Here it is, January 3rd, and I am getting over the first day of the year. I am still thinking about the death of Rhea Mahar. Now, I get to add Hong Tang's to the list. Taken from us at the disgustingly early age of 42, of lung cancer. And as far as I know, he never smoked a day in his life.
I met Hong back in 2004. A mutual friend was down in the Valley. I had managed to convince my parents to play host to her and a few of her Chinese friends, so Daisy and others came by one Saturday close to my birthday in February. One of those who arrived that day was Hong, but he called himself Franki, because a lot of Asian folks upon coming to North America, adopt North American first names.
The full incident was written about here, nearly ten years ago. Go ahead and read it.
Anyway, Franki/Hong remained in the Toastmasters club for several years. His English and self-confidence improved tremendously, which made me proud. But he got busy with work, and having a family, and he dropped out. We lost track of each other, but we did visit one evening to their house out Larry Uteck way.
I hadn't seen Hong in a few years, but often thought of him, and often thought we should keep in touch. But we didn't, and life went on, until today when another mutual friend emailed me the news. I found his obituary, and I invite you to read it.
I feel terrible about this. A man in the prime of his life felled by this disease. Another friend, gone.
It sounds cliche, but if you have lost touch with a friend over the years, please make an effort to keep in touch. If you had a disagreement with that friend years ago and fell out, I'll bet you that you can't remember what that thing was. Give them a call. See how they're doing.
(There are exceptions to the above. There always are.)
I will miss Hong. I will miss him like crazy. I will think of him often. I can only hope that he has gone to a better place, one where there is no more pain.
I mean, Hong.
See you tomorrow.