Monday, January 21, 2013

Jack L. Jue- Remembering my Father

I had the great honor to spend the last 10 days of my father Jack's life constantly at his bedside. In those 10 days my father continued to teach me how to live life , how to care for others, and how to face adversity as he has throughout my life. One evening at the hospital when we were alone , it was my task to tell him that his doctors had determined that there was nothing more they could do to treat his invasive bladder cancer and that his life was most likely to be numbered in days rather then weeks, months or years. He calmly asked me the particulars about what was most likely to come and then fell asleep. He slept straight through the night like a baby. It was the first night in the hospital that he had a good nights sleep . When he awoke he told me that he thought that it was pretty bad and scary story that I had told him the night before but that he was very comfortable that I was sleeping by his side in the recliner chair and joked with me that if I wanted I was welcome to sleep by his side every night , although he was quite concerned about how uncomfortable I looked in that chair !
 After that evening , we spent very little time talking about that bad and scary story and instead shared other stories of my Dad's full and eventful and exciting life and of the many people he had known . My Dad had a gift for what the Hawaians call “talking story”. and he did that for the next 10 days when we were together . I will share just a little bit of that story . Dad was born to a Chinese immigrant family that had a sucessful asparagus farming business in the San Fernando valley. He went to UCLA and then finished his education at UC Davis. He met and married the love of his life ,my mother , Alice starting a family that would ultimately grow to 5 children , 10 grandchildren and 2 great granchildern. After college he joined his father in Asparagus farming for a number of years. . Later due to forces beyond their control , my father and his father lost their Asparagus farming business and were forced to remake themselves completely from scratch . My father tried a number of jobs including gardening running a toy store( I liked that one) , selling Christmas trees and other odd jobs . Eventually he settled on Real Estate as a career, taking classes and becoming a salesmen and broker. Later he began working for the County of Los Angeles and was trained as a Real Estate Appraiser by the county . He worked for many years in the Capital Projects department . After retiring from the County he started his own successful Real Estate appraisal business which he operated until his retirement . In 1982 he and others formed Standard Savings Bank which became very successful serving the Chinese community . Later in life my Father discovered Christ and the Church and the Church community became a large part of his life.
Those are the bare outlines of my Dad's story . But the bigger story is the story of how he lived his life. He was always a humble , and unassuming man , who cared deeply about his family , and friends . He was a good listener and always wanted to hear your story and what you were doing . He was funny , and was endearing to all who knew him making you feel comfortable in his true warmth . But the secret was that he was not just this way with family and friends but with everyone . The nursing assistants who cared for him in the hospital during the last days of his life would come out of his room laughing and amazed at how my Dad had joked with them in Spanish . Woken up at 430 in the morning by a nursing assistant to bathe him and change his bedding ..he complimented her profusely on her skill at getting the job done all by herself without him even getting out of bed .. Although in dire straits and very ill , he did not dwell on his condition but  instead wanted to know all the details about how she had learned how to do her job so well! That is the way Dad was ... He was every one's good friend .. even strangers, waitresses at restuarants , car mechanics... nurses and nursing assistants who cared for him , new parishioners in his church ... It didn't matter who you were or what your station was in life , he wanted to connect with you and hear your story.  In the last 10 days of his life although very weak he pulled himself together to share time and stories with his large extended family and many friends who came to visit , holding forth from his hospital bed in the living room of his home.
 . ... He is gone now and we all , family and friends, miss him terribly. But I will speak for my father .. He would say , please go on with those family celebrations to come , the small group Church meetings to come , the cruises to foreign lands, the parties with friends, and those noodle lunches he so loved to share with you . He is very sorry he will not be there but will be there with you in spirit , sharing together with you the good times. But he would also say , that he will be with you as well through the difficult and not so good times, his spirit will be with you always comforting you when you are in need.

Jack Jue Jr.

1 comment:

  1. My condolences, Jack. Thanks for sharing your personal memories and reflections during those very difficult last days. Your father was a remarkable man indeed.