dad, a thai born with 100% chinese blood, was a soccer star, fun lover, risk taker and family man. i was a daddy’s girl. i was always seen flocking around his legs while he was washing car, working on computer, taking a walk or even exercising.
mom, with 100% thai blood running in her vein, was and is a charming lady, with huge smile and stubborn determination. she cooks, sews, cleans, trades and makes a lovely home. when she sets her mind on something, it gets done.
dad and mom met on a bus in nonthaburi. they’d been acquainted through families and friends but they didn’t fall in love with each other, not at first sight. both were dating someone else at that time. dad with his girl and mom was being courted by an italian rocker (i still find it hard to believe even until now.)
but as there was no progress in both of the relationship, the adults thought they should get together. thus, their marriage was half-arranged and half-willing for the bride and the groom.
families were jointed; one pure chinese and one pure thai. mom moved out to live with dad’s family, who ran a tailor business. after a couple of years, after i was born, my grandpa thought that it was time they had to live on their own. so he gave dad and mom a fortune and bought a building/ house for them.
then came many memorable stories for my family. we, daughters, were born and raised as city girls…spoiled at first actually. we had nannies and maids who took care of our laundry, meals, dishes, bathrooms and bedrooms. our parents worked hard; mom, a boutique owner and dad, a businessman/ an insurance salesman. us, the 3Ms (mink, mai and mo), were allowed to enjoy convenient, fun-filled life. through our parents’ sacrifice, we have tons of precious memories treasured in our hearts.
however, in 1995, the tom yum kung disease collapsed our nations’ and household’s financial stability. our business went bankrupt and debt was growing faster than mold on a piece of bread. for the next 7 years, we had to move in and out to 5 different houses.
then dad got bone cancer.
sometimes i heard shouts of anger and bitterness flowing out of their bedroom door. during the years dad was sick, we spent the majority of our time at hospitals doing homework, playing with each other and talking to mom and dad. when our truck was in the driveway, our dogs (named prince and king) were panting, tongues lolling out of their mouths, charging at us and scampering all over us like they hadn’t seen us for years. we had to get used to dad’s macrobiotic diet and ate whatever he ate such as the steamed multi grains and rice, the rc juice (coming from the grains and rice), boiled rice with japanese garlic leaves, fish, tofu, carrots, balsam pears and soya milk. we cooked and ate them so much that eventually i loved the diet.
on a summer morning in 1998, april 22 to be exact, my dad was rushed to the emergency room. i was sitting in the waiting room…dozing when i heard a group of nurses pushing my dad’s bed out. i didn’t know where they were taking him and my mom was elsewhere. so i quickly followed them and mom caught up with us at the elevator.
dad had this huge blue tube running down his mouth and throat. he tried to signal to us that he was hurting and wanted to get it out. but we couldn’t do anything. then he was put in a men’s ward, curtain closed around his bed with bunches of nursing and med students surrounding him while we were kept outside. 20 minutes later, a doctor, grimmed-face, approached us and said the classic, “i’m sorry.”
like glass falling onto the floor, my heart was shattered. hot glistening tears dropped onto dad’s bare…still…chest. it didn’t matter how long i cried and how hard i tried to yank him, he was soul-emptied. haunting hours of mourning were like shadow eating up our joy. we, the left-behind, held to each other and did our best in comforting one another.
waited…for the sun to rise on our horizon again.
then God came into our life and began putting scattered puzzles together. He’s become our joy, hope…our everything. the heavenly Father didn’t replace dad…He has come so that i may live in fullness.
at the back of my dad’s dog-eared, yellow-stained photo, there appears fading handwriting that says, “i am a wonder of this world”,
signed, mongkol wiroonchatapunth.
a huge lump came up to my throat as i cherished the words dad jotted down. he was a warrior who didn’t give up until his last breath. he taught me many great lessons. and i will forever miss him. i hope that maybe one day God will allow me to see dad again…to tell him how much i love him…how sorely i miss him…and to hug him as i never did in the past…except at his deathbed.
now i stand holding his legacy in my hand, the words i will hold close to my heart – “i am a wonder of this world” is echoing God’s truth.
…we are God’s image bearer…
…formed out of dust…
…breathed the breath of life…
…given authority over every other creation of this earth…
…allowed to share the companionship of the triune Lord…
…bestowed blessed talents to make this world a better place…
how can, then, we not be a wonder of this world?