How I Said Good-Bye to My Dad

Doretta Lau’s eulogy for her father, Kwok-Tat Lau

I am working through my grief right now. I miss my dad, and maybe you miss someone right now too, so I thought I’d share the eulogy I gave at his funeral.

January 4, 2018
Ocean View

Thank you for being here to celebrate the life of Kwok-Tat Lau, and to come together to share in the grief, and to remove the sting of suffering. You are here today because you know that my dad is the kind of person you’d want as a family member, as a friend, as a neighbour.

Let me begin with a Dad joke, one my father told all the time. At restaurants, whenever the server offered the dessert menu he would smile—all of you know the wattage of that smile—and say, “No, thank you. I’m sweet enough.”

It is true: he was sweet enough. He was never bitter, nor was he ever saccharine. He brought calm, light, and generosity to every moment. With his actions, he showed me that strength is gentle rather than forceful. I could spend the entire afternoon discussing his many excellent qualities and the lengths to which he went to give me the very best life. From him I learned that good leadership requires kindness, I learned how to hit a trifecta, and I learned that food tastes better when it is simple and prepared with love.

I am the person I am today because of him. How do you say good-bye to such a powerful and loving witness of your life? I don’t know how this work can be done, but I am thankful that you are here with me as I start on this difficult journey. We will do this together.

Two nights ago I was reading a book called Healing After Loss, which quotes Mark Twain. He wrote: “The mind has a dumb sense of vast loss—that is all. It will take mind and memory months and possibly years to gather the details and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss.”

We lost a great man, the very best of men. So let us be attentive to our memories and to ourselves, so that Kwok-Tat Lau may live on past these early stages of grief. I hope that he shines as bright and beautiful in your minds, during these cold winter days, as he did when he was alive.

We love you, Dad.

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