1 Week Later: Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy | Living Minnaly

Hey guys. I've missed you all! It's been awhile. 

I'll be back to usual posting next week, but today I want to share some updates and something special to me today. 

My dad passed away 1 week ago, today, and it's been a whirlwind of every emotion in the book. Experiencing a loss like this is hard to describe accurately, and every person who has gone through this has a different experience and situation-- however, I think there are some similar emotions that resonate across the board. 

Coming back to New York and diving back into "normal" life feels anything but. It almost feels wrong that everything is exactly the same, yet there is now something hugely different. Sometimes, being back in normalcy makes it feel like he's not really gone-- as if I'll get a call from him any minute or see that he went and like-bombed my Instagram

The most important thing that makes my heart rest a bit easier is the incredible outpouring of support and love I've received over the past week from loved ones, friends, and you guys. 

People say that there's not much they can say or do during times like these, but I disagree.
Sure, no one can bring him back or reverse time, but showing love and care means everything. Through what can be a very dark and isolating time, love and support are the shining beacons of light that help keep us going.

So, next time someone you know is suffering or struggling, just reach out. Even if you haven't spoken in a long time, or even if you feel awkward because you don't know what to say. There is no perfect thing to say, but the simple gesture can mean the world. 

Minna + Dad

Today, I want to pay respect and love to my Dad. I posted a little blurb about him on Insta, but I want to share with you the eulogy that I wrote for his funeral.

Why share something so personal?

Funerals are inherently a sad event, sure, but they're also a celebration of a person's life. And I'd love for you guys to get to know a little about the man who helped create me. 

Dear Daddy,

It's been one week since you left us in peace. Since then, you've already shown me several signs that you are still with me and looking out for me, so thank you for that. I know you heard my eulogy for you at the funeral, but I want to share it with the world today because you deserve to be commemorated in every way:

My dad was one of the strongest, most determined and stubborn person I have ever known. Most people with liver cancer do not fight this long, but he outran it for 10 years. Only 5% of people with the same diagnosis survive that long, and it doesn't surprise me that my dad was one of those special people.

For his kids, he did anything and everything. I never for one minute forgot or took for granted how lucky I was, to try out any sports or activities that I was interested in. When I skated for 10 years, he always was my cheerleader and believed in me. When I decided to put that behind me and go to NYU, he made sure that happened. He always encouraged me to try everything and keep learning throughout my whole life. The only thing he asked of me was for me to do my best. To work hard and honorably.

Most parents encourage their kids to chase careers that are lucrative; ones that offer security and good salaries. My dad was very different, especially from his generation, in the sense that he always said that it was more important to work hard for something you deeply believe in, and that lasting success and a more rewarding life comes that way. He said to never rush, and that it was more important to make wise decisions than rushed ones; to not sell out for things that make you happy short-term, but rather focus on the bigger priorities at the end of the day.

I am so lucky that I got blessed with him as my dad. Not only was he the type of dad that would do anything for his kids, he also wanted his kids to be better than himself and experience even more of life than he did. He wanted us to learn from his mistakes and to be able to take advantage of everything that life has to offer.

As his youngest, him and I had a special relationship. As a father, you always worry about your kids. He wanted to see each of us taken care of and happy. Towards the end, I know he was worried about me more than the rest of his kids in some ways because I am so young, not yet married, and I'm still working on reaching the place where I want to be in my career. And I kept trying to tell him not to worry about me, because I KNOW he doesn't have to worry. He doesn't have to worry about me because of what I got from him.

I got my stubborn determination from him. When he had his mind set on something, he made it happen. I'm the same way. He taught me to stand up on my own two feet and to have the belief in myself that I was capable of handling whatever life threw at me. That I was stronger than any obstacles or struggles that came my way.

He taught me to not care what other people think, and to always stand up proudly and firmly for what I believe in. He trusted me to make smart decisions for myself. He never told me that I had to do what he thought was best for me. He stood back and let me figure it out for myself. Not all parents are that trusting. But I knew it was because he believed that I was smart and wise enough to make the right decisions-- and even if I made the wrong decision, that I would be wise enough to learn from my mistakes, and continue on to be even stronger and better than before.

I wish he got to see me do more. That I got to share more stories with him. But I know he's still watching me and will get to see everything.

After he passed, there was a beautiful sunrise. The sky was such a calm beautiful spectrum of all different colors. That made me feel like he was letting us know he is in peace and happily with his mom and dad, and my oldest brother-- his oldest son.

Whenever I said goodbye to him on the phone or in person, he would always say "be happy!"
And for him, I promise I will. 

Love you always, Daddy. 

LifestyleMinna Lee