A Letter Never Sent

By Yoke-Yin Cong Purcaro

Dear Father,  

How are you doing? Itís been a while since we talked on the phone - a week after September 11. Please do not worry about me for I am safe here. Furthermore, Iím sure the security in the United States has been tightened. As a matter of fact, I believe that the United States government will not allow the terrorists to harm one more innocent person in this country.  

Ching told me that you have to go back to the doctor every once in a while to have a check up. I hope you will follow the doctorís schedule and you will not worry about the expenses. There is nothing more important than oneís health. So, no matter how much money we have to spend, it is worth it. You have to be honest with the doctor and with yourself. Please let the doctor knows as soon as possible if you think your heart beat is abnormal.

I would like to invite you and mother to my graduation in June. Yes, I did it, finally. Iíve spent 3 1/2 years getting my Bachelorís degree.  It has been difficult since I had to work full time while going to school. After I graduated, Iím afraid that I canít go home right away because I have to find a job first.

You would be impressed by the freeways in California, and you would be surprised to see all the nice cars in this country. Father, youíve been working so hard for our family. Itís time for you to relax and to enjoy life. We are all grown up now and we know how to take care of ourselves. Moreover, itís time for us to support the family now. So, please father, take good care of yourself. Whenever you have time, you should get a passport first before you apply for the U.S. visa. I will have all the documents ready as soon as you get your passport.  

I will stop here now. Best Wishes.  


Your Daughter,



I wrote the above letter a week before my father passed away, and I didnít have a chance to send it. On an early morning in April of 2002, after I came back from spring break vacation, a phone call woke me up. It was my sister, Lily , from Singapore . I could hear that she was sobbing. I jumped out of my bed and asked her what had happened. She said my father had fallen at work and was now in the hospital. Lily said she had to go back to our hometown but would call me from there.  

After I hung up the phone, my heart was beating very fast and my whole body felt weak. My mind was unclear and I didnít know what to do. I then decided to call my other sister and my brother who were staying with my parents. My brother answered the phone; he was crying and couldnít talk at all. So, I let him go and told him that I would call back later to check on my fatherís condition. When I called him the second time, my mother, sister, and brother were  in the hospital next to my father. I heard my sister crying. I tried to ask my brother what was happening. He said that father had been unconscious since the moment he was sent to the hospital. He couldnít recognize anybody, and he was acting strangely. All of a sudden, I heard my sister screaming, ďFather is gone!Ē  

At that moment, I felt like my heart stopped beating. I didnít even know for how long my cheeks were full of tears. I was hoping that I was dreaming, yet, it was all true. I could only sit on the floor holding the phone and repeating what my sister had said, ďFather is gone!Ē  

I didnít go home for the funeral due to my course commitments and visa issues. Iíve been feeling guilty all these days because I wasnít there for my family, and I had to miss my fatherís funeral. My sister told me that my mother dressed my father in the western style for his funeral - slacks, jacket, suit and bowtie. Also, he was wearing the shoes that I had bought him when I went home last time. They were a pair of black leather shoes that cost only thirty five dollars. According to what my mother told me, father always told people that these were the most expensive shoes that he ever had in his life.

My father was a simple man who worked hard to support his family, and he was also a man who believed in the philosopher, Kung Tzu, Confucius, and in the principles of Confucius.  On researching an encyclopedia, I learned that my father therefore ďchampioned strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, and respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives, and used the family as a basis for an ideal governmentĒ.

Until today, I still canít accept the fact that my father is gone. I will never see him again, and he had never had a chance to meet my husband, his son-in-law.  

Oh, Father! You donít know how much I miss you and how much I would like to chat with you again since weíve never chatted longer than five minutes. I could tell when we talked that you had a lot of questions you wanted to ask me. But, it is too late now, for you are gone and will never come back again.