Dim Sum Diaries
Here is the conclusion.

Since we weren't allowed into his room, everyone sat back down to wait for some news. I stood just outside of the waiting room hoping to catch a glimpse of something. I could hear the urgent murmur of voices as they worked on him. Then there was silence. The doctors and nurses emerged from his room, talking quietly amongst themselves. They took off their surgical masks and gloves as they walked away. Perhaps because I watched one too many ER episodes, I knew the their efforts had been futile. I went back into the waiting room and sat down. Nobody else seemed to realize what had happened. They were still filled with half-hope and half-dread as they waited to hear from someone. I didn't want to be the harbinger of doom. A half an hour later, a doctor walked into the waiting room.

"I'm sorry, he didn't make it. It was congestive heart failure," he said quietly. He offered his condolences and left. The waiting room was suddenly filled with the sounds of crying and tears. I hugged my mother and my grandmother as they cried. I don’t think Id ever seen my grandmother cry like that before. Each of my cousins was hugging their respective mother. That's why you have children, I thought numbly to myself. So when you get older they can comfort you in times of crisis.

The crying eventually subsided and everyone filed into his hospital room to say their final goodbyes. Gung Gung was still intubated, but his eyes were closed and he looked like he was asleep. At rest. Everyone took turns saying talking to him and saying goodbye. Several of my aunts and cousins even kissed his cheek. My grandmother brushed back his hair, a tender gesture of affection.

When I went to his bedside I had no idea of what to say. I told him goodbye and that I loved him. Then I kissed his forehead. However, the shock of his cold skin against my lips had me jumping back involuntarily. It really freaked me out. I walked out of there because I couldn't take being in the room anymore. Eventually, a nurse approached me and asked if we had made funeral arrangements. They needed the bed space, I guess. I said I would ask, and took charge of calling the funeral home since it gave me something useful to do. My mom looked exhausted. After we stayed there awhile longer, I drove her home. I later found out that some of my family stayed with Gung Gung for hours after we left.

We held his funeral the Saturday after he passed away. It was a closed-casket ceremony because my grandmother didn't want him embalmed. She believed that in order for him to be happy in the afterlife, he needed to be kept intact. It was also decided that the funeral would be a simple ceremony with classical music playing. There would be no mention of God nor would there be any Buddhist monks chanting in the background. Everybody was invited to stand at the podium and make a speech. My dad spoke on our behalf. He had practiced his speech all morning, and when he read it, his voice cracked with emotion. When Gung Gung was finally laid, we burned incense, paper money and figures symbolizing all he would need to live richly and comfortably in the afterlife.


I felt like I had aged after all this happened. And though I was sad he was gone, it made me realize that the family you have with you now should never be taken for granted. Even though two years have passed, my emotions regarding this event still run strongly. I'm glad I had a chance to write about it, as it gave me a way to express my feelings and remember Gung Gung.