Recently, the father of a sister from Athena Sisterhood had passed away. I could feel the deep love she had for her father and what an extraordinary man he was. They called him the rock of the family.
I would not describe my dad the same way. When I was growing up, I looked down on Dad. Memories surrounding him carried deep pain and trauma.
Nine years ago, I had embarked on my own healing journey about practicing forgiveness and true acceptance. Now, I can see my father through a different set of eyes. I have compassion for all the pain he went through.
Dad was born in 1942, in the midst of an eight-year war between China and Japan. When he turned 18, China’s Great Famine started, killing an estimated 40 million people.
He joined the Army as a young cipher officer and requested permission to marry his true love.
Denied. The communist party stamped on his application after undergoing a month-long investigation.
Being rich was evil during China’s Cultural Revolution and since she was born in a rich family, the young lovers never had a chance.
They had been neighbors growing up and attended the same high school. Now, even with high school reunions once a month, no one has heard from her. At the age of 80, Dad seemed to grieve as my daughter interviewed him about his love story. He calls himself Dao Lao Cu, a simple man without sensitive feelings. But he still never told us her name.
Mom had been introduced to Dad by her superior in the Army. She was born into a poor family and being poor meant being glorious. In no time, they were married.
Spending my first month’s salary in New York, I bought Mom a gold necklace and sent it back to China. In her return letter, mom wrote, “Your dad never bought me anything after we were married. Now my daughter has. This makes me happy.” Yet, this made me wonder if my dad has ever gotten over his true love.
What is something that always reminds me of my father?
How blessed that I am to live in a free country with my true love.