Monthly Archives: May 2010

Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust

Today, I buried my father at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cypress. I don’t think I was as sad as I thought I would of been. Yesterday, during the wake, I saw his body for the final time. But it didn’t seem like my dad. My dad is a very warm, smiling, loving man. And all that I saw that was left was the the house that stored his spirit. I’m sure he’s watching over me. Yes, there were some moments of sadness, but I think, and I hope, that he is at peace, and is in a better place. We, the living must try to move on. I did manage to give my eulogy today without breaking down into a big mess. I think my dad would be proud of it.

Late into the night, I saw down where my dad used to sit in my house, overlooking the view of the city, and I while my memory is fresh, I tried to look through his eyes. See what he would of seen. I got a snack, and sat down on the chair, eating, reminiscing… Trying to remember his smell, his smile, his voice. Fathers, are the pillars of the family. They are the foundation that children build themselves around. A good friend once told me, “You can often measure a man by the qualities, and character of his children.”

So I will try to uphold my father’s legacy. To work hard, to be generous to others when they are in need, to help one another. And lastly, though I did not become a medical doctor myself like he was, to take the oath to ‘do no harm’.

Until we meet again.

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it is finished

Well, I just finished writing my note to my dad to give to him during the wake. I’m also putting in the box:

– A scarf, and knitted booties to keep warm (He always likes to stay toasty).
– The MP3 player I once gave him for his birthday.
– A few family photos,
– some tools, (He loves home depot and their tools)
– his favorite cookies, (those French butter ones, Banh Lu),
– some Li Si money,
– a horse pendant (for the year of the horse…that’s me).
– A little angel my friend Anne gave him.
– And Chrissie wrote him a note as well.

I also finished the Eulogy for my father in English, and I hope that I will have the strength to give it when the time comes.

No more Pain

I’m writing this so I can remember it. I started this journal almost 2 years ago when I discovered my dad had Cancer. As of 17:13, on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010. My daddy, lost his battle, and has passed away. I can only wish that he is at peace and is in no more pain. Everywhere I go, and everything that see reminds me of him. I guess that is a testament to how great of a father he is to me.

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Due to complications with an infection, combined with a weakened state from chemotherapy treatments, my father’s body was too weak to go into surgery. Dialysis would also be considered, but that would of been too much strain on his system as well, so the Dr.s suggest to the family to make him comfortable. I was with him for his last 48hrs, standing vigil, and cradling him throughout. I told him I love him very much, and kissed him profusely. Thanking him for being such a great dad, for working so hard. For doing everything so he could provide for me and our family. Driving me to school when it was an hour away. Teaching me how to drive, helping me with my homework. Soo many numerous things. My mom told me a story when I was born in Vietnam, since he was one of the chief medical staff in this hospital, he cordoned off a whole area in the medical ward for me. I was 3 months premature, and he stood vigil, and was there by my side, not letting anyone go near me to protect me from illness. I thought of that story, as I stood…sat…and laid there next to him. I was his ‘con kinh’ or translated. ‘favorite little son that he holds dear to his heart’.

I knew it was time, when his breathing rate slowed, and his pulse weakened. I just held on, cried, and told him I love him. The angels are here to take you dad. Don’t be afraid, I am here by your side always. I promised him I would hand him to the angels by myself and hold his hands when it is time for him to go. He was a fighter. When we disabled the medicine that was keeping his heart rate up, he went into a tachycardic state. 150, 200, 220 beats..sustained…for hours. We thought his heart wouldn’t be able to handle it that long, but he held on for I believe 6 hours in that state. My only regret.. is maybe..just maybe he would be able to handle that dialysis. I don’t know. But the infection in his stomach area was bad, so he would of been in a lot of pain. I think it was for the best. He is in a place with no more pain. No more suffering. No more sorrow. I only wish I can hear him say let me kiss you on the cheek. Then he would ask me to switch cheeks as he kissed me again because he says he doesn’t want me to be crooked. After wards, I kissed him, and gave him both of my cheeks.

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(they didn’t allow cameras but I snuck one in anyways. I think the staff there understood)

I also regret, and I think it was more for his sake than ours that he would be allowed to talk. He was intubated so he was unable to speak. When I held his hands he would squeeze, or move his feet, and when he tried to speak, the tube prevented it. Maybe he was telling us in his head and in his heart. I just wish he could be able to talk to us. I whispered to his ear a lot, but …yeah… It’s done now. It is a process that I knew I would have to face. I am very grateful that I got to spend an extra 2years with him. It came and went within a blink of an eye. I still hear voices, and ringing in my head from all the hospital equipment. I think the adrenaline has worn off, but I’m in a state of shock still. Driving is hard, going through my garage is hard. The constant reminders is difficult, but cathartic.

I’m now wearing his favorite beanie, and asked my mom for two of his favorite jackets. My kid will have a middle name of Binh. I promised my dad that in his last days. It seemed like the day before, 76hrs ago, I was explaining to him about the internet, and he was asking me questions about how it worked. Oh daddy. I love you.

Funeral arrangements were handled this morning.
I have a note, an mp3 player, and a few pictures I want to give to my dad.
I think I’ll also give him his scarf. As much as I would love to keep it. He always loved to be toasty.

I want to thank my friends and family for being very supportive. I want to thank the staff at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital. Especially ICU-18.
I want to thank all the Dr’s that took care of him. I want to thank my mom. And I want to thank my Dad again. For being the bestest Dad in the whole wide world!

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I hope you’re eating all the coconuts you want up in Heaven.

dad with a large coconut

I miss and love you very much.
Thank you for teaching me how to drive, and reading stories to me.
Thank you for working very hard so you could provide for you family.
Thank you for fixing things when they were broken.
Thank you for teaching me discipline. You are the smartest man that I know.
And I hope to make you proud of me.

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New addition to the family!

Like to welcome a smiling 1.2 kg baby boy! His name is ‘fuzz’. Weighs a ton, but is a full frame 1DsII. Some still regard this bad boy as the reigning flagship of pro-sumer full frame SLR’s. It’s successor, the the 1DsIII is still way over-priced in my opinion. It’s roughly $6.1k ( a 2k price drop since it’s release).

Thanks Tuan…you were sort of the catalyst that brought this about. For photo outings, I typically use a 5D and 1DIII combination. The 1DMKIII brings speed and crazy focusing capabilities to the table, while the slower 5D ads full frame capabilities and general badass image quality to the table. It’s a pretty good combo that I’ve been using awhile.

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The full set is at: greenbeanfx.com

The main problem with that however, is kids, and pets tend to do really random things, and to just snap away in series hoping to get the money shot, the slower 5D runs out of buffer space after 9 continuous clicks, you’ll have to wait until memory frees up. (In contrast, the 1DIII buffer goes on for a very very very (read VERY) long time). Why don’t I just use the 1dIII? The drawback is it’s a 1.3x crop camera, so in tight/indoor spaces, it may not be the focal length that I need. It’s a fantastic tool for outdoors and sports.

It happened to me more than a few times, during shoots. The one prior to this was another toddler, but I know I just missed cute moments because I was waiting for my buffer to clear up. Uggg, nothing more annoying than not being able to take a shot at a critical moment. So…I’m retiring my 5D, and saying hello to Fuzz! Though it doesn’t and can’t replace the 1DIII in terms of speed and ISO power, it does augment and enhance the my existing full frame lineup. I’m not the only one with this problem, some wedding photographers/professionals (before the 5DII) came out, used to just shoot with 2 duplicate 5D’s. When the buffer filled up, they would just switch to the second one while the first one cleared itself up.

But anyways, time to see what Fuzz can do! Basically I’ve always lusted after a 1Ds. Now I have an excuse to bite the proverbial bullet =)

One day at a time

So they found two more tumors in my dad’s brain. He went through two radiation treatments this past week. They are done for now, but I assure you, what the T.V. shows don’t show during scenes where they stick patients in those giant metal metal contraptions so that your head doesn’t move, is the fact that it is very very painful. They stick screws in your head and then clamp you down. It was very un-nerving. So far so good, he’s home now resting, but you can hear it in his voice, he’s pretty tired and weak.

In other random side news, I went through my stuff, trying to clean things out and ran across old high school photos. It’s was very nostalgic, as I was reminded of a more carefree time. When we were rebellious, took are parents for granted, and just drove around relishing the freedom and thinking we were untouchable. Ran across some photos of friends that I know are no longer with us, and just thinking how fragile and fleeting life can be. Carpe Diem right?