Going on vacation with Daddy was actually a lot of fun.
This was especially true when we were a little older, and he was a little less sick because he rarely said no to us in regards to things we wanted to do, much to the chagrin of Mummy. And this was best represented during our family trip to Oahu at the beginning of my senior year in college.
When we arrived in Oahu, Daddy told us to just enjoy ourselves and do whatever we wanted to do.
This trip actually came at the perfect time because a few days after we came back, I would have my interview at the University of Michigan Medical School. I was extremely nervous about it since it was clearly my top choice, but it also was my very first interview so I was concerned about screwing up. So I took what Daddy said to heart and decided to enjoy myself. This wasn't too hard to do in paradise.
We did a number of family things, including going to the beach and nice restaurants, shopping, going to the navy base, and running around the Dole pineapple maze (that thing is actually pretty tough!). But then I got more creative.
I asked if I could go power hang gliding. Yes.
I asked if I could go to a race track and learn to drive a race car. Yes again. Daddy actually thought the race car thing was pretty cool, though Mummy thought it would be stupid - she came with me and thought it was awesome 🤣.
I asked if I could go sky diving. LONGGGGGG pause. Mummy was like "HELL NO", but Daddy saw I really wanted to do it so he said yes.
Mummy was really angry with him, but he just couldn't say no to me (like I said before, much to the chagrin of Mummy). My siblings came with me, but my parents didn't because they were freaked out about the entire thing. Soon after touching the ground, I called them and they were relieved it all worked out - so was I 😅. I was a bit freaked because I had to literally sign about a half-dozen waivers that said the company wasn't responsible in case of severe injury or death... yeesh.
Daddy reminisced often during our trip about his time at the University of Hawaii - Manoa, where he did his MSME. His face would light up talking about it, and that was a cool thing to see. He spoke about how he had a cool convertible and how fun it was just to drive around the island. It was an amazingly beautiful place, and I told Daddy I didn't understand how he could've left. He said there were better opportunities for him and that ultimately was the most important to thing to him.
Practical till the very end.
And you know what I just realized? That was the last family vacation we ever took, where all five of us were together.
That was 11.5 years ago when I wrote this - now 18 years ago... 😔
Daddy wasn't super sick until the last couple of years. He valued family more than anything else. Yet we couldn't, I couldn't, find time to help arrange another trip together as a family.
Now, my goal isn't to focus on regrets, but to use these realizations as a stepping-stone to never take my family for granted ever again. I know I took my time with Daddy for granted at times, and now I'm no longer able to form memories with him, or of him. I hope this tragedy helps me focus on my remaining family because I have far too many memories to still build with them.
And I don't want to miss out on any one of those memories.