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A Letter to Uncle

10 years ago.

I woke up on Christmas eve to the news of a friend’s passing. He was in his early 20s. He was driven, ambitious, and only two weeks prior to this devastating news, reconnected with me and said he wanted to catch up. He shared the (positive) changes in his life the last few months we hadn’t been talking. He said he was now determined to start a business. He wanted to settle down with his 5-year long girlfriend. He was on the way to pick his girlfriend up from work and we quickly ended the conversation, with me reminding him to drive safe and be careful.

Sometimes you just can’t help but to think that it is destined. I struggled with it. At 19, this was a huge blow to me. I struggled with my faith. I doubted everything. I never once imagined life could be so fucking cruel. But it is. I spent the next few months drinking my nights away.

Arts school saved me. I coped much better being able to develop works and put all my thoughts and emotions into projects in uni. The truth is, there will never be a closure; but working on projects and exploring the possibilities of an afterlife — at least, felt like one.

2022.

Now, the passing of someone I respect and wish I had more time with. One who raised amazing children. One who was easygoing and fun to be with, and most importantly, enjoyed the family’s company. He was never like other parents I knew (besides my own). He was caring, thoughtful, expressive, and simply enjoyed doing things he enjoyed doing. He was never authoritative. A man of few words, but you know when he is happy. And he is often the happiest with his children.

Love, and be loved. He achieved both, greatly. For that, I am comforted.

Grieve, but celebrate.

You never get over it. You just don’t. You just learn to deal with it better every single day, and there is no shame in that. It is all right to cry. Let it out. But remember to celebrate. Celebrate his life. Celebrate the risks he took, the challenges he had overcome, and the family he had built. Celebrate the fact that he had lived his life doing things he loved doing. Celebrate the fact that it was every single action he took that made his life whole. He truly lived his life.

He is the reason I have my soul mate with me today, when I had no hope left in finding the one. For me to have met his amazing family. His kind, patient, selfless, and gracious wife. His filial, kind, compassionate, and amazing two sons. And most importantly, to have given me Jerry.

The first family I felt like I actually fit in with. I didn’t have to explain myself. Never had to. I didn’t have to go with traditional formalities. I could just be 100% myself and still feel loved and accepted when I step in, when I stayed over, and when we hung out.

Thank you for accepting me and welcoming me to your family.
From now, I will help to take good care of them to the best of my abilities.

Till we meet again. Rest in peace, uncle Tay.

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