January 5, 2013
It was the bitter cold winter in the damp Chinatown sidewalks of New York City, where the local carts' delicacy of intestines and pork blood consumed my every tastebuds' envy, a scene of me and my best friend that have replayed today more so than any other. My darling, Ong Ngoai, passed away early this morning. Although he woke me up to say goodbye, it wasn't until a moment later that I heard the troubling undertones of my father calling out to me, it was urgent and yet a calmness came over me. As I reflect, with the tears that I hold back, I know now that it was my grandfather's loving hand that grasped my shoulders to ease the heartache, if only enough to get me through the day.
As I pulled my mother closer, my father stood firmly as our anchor, we greeted him softly and with all of our love and a promise to never to say goodbye. Never to the hand that walked me to my first day in pre-school, never to the man that took me for treats along the way home from somewhere - if anywhere, never to the man that taught me how to wrench and create, never to the man that gave his life completely to his family, never to the man that was my best friend, my mentor, my living journal, and my one and only, Ong Ngoai.
In this life, there are people that we meet and then there are people that we remember. Although my grandfather is the noblest and the most humble of any man I have ever known, he would never take offense to be just another person to whom you would meet along a busy street, but if you have ever met him then I am sure he is someone you will never forget. Perhaps it haven't sunk in, perhaps it is still all too surreal, perhaps I have yet to accept, but for tonight I am that little kid walking side by side with my favorite person in the world along that damp Chinatown sidewalk not too long ago.