Friday, April 16, 2004

Today just started out like any other day where I don’t have to work.

I woke up like I always do, checked my e-mail, brushed my teeth, ate breakfast, and then hit the gym. Played video games for about an hour. Drove out to the local movie theatre to see “The Punisher.” Swung by work to pick up my paycheck. Went home to prepare a meal for my mother and myself. Checked my voicemail and got a message from my Dad’s doctor, saying that he had a recurring infection and was being treated with antibiotics. Packed up my stuff and went to my martial arts classes.

About 6:35, I am on a Skytrain towards Vancouver. I get a call from my mom on my cell phone.

“Turn around and come to the hospital right now.”
“What’s going on?”
“Just come back to the hospital right now.”

There are either two possibilities as to what happened, either he passed away or was in the process of passing away. She didn’t have to tell me what happened over the phone. I already knew.

Victor Pui Kay Yim died on April 16, 2004 at about 17:45 due to complications from a bacterial infection in his lungs.

My dad was going through a lot before that happened. First, from being stabbed during a workplace violence incident at Riverview Hospital back in 1987, to developing Parkinson’s disease, to a gradual deterioration to the point of developing osteoporosis, a spinal fracture, and then an antibiotic resistant lung infection. It’s been a long time coming, and in a way, I am relieved, especially when one considers the amount of suffering that he’s been through over the years.

Most of my memories of my father involve seeing him in some sort of pain or state of weakness, having had to deal with this for a really long time. However, through it all, I have never heard my dad complain about his condition or the bad hand he was dealt. He took it in stride and did his best to cope with any condition he was in. Of course, he did need help when his condition progressed into its later stages. He needed to be taken places when he couldn’t drive anymore. He needed help walking when his legs began to fail.

In spite of it all, he was pushing himself until the end when he was simply physically incapable of doing it anymore. He was still doing work around the house, cooking, and cleaning, refusing to give up. But as all things must come to an end, so did this.

Despite the fact that the majority of my memories of my father have him in some sort of an enfeebled state, I do have memories of a father that was strong and robust. These are the memories I prefer. I remember a father with a dry sense of humour that would crack jokes during breakfast. I remember a father that took care of me when I was sick, even when his condition was beginning deteriorate. I remember a father that taught me to rely on myself and no one else. I remember a provider, a parent, a role model, a spiritual guide, a mentor, a joker, and a hero.

I mostly remember a father who was physically weak. But he was stronger than I ever knew.

Goodbye, Dad.

I’ll miss you.

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