

Thank you dad for all the time I had with you. I know I don't appreciate you enough, but I wouldn't love anything else than you still being here with me watching my brother and I grow up! 😭

View Instagram Reel slideshow here.

Subscribe to Thanh's Diary

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson