Freshman Shuang Luo felt a rush of relief as her father stepped into the room where she and her mother were arguing. To calm Luo down and give her mother some space, her father brought Luo to the marketplace. There, her father bought food for Luo and they spent time with each other talking, enjoying the few moments they had together.
Luo and her father did not have much of a relationship to begin with. Most of the time, her father came home late from work, causing them to be very distant. Their relationship usually contained short conversations with little interaction. However, because of a tragic event, Luo learnt about the hard work her father did to support their family.
“My relationship with my father was quite awkward,” Luo said. “We hardly talked. We often went to get food on Sundays, but there was not much communication. However, for me these were special memories and I cherished every one of them.”
Soon, Luo’s life would be turned upside down. Her family discovered that her father had a brain tumour. This event caused a mix of emotions in Luo. A huge wave of sadness and loneliness swept over her. Even though Luo did not know her father as well as she did with her mother, the news of her father becoming extremely ill broke her heart.
“It was near the end of fifth grade when I was told that he had to visit China to get treated and as a kid, I didn’t think too much of it,” Luo said. “However, during the summer of 2016, when we went to visit the hospital, it was really heartbreaking to see him in that state.”
As her father’s health complications took over, her family needed more support as the medical bills were just too high. Soon, Luo despised the healthcare system because it did nothing for her father.
“Healthcare in the U.S. is so expensive that others can’t even afford to get help,” Luo said. “It costs several thousand dollars per household, which my family could not afford for my father.”
As more time passed, her father’s health worsened and eventually, he passed away in 2017 because of health complications. Luo was saddened by the loss, but she knew that she could not dwell on the past. Instead, she focused on the last moments of his life, where their relationship had been the strongest as she visited him more and their short conversations soon grew into long, meaningful ones.
“During the last few months of his life, we definitely grew closer,” Luo said. “I visited him a lot during his time in the hospital and we mostly talked to each other about school and other miscellaneous things. I appreciated my father when he was still alive, but now I appreciate him even more after everything that happened.”