Reverend William Huang
Mom's Letter to Kids
Dear Jade, Shane, Charlotte and Christian, I just wanted to share with you my love towards your father.
Dear Hsing Wei,
Thank you for reading your sermon first to me and asking for my opinion on every single paper you wrote at Southwest Theological Seminary. Sometimes I made unhelpful comments just want to shorten the time of listening but I failed - you still read the next one to me.
Thank you for letting me do things my way even if it's not always right. Most of all, thank you for your trust in me. You took the kids to Malaysia with me because you believed that my birthplace was the best place on earth and my way of growing up was a good way.
Thank you for bringing home the news everyday. Remember your loud red diesel truck? I just loved hearing that truck turn into our street and see you show up at the door.
Thank you for taking all the blame - remember I told you last week I forgot to turn while I drove to Dallas because you were on the phone? Actually I just enjoyed your voice.
Thank you for analyzing my love toward you. You told me I really really loved you because I not only have 4 kids with you, but I love everyone of them dearly because they are from you.
Thank you for telling me the stories of your childhood, you said you promised yourself to die at age 39 like Jesus by changing the world but you couldn't keep the promise because you didn't want to leave me.
Thank you for answering the cell phone while you sang karaoke with your friends even though you knew that meant the end of singing.
Finally, I Thank God for giving you to me as my life partner and spiritual leader that I treasure so much.
I will apply your faith and your love even now that you are not with us. I promise you I will be fine and take good care of myself.
My Story to Tell
That night when we celebrated Christian’s birthday, all I remember is how happy Baba was. He had been so busy with the restaurant recently and to see him come home to make this event made it such a special get together. He shared so many stories with the in-laws and other friends there that night and was the life of the party – like always. I remember whispering to Mom how amazing he was at telling stories. It was like the 100th time I had heard some of the stories he was telling, but he had a way of capturing my full attention and making the story just as exciting as when he 1st told it. Christian and his friends running around with his new toys, people laughing and crowding around my father as he continued his entertaining and hilarious stories, and the rest of us just stuffed our faces with food and wine. There was so much love and laughter that filled the house that night. Baba definitely enjoyed his last dinner just the way he liked it - he ate the birthday cake before eating dinner even though I kept insisting that would ruin his appetite. And he ate way too much steak, ignoring my advice to not go for seconds because of the headaches he gets when he eats too much red meat. I’ll never forget when he sadly told everyone he had to leave and close up the restaurant. That would be the last time I would see Baba. Even when he got to the restaurant, feeling like he was missing out, he called Mom for an update - curious if everyone was still there. That would be the last time Mom would hear his voice.
When the police were describing what had happened, I kept asking why after he gave up the 1st opportunity to run away, he was stupid enough to give up the 2nd. And then the 3rd. And then the 4th, and on and on? The tape was silent. To me, the only explanation for him staying around was if the women were screaming for Baba’s help. But the daughter told me that she kept yelling at my father to leave, to run, to get away before he gets hurt by HER crazy father. The police, the daughter, and the mother agreed that my father feared for the life of the wife and circled the cars to stay near. I was so angry and didn’t understand how Baba could fear for these women’s lives so much more than his own. A lot of heroes give up their lives for the ones they love. I don’t know if there is even a word to describe a hero that gives up his own life for people he barely knew.
I have spent most of my last 2 weeks by my mom’s side - eating almost every meal together, waking up next to her and my little brother (with my patient husband and puppy sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground next to us). During these 2 weeks w/ my mom - talking through our pain, laughing through our memories of Baba, crying through how much we miss him and how if only we had just a little bit more time with him - I constantly think why couldn’t Baba be selfish JUST ONCE? He would be here with us, telling us the exact details of how he got away from a crazy man with a machete. He would be able to tell that story more than a hundred times to millions of people, drawing crowds as if it was his 1st time telling it.
But that’s just not the way everything turned out this time. Baba left this story for us to tell. I will tell it more than a hundred times to millions of people over and over again with no shame. It’s Baba’s turn to be proud of me as I tell people the story of how my father gave up his own life to save 3…from a crazy man with a machete.
Shane's Journal Entry
It was early on a Saturday morning, and I was putting on my tie to attend my father's funeral. My thoughts drifted back to when my father taught me how to tie a tie one Easter morning. I remembered that the first couple times I wore a tie, my dad would point out that I hadn't folded the collar down properly over the tie, or my knot was ugly. I smiled, thinking of all little things I learned from my father. A wave of sadness hit me as I realized that there was so much more I could have learned from him, if only it weren't too late. A barely formed tear blurred my reflection in the mirror.
I thought of the email I found printed on his desk while collecting his personal belongings. I had sent it a few weeks earlier to both my parents, trying to show off what I had learned in Chinese class. I wished I had called my dad more frequently. He had bought a new antenna so that he could get better cell phone reception after we had several conversations cut short. My mom told me how excited he would be to talk to me, when I called once every week or two. I really should have called more often.
It had been a rough week. Dealing with the death of a beloved family member is always difficult, but coping with the unexpected, abrupt, and violent end to my father's life was especially gut-wrenching. I had barely recognized my father's pale disfigured face on his lifeless body. I had seen his blood on the sidewalk, wall, and mailbox where he was murdered, his skull split and shattered by multiple blows from a steel machete. I had held his hand where the funeral home staff had sewn his thumb back on. I was uneasy with the thought that my father's murderer had escaped and was still not in custody.
I again rehearsed my eulogy in front of the mirror. I reflected upon the fact that my father was a great public speaker who loved to have any audience, and that I would be facing the largest audience I had ever addressed. I was not nervous, and found myself confident that a public speech should be easy for the oldest son of a man who thrived on public speaking. In this way, my father's memory allowed me to do what I had never been able to successfully do - give a memorized speech in front of a large audience of people I did not really know without nervous shaking in my voice or incoherent ramblings sprinkled into my speech.
My father is the man who taught me the importance of serving. He always wanted to improve the world and help the weak. One time when he was young, he drew attention to a man on a train for hitting his wife, screaming to all who could hear that "THIS MAN IS A WIFE BEATER! HE BEATS HIS WIFE! WIFE BEATER ON THE TRAIN!" He had the idealism of an adolescent and the boldness of a veteran salesman. He served in long term relief missions in Taiwan after the earthquake of 1999, and had plans to do the same in the HIV-infested Henan Province in China. He always wanted to help the poor in the United States, and stressed the importance of giving back to the society that had granted us the privileges we had. He rooted for the underdog in every sporting event not involving the Houston Rockets, and felt the same way about real life.
I miss my dad. I miss talking to him, and I miss trying to seek his approval while showing him some recent accomplishment. It didn't matter though; my father was proud of everything I did, even if it wasn't special or all that impressive. He embarassed me more than one time by bragging about my SAT and LSAT scores to my friends who outscored me. He often fought to give us whatever he perceived as the best - he put me in private school for 2 years because the public school district where I was wouldn't let me be in the gifted class without taking a test, and I only came back when I could be in the gifted class while I waited for the next testing cycle. In the end, he really just wanted the best for his children, and I will always remember him for putting us first and making sure we had every opportunity to succeed.
My Brave Father
My father was a noble man, and he helps the family very much. Sometimes he gave me a hard time, but I knew deep down inside he cared about me. I never seen him much when he went to work, but I spent valuable time with him. He made us all laugh and smile when he was there. I will never forget the time he closed work late just for my birthday party so I can feel better. My family was very happy with him, and we would visit him while he’s working sometimes so we can see him.
He could have made a lot of money that night for us but he chose to go to my birthday party instead. After he died, I wanted to make him feel special with his life. We never got to see him again after my birthday party, I was very sad. The day he died he didn’t beg for mercy, or run away, he died protecting a pregnant woman and her 14 year old girl from a mad psycho that has a criminal record. He taught me things like, setting up a tent, how to speak Chinese, and how to save paper and recycle. He gave me a good life on my birthday party and I never would forget him.
He went camping with me and let me play with friends. When we were there, I had fun and he taught me how to build a tent and had a good time. I promise I will never fight again after his death because he wouldn't want me to. He never wanted me to fight with violence. He loved the family and loved the life he had. The name of the psychotic murderer is Leon Andrade, I would never forget the wretched name of him.
I had a great time with him and the last words he said to me was “you’re a special person,” because it was my birthday. I never will forget him and his life. He was always there for the family, and never taught us bad things because he was a good man. He always celebrated everybody’s second digit birthday, and made the best out of his life to make us happy.
I never wanted him to die before I went to college. I always loved him as much as he loved me. I behaved at his funeral because I was sad when he lost his life protecting innocent people. I never forgot his death because he never would forget mine if it happened to me. My family said he was in a better place and I’d meet him in a few years.
I promise I would make him proud by going to a good college
and take care of my mom. I will try to remember him and never forget
him even if I am having a rough time. I will never ever make him feel
bad and I will always love him.
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