It’s been just over two months now since dad passed away. For the most part, life seems as though it’s back to normal…almost. As the eldest son in the family, there has been an underlying current which has distinctly changed my personality. Mostly obvious to me, I’ve been more stressed, more angry, less patient… there’s probably other issues which I don’t even notice. It’s somewhat frustrating, that’s not the person I want to be, period.
In some ways, I think, I haven’t given myself the space to grieve. As the eldest son in a Chinese family, I’m not meant to “grieve”. I’m, now, the ‘man of the house’ and I’m meant to be responsible and take care of my family. Indeed, I do want to care for my family, but we, Asians, have often failed at looking after our own. There’s a silent expectation that you are seemingly capable to take up roles without having been taught how to fulfil your role. Your lessons are taken from observation from those who went before you…the good old days.
However, let me draw from my own life, the experience of these changing times. Honestly, I probably only saw my dad 2-3 days a week. He was working just as much as I was studying and ministering. Our paths rarely crossed. The days when you would work with your parents on the fields and learn life together are long gone. Now, it was not unusual to have certain days where I would not have the opportunity to share a word with my dad.
I miss him. I miss having the fountain of wisdom and experience that he was to me. Yet, at this point in my life, I’m in no position to take up his mantle. At my age, he had experienced war and separation from his family. Who am I to take upon myself his mantle? Though, in truth, that is not the mantle that I, or any other in such situation, am to take up. In this generation, that mantle cannot be so easily defined. And day to day, I struggle to understand what my role is to be.
I am not completely at a loss. The support I have around me is unwavering, most of all, my family. In due time, I’ll understand my place, but until then, like any journey, I’ll take one step at a time, until I reach my destination.