Although to be honest, I don’t quite remember the man. I can recall what he looked like, but that’s about it.
My father passed away when I was just ten - my last memories of him was a man chained to a dialysis machine, wasting away as his kidneys slowly failed him at the prime of his life. I don’t ever believe my brother - who was just seven then - and I were even at his deathbed when his life finally ebbed away.
What I do know of the man was how Mom spoke of him - a faithful man who dearly loved his family, loyal to his friends and one who indulged in too much char kway teow. I know she still grieves after all these years.
Maybe forgetfulness was, as a child, a form of self-coping mechanism; shutting out painful memories, a way to deal with loss. Some of our time together still stick in the mind, of course, especially our weekly weekend rituals at Chinatown Complex, but not much else.
My only family left from Dad’s side is Beer Uncle. In terms of character, Beer Uncle is about as polar opposite to Father as can be possible. Where Dad was sociable and had many friends, Beer Uncle was an introvert and never really had any. And while my Mom still speaks lovingly of the man she married, Beer Uncle was once married for just three months (his wife left him; we never really knew why).
It’s Father’s Day today.
I’ve decided that the best way to honour the father I’ve not known long enough, is to provide for his sole surviving sibling.
I’m truly glad that Beer Uncle is at the happiest he’s been in recent times, ever since he starting working at The Good Beer Company. He’s met so many customers who’ve quickly become his friends and listen to his cheerful chatter. And however morbid this may sound, I hope that the day when Beer Uncle finally passes on, he’d be surrounded by these friends he never knew he’d ever have and would miss him dearly.
I think my sociable father would have found this strangely apt.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.