Last Time in Bangkok

After my brother and I graduated from high school in Hong Kong, my family dispersed to three countries. He went to California for college, then returned to Asia and settled down in Thailand. I arrived in California after my brother left, and ended up staying. My parents moved back to Taiwan after martial law was lifted, and spent the rest of their lives there.

In 2010, my dad and I made an emergency trip to Bangkok to visit Ted, who was hospitalized with a terminal illness. We both knew this might be our last chance to see him.

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“I went into the bedroom and saw my usually stoic dad sitting on the edge of the bed, head bent over, eyes closed. I don’t remember ever seeing him cry, not even at his own mother’s funeral. I ran my hand over his back and gave him a hug, not knowing what to say. I’m sure his grief was compounded by the fact that my mom—his wife—was not there to support him. My mom was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and remained at home with caregivers around the clock. He could not even share with her his deep sorrow over the death of their son; she would neither comprehend nor remember. He would have to mourn for two.”