February 24, 2008


Posted in life tagged at 5:16 am by The Data Sleuth

I still can’t get over the fact that Mr. Hu, our family friend, has passed away. It was last Nov. Mom called and told me about this bad news. I was totally phased out. My mind was totally blank. He was only 54.To me, he was the closest friend to my family. We lived in the same neighborhood. Her daughter and I have known each other since kindergarten. We became very close friends, so were our parents.

Mr. Hu was a truck driver. In late 80s and early 90s of China, not many people had driver’s licenses. Every summer, he would drive his truck and sent us watermelons and other fruits. He also took us to nearby resorts for vacations.

In the lazy days of the summer, we visited each other every day. Our houses were about five minutes’ walk. Two families would spend the whole night chatting and laughing. Mr. Hu was a quiet person. He always smiled and listened to our conversations. I can’t count how many summers were spent like this. 10 -12 years, maybe. My family moved to a new apartment when I went to the college. After that, we did not really visit each other as often as before.

Mr. Hu was not lucky. He kept losing his job due to his asthma conditions. My mom introduced him to several jobs. He worked for year or two. Bosses were always satisfied but finally fired him because of his health. Mrs. Hu was diagnosed cervical cancer and chemos made her sick and quit her job. That was the hardest time in their life. They just bought a new house and mortgage was not yet paid. My parents tries to help them financially. They always turned them down, saying. “Your daughter is still in college. The tuition is expensive.” Even though I told them my scholarship covered my tuition. They would not accept our help.

After that, I went to America. In 2006, I went back to China and visited the Hus.

Mr. Hu obviously lost some weight. He used to be a big man. Now he seemed to be a size smaller. Mrs. Hu earned her living by babysitting. They looked really tired. A week before my departure to the US. They came to our apartment to visit us. We had a very happy chat. I showed them the clips I took in the US. Everybody was so happy. Everything seems to be back to the good old days. Mrs. Hu bought a papaya, our favorite fruit. Me and mom loved it very much.

When they left, Mr. Hu said to me: “come visit us next time when you come back. We all miss you very much.”

And I would never know that was the last time I saw him.

Mr. Hu went to work as usual. Suddenly, he felt his chest was extremely painful. He parked his car and struggled back to his house.

His wife heard his scream and went down to see what’s happening. She saw her husband lying down on the ground, not breathing. She called the ambulance, but everything was too late. We lost him.

It turns out Mr. Hu had a heart attack three months ago. But he did not let anyone know. He went to the pharmacy, bought bottles of OTC aspirins. That was his heart attack prevention.

After the funeral, my mom browsed through old photo albums. She called me and said:” Honey, you know what, The pictures you took with Mr. Hu are more than those you took with your Dad. There were almost hundreds of his pictures in our album. ”

That is true. Mr. Hu is an indispensable part of our family life. He was a true friend.

And life is so unfair to take him away. or maybe God loves him so much and asked him to heaven so early. Even though I was not a religious person. When I think about this. my sad heart start to recover a little.

I am sure he is looking at us from high above



  1. What a lovely tribute you have written to your good friend Mr. Hu. I feel like I know him a little myself now. I am so sorry to hear that he died at such a young age. I am sure that it will be especially hard for his wife now. I believe very strongly that God took him home for a reason. You are correct. He is definitely smiling down on you…and now he gets to visit America any time he likes! 🙂

  2. Janet said,

    This is a lovely post about a special person. Isn’t it wonderful that we have memories to sustain our friendship when we are parted? I lost one of my grandfathers when he was in his fifties and that is young for a man to die. I believe, like mormonsoprano, that your friend is in heaven with God and that he lives and loves you still.

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