For me, when I learned of someone that I know has passed away, I immediately reflect upon the shared experiences that I had with him, wanting to hold dear to those moments, and finding the sad realization that one always want to remember more than one can retrieve.
Today I learned that my brother-in-law’s father has passed away. My mind immediately recalls a gentle and wise man from a previous generation, who I had several opportunities to chat with in different occassions.
Our first meeting was at a brunch gathering during Dim Sum. This is the first time that we met my brother-in-law’s family, and they were kind enough to entertain us with a bit of our culinary culture. Since then we have had other BBQ’s and dinner gatherings when we gossip about current events, economics, politics, etc.
I would not say that I got to know him really well, but I would say that through these conversations, I learned that he was a kind and sensitive man. What impressed me the most is his way of calmly conveying his past experience and perspective by delivering carefully chosen statements in a calm and measured fashion, while retaining a dose of good humour. If I am in search of a teacher, he certainly possessed the sensei qualities that I wanted in a master of life.
My brother-in-law and I spend a lot of time together during the weekends, riding our bikes. We of course talk a lot, and on many occassions he has praised his dad. Judging from his values, I know that the man who raises such a son must have high values of his own.
I selfishly write this piece so as to help me to recall more of these memories, with the hope that they will be retained, and in doing so, help me rationalize the good bye that I must say to the elder that I respect.