Tuesday, May 29, 2007

email from my Dad

I was cleaning out my inbox earlier this morning and came across the last email my dad ever sent to me. It's dated the day after his last birthday. He actually spent his B-day and the rest of that week getting carted to and from MD Anderson. For all sorts of reasons reading the words caused me to cry in earnest. I keep telling people in finally getting around to mourning now that the bulk of the paper work is done.

It makes me so sad to detect the optimism in that message. That "next Wednesday" was when they told him there was no hope and to nix any further lab tests towards anything curative (although they did draw lots more blood for research purposes).

Subject: thank you
From: "Michael Chang"
Date: Fri, February 16, 2007 6:29 pm

Cindy and Johnny,
Thank you very much for the birthday gifts and cards.

Cindy, I just received the CD about an hour ago. I have listened the first CD you recorded for me. They are very peaceful and beautiful music. I like it very much. It makes you feel good listening to it. I have not listened to the second CD yet.

Thank you for the birthday card. Johnny, you have a very powerful signature, the kind of signature of a chief executive officer of a big corporation. Many people say you can tell a man’s character by looking at his signature.

I went to M D Anderson today for the pre-process for biopsy, which is scheduled on next Wednesday.


My own birthday is coming up so getting this message was interesting timing. I'm turning 30 on July 6th and trying to figure out when to have a party. Now, party planning is excruciatingly difficult for me. I still haven't outgrown the whole "what if no one comes?!" paranoia that I've had since I was kid. You can imagine having a birthday so close to July 4th is an issue. I've never had my locker decorated or a cool cake at school. In fact my birthday were usually celebrated in Band or Marching Camp where I'd get a lackluster off-tune version of "Happy Birthday" bleated out from tired horn players and hoarse sounding classmates. Water would be the best gift in the world as we all slogged back into the musty band hall carrying in with us all the sweat and remnants of Houston humidity.

I think I was 20 when my mom loudly told me not to eat the gardenia because they're poisonous in front of 15 or so college buddies who were incredibly amused that I'd still need that kind of reminder.

13 was when one of my friend told my mom to leave the room because us girls were talking secrets. I was about ready to kill her. No one messes with my mom.

22 was when I met my husband. I was in Ithaca and damnit, I was throwing my own party. I barely knew everyone on my research team and yet, some of the gifts I received that year were probably the most "right on" for me.

6 was when I got my piano.

19 was when my mom called me to tell me my dad was cheating on her.

27 was celebrated in our new home. I never imagined T and I would ever be a home owner at that age. This was when I made Bobby puke with my signature white Russian. Twas fun.

23 was yet again amongst math nerds. That was while I was in grad school. I had a "semi-pretentious" wine and cheese party. I think I ended up spending over $400 in alcohol and we all drank that stuff up like there was no tomorrow (see, grad students tend to be depressed). I think I was eating cheese and fruit for the next couple of weeks.

I can tell you I look a heck of a lot better now than I did in my early 20's and in my teens. I have a thicker skin. I put up with a lot less shit. Still, it is kinda weird...seems like my 20's went by a lot faster than my teens did. Some who is 22 seems like mere baby to me. I just feel it in my bones, I'm gonna be flaunting my 30's as much as possible. :)

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Blogger dasMobius said...

Hey I remember that! (Actually the 23 and 27 only.) I'm still sorry for being more or less anti-social on birthday 23. I think I was better behaved by 27, not perfect, but nothing to be ashamed about either.

I hope that you enjoy your 30th birthday. I may or may not be able to catch it - I will be in the area around that time. My brother is getting married sometime around July 6. I don't rememeber the exact date.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007  
Blogger cchang said...

That would be really cool if you could catch my 30th. I forget, did you already have yours. I can't remember if we're the same year or if you're a year older than me.
I think I may end up celebration on June 30th since it's my 30th birthday. :) But, hopefully you'll be in town.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007  
Blogger Sammi said...

Dude, if Shawn makes it in for your birthday, we should get a pic of all three of us, like, in the same place, for the Stash! ^_^

Like I was sayin' earlier though, I already blocked both saturdays just in case, so whichever you go with Richard and I will be there. Woo!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007  
Blogger cchang said...

Hey, I didn't even think of that! Great idea... Shawn, make sure you come down before the 30th then (the most likely date. Ya know, 30 on the 30th)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007  
Blogger heavy metal mom said...

Neat post. I can understand how the grief comes
in waves and is triggered by little things. It happens to me all the time about my friend - which I am not comparing to the death of a parent. I cannot fathom your pain on this.

I am sad that I missed more than one of those b-day parties in the 5 or so years I've known you!!

When did CAS start? Love you lots!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007  
Blogger Mentok said...

I lost my dad about 2 years ago and I hear what you're saying about "getting around to mourning". Too true.

Your reflections on birthdays was a really good read. The random order made it so much more engaging than a linear one.

I enjoy party planning and the ones I throw are well attended, but the paranoia never goes away. For two hours before any party, my wife (patient but bemused) has to try to talk me down out of a total "No one's coming!" freak out.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007  
Blogger cchang said...

Glad the B-day run down was amusing for ya. Indeed, my hubby has had to dutifully do the "don't worry they're coming" thing with me as well. Thanks for sharing that with me. it makes me feel a tad bit better knowing I'm not the only one.

Monica, I'm so happy you can make it this year. You think we can talk Blake into helping T grill stuff?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007  

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