Family Tribute:September 30, 2001
As a son, there are so many words that I wish I had a chance to say to you, dreams for you that I wish I could've had a chance to fulfill, handshakes and hugs that I wish I weren't so scared to give. I regret that, as a son, I did not get a chance to tell how much I loved you, and how great of a foundation you laid for me in life. The confidence that I had in leaving for college, and working alone in the city, came from knowing that you would always be there for me. The feeling of strength and invulnerability I had in myself I now realize, came because you were always behind me.
There is a memory so vivid in my mind, and so poignant that I can never forget. It happened on Labor Day Weekend, 2001. You had repeatedly asked me to come home to visit you and spend a weekend at home. I always said no, citing plans I had made ahead of time to stay in the city. However, this weekend, you offered to take me to IKEA, knowing how I needed furniture. I am so ashamed that it took that offer to get me home but I am so glad that I did, as it was the last time I ever got to see you. After we picked up the furniture, we had to move the boxes onto the car. It took us three attempts to get it right. Three times of moving unbelievably heavy boxes onto the car, realizing we made a mistake, moving them off, and then on again... As we were doing this, Mom stood there laughing at us two goofs, and made a comment that has seared itself into my last memories of you. She said, 'Aren't you lucky Daddy is here? Who else can help you carry these boxes? I certainly can't. Without Daddy, none of this could be done. You should really go thank him when you're done.' Never did I think that that would be the last time we would carry anything together.
Now I am left standing alone, having to carry things alone, wondering where my strength will come from now. But I remember the life you lived, the kind of character you exhibited for me, For example, every Sunday morning, the meeting began at 10, but you would be at the meeting hall before 9 a.m. That required you to get up at the crack of dawn every Sunday, and arrive at the meeting hall when no one else was there. And, rather than park at the front, you parked as far back as possible, saving the best spots for others. You unlocked the gate, walked around the property, and set everything up. It seemed that you were happiest there, and you could never contain your peace and happiness at being there. Every Sunday, without fail, you would be the first to arrive, and the last to leave. I saw in you character and passion that I hope to find some day. When it came to something you loved, you yielded to nothing. You found strength from yourself, and from God. And now, I struggle to do so myself.
Dad, I miss your courage, your wisdom and the comfort in knowing that you would always be there for me. But, in these past weeks, I have found comfort in the fact that you were my father, and that through 21 years of my life, you instilled much of your strength into me. Whether it be through example or through the words you spoke to me, much of you has been imparted into me and become a part of me. While I must now physically carry things alone, I am proud to say that you will still help carry me through my walk of life, and walk with God.
Life is fragile, and now more than ever, it is unfair. I miss my daddy. I just want him back. I want to hear his voice, to hear him laugh, to hear a pair of stubby legs running up and down the stairs. But there is nothing. Just silence. My house is quieter, eerily different. And I am sad. Life has irrevocably changed.
But Life is also amazing beautiful. I know this is true, because my dad made it so. Last year, when I first went away to college, I was excited, ready for my independence and freedom. Three days after arriving, I e-mailed my dad and told him I wanted to come home. I was homesick and I hated where I was. I told him I wanted to transfer. My dad e-mailed me back. He told me to turn to the Lord and follow the Lord's leading for the blessing. The Father takes care of you. He closed by writing, and you are in my prayers, I will pray and ask for the Lord's peace to be with you. It struck me for the first time that my dad prayed for me - really prayed for me. Not just daily, but moment by moment, and I know that he is still praying for me and interceding for me.
I am not eloquent and I cannot find the words that would do my dad justice. He was a treasure, who for an all too brief time walked with us here on earth. But there are some people so precious that God decides He wants them with him. I know how God feels. I want my dad with me too.
I tell God every night, Just give me one more chance. One more chance to hug him. One more chance to talk to him. One more chance to see him. One more chance to listen to a joke. One more chance at making a memory for me. I want to see my daddy. I want to tell him I love him. I want to tell him not to worry about us. That even though my family is presently three, we will always have the strength of four.
I want my father to know that while he isn't with me, I have him all around me. I see him in my mom's smile. I hear him in my brother's eloquence. I feel the strength and power of his heart and spirit in me. I see his love and devotion to the Lord in the young people. I hear his laughter in my uncle. I want to tell him do not be sad, because I'll see him later. And not to worry because I will actually be able to graduate college in four years... hopefully.
I just wish I could have said all these things to him while he was with me.
As teenagers, John and Grace Chiang had never slept in on weekends. Every Saturday morning at 7 a.m., their father, Alex Chiang, would sing hymns at the top of his voice in the kitchen to wake them and his wife, Sunny. If no one stirred after 10 minutes, he would walk into each bedroom to perform.
'We would say, 'Get out, Dad,' and he would only try to sing louder and louder until we got up,' John said. 'I complained about it all the time. Now I miss it.'
Alex Chiang, 51, and his family traveled from their home in New City, N.Y., to Franklin Park, N.J., every Saturday to meet with other members of the nondenominational church that he helped found more than a decade ago. The Chiangs would stay the night with others and return home on Sunday evening. 'He's a very faithful person,' his wife said.
Mr. Chiang, a computer specialist at Marsh & McLennan, treated other church members with such kindness, said Paul Du, a close friend, that more than 1,200 people came to his memorial service in October.
After John Chiang, 22, moved into a sparsely furnished Manhattan apartment as a young banker, he seldom visited his parents. 'So on Labor Day weekend, my dad enticed me home by promising that he would bring me to Ikea,' John said. 'We bought a lot of heavy stuff. He dropped me off in my apartment, and then he was gone.' That was the last he saw of his father. Now John has moved back in with his mother.