Life Lessons from My Dad

There is an old Chinese saying that comes to mind about the fleetingness and truth of existence. It is “birth, old age, illness and death”. Almost every “healthy”  human goes through each stage, as it’s the natural progression of what we call life.

With deep sorrow, I share with you that after a long and courageous battle against cancer, my beloved dad passed away peacefully three weekends ago. Over the past few weeks, I realize that while my dad has physically left my family and I; his spirit lives on through myself and my family members. He will remain in our hearts forever through the wonderful memories we shared together and the lessons he taught us.

I dedicate this post to my dad, 3 times cancer survivor and my role model. In this post, I would like to reflect upon qualities or values that I greatly admired in and learned from my dad. I call these qualities or values “life lessons”. Thank you in advance for taking your time to read about my dad: a very remarkable, courageous and optimistic man.


1. Courage

In the past 7.5 years, my dad repeatedly demonstrated courage in facing and battling against three types of cancer. Such courage is considerably admirable; every time I accompanied him to chemotherapy or cheered him on at one of his surgeries, he would face these painful sessions head on with a brave countenance. I had never once seen him break down, cry or scream in agony. No matter what situation, he fearlessly met the challenge and difficulty without hesitation or cowardice. Even till his last breath, he faced death without fear; he told us he was ready to go without any regrets.


2. Strength & Resilience

When I mention strength here, I am not talking about physical strength. I am referring to mental and inner strength.  In my opinion, strength and resilience are interchangeable. My dad fought valiantly in every single battle against cancer, despite the pain and physical weakness from surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, and later, from the rapid and unstoppable tumor growth. However, he was always resilient in his spirit to recover. I still vividly remember his last surgery (removal  of his entire stomach) one year ago: the doctor recommended for him to walk around the hospital ward a few times a day with his walker to regain strength. Although it must have been extremely painful for him to get up after the surgery, dad would walk slowly but steadily around the ward independently, refusing support from any of us. My dad most definitely had the strength and resilience of a warrior.


3. Optimism

In the face of bleak truth, dad was still the epitome of optimism. He always believed he would overcome cancer and live a long life. His positive attitude helped him a lot to overcome obstacle after obstacle during the past 7.5 years. He enjoyed reading a variety of magazine articles and books on eating and cooking right to treat and prevent cancer, and then tried them out for himself and his family. Also, he knew leading an active lifestyle would help in battling against cancer. Whenever it was good weather, I would see him happily riding his bike to meet his friends at the local cafe or go grocery shopping. Not one moment did he ever give in to the hopelessness and helplessness of a cancer patient; he continued to live life to the fullest with joy and hope. Every relative, family friend and acquaintance I talked to in the past 3 weeks confirmed what I already knew: dad will forever be remembered as an eternal optimist with a zest for life.


4. Frugality, Generosity, Hard Work & Selflessness

My family and I noticed something quite astounding as we were going through family albums. My dad actually wore the same pair of glasses for almost 25 years! He had these glasses from the day he was in university until I graduated from high school. This discovery really brought home the fact that he was a very simple, kind-hearted man, who found joy in the little things such as working to provide for his family, eating dinner with us, and being creative with reusing recyclable materials. He rarely spent money on himself,  except buying himself a cup of coffee and the newspaper to be enjoyed at the cafe. While my dad was frugal on himself, he was always generous with his family and friends, and even strangers. He was the type of person who would give money to strangers with a sob story, without doubting the authenticity.

Since I was a little child, I associated hard work with my dad. He was always working extra hard from Monday to Sunday, to raise my brother and I, so we could have the best of everything. He even uprooted his life in Europe by moving to Canada so his children could have a better future. I believe dad’s simple, hardworking and frugal life is something to look up to, as he was able to raise two successful children and have his own property with his wife in a new country. He built a happy and rewarding life based on the foundations of hard work, selflessness, frugality and generosity.


5. Actions Speak Louder than Words

Dad was raised in a family and culture that did not display affections or express feelings outwardly. As a result, I used to think he was incapable of love. Now I know that his every action showed his immense love and care for his family. For example, he would make me a hot breakfast every morning during the week, and always took care of the maintenance of my car. These thoughtful gestures definitely showed his love for me. From my dad, I have learned that actions speak louder than words; it is a valuable lesson and reminder for me when interacting with people around me.


My dad’s “life lessons” are his legacy for me. My only wish is to be able to live by his example, passing on his legacy, as I continue to grow into the best person I can be, and move forward in life. I am truly honoured and proud to be my dad’s daughter.

In loving memory of my dad: tulips are a symbol of Spring and eternal life. May his legacy live on through me and he rest in eternal peace in heaven. :)

In loving memory of my dad: tulips are a symbol of Spring and eternal life. May his legacy live on through me and may he rest in eternal peace and happiness in heaven.





30 thoughts on “Life Lessons from My Dad

  1. You had me in tears with this post Violet! Your dad sounds like a wonderful soul. I think it’s amazing that you are able to be so eloquent about who he was and what he meant to you, so soon after his passing (it seems some of that resilience was inherited / learned!).
    It made me think about my dad, and how his upbringing influences how he shows me and my siblings his love (even if we don’t realise always recognise it at the time).
    All the best to you and your family at this difficult time.

    • Hi Jess, thank you for your thoughts and lovely compliments on my dad and I. 🙂 I’m happy you pointed out that I may have inherited his resilience; it makes me think that he’ll always be a part of me. I have always found writing to be a useful tool in helping me to sort through how I feel and reflect on things, and in this case, it has been therapeutic for me to think about who dad was and what he meant to me. By sharing who dad was with you and my dear fellow blogger friends and readers, I feel as if his legacy will live on. I’m glad that my post reminded you of your dad!! I wish you and him, and your family more happy and precious moments to be enjoyed together, and good health always! 🙂 xo

  2. What a beautiful and heartfelt reflection on your wonderful and courageous father. We all have much to learn from the life long lessons he taught you. Thank you for sharing them.

    • Dear Naomi, thank you for taking your time to read my reflection on my dad, and commenting here. Means a lot to me. I hope you will also be able to include some of my dad’s values in your life with mindfulness, and pass these life lessons to your daughter someday. 🙂 With love, Violet

  3. What a beautiful, heart warming and well written post. I’m sure your dad is smiling and watching over you guys.

    • Charlotte, thank you for taking your time to read about my dad. I’m happy you realize the importance of cherishing your dad; cherish every precious moment! 🙂 Wishing you all the best back, Violet xo

    • Hi Anna, I’m taking things day by day, so am okay. Thanks for stopping by and taking your time to read about my dad. Means a lot to me and your nice comments. 🙂 I hope all is well in your world; I’m looking forward to reading about your first real job! 🙂 Wishing you all the best! ^^

  4. Beautifully written. I’ve never read a blog straight through, I don’t like reading lol but this was very sincere and heart warming. We love your dad and he will always be remembered. Him and I didn’t have a lot in common and didn’t really talk a lot, but he was a respectable man with lots of love for his family. He was strong and optimistic and those are qualities that are very important to me. He raised 2 amazing kids and I know you guys made him extremely proud. He left with no regrets and knows that we will continue to make him proud. Xoxo

    • Dearest Jessie, I’m glad you were able to read this blog post all the way through about dad. 🙂 Even though he didn’t speak a lot to you, please know that he was thrilled to have you as part of our family, another daughter, and was proud of all your achievements and will be watching you from heaven as you continue to compete and make all of us proud! xoxo

  5. What a beautiful post and tribute to your Dad. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your words were so beautiful and he sounds like a wonderful man with an amazing attitude and zest for life, something we all should have! Thank you for sharing. I love the part about him making you hot breakfast every morning and doing the maintenance on your car. So true about the actions being more louder.

    • Hi Brandi, thank you for your condolences and kind words here. My dad was truly a wonderful good man, and I’ll miss his hot breakfasts and taking care of my car for sure; but at the same time I’m grateful I had those moments with him and now they are beautiful memories that I’ll have for the rest of my life. 🙂 Warmest regards, Violet

  6. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your personal story about your dad with us here on your blog, Violet. I know it wasn’t easy to write and certainly wasn’t easy to recall all these loving memories. You are a wonderful person that I am glad to call a dear friend and your dad and mom has raised you to be such a loving individual. I don’t know what else to say, but I have the greatest respect for you and love that you have sculpted these experiences into life lessons for us. Thank you again. ❤

    • Hi Karen, writing this post definitely helped me a lot to put things into perspective and I think it’s all part of the grieving process; for me, writing has always been calming for me and helps me to reflect, so in this case, it’s helping me to cope with my grief a bit. Plus, it feels like I’m passing dad’s legacy via writing in my blog space. Thank you for your lovely compliments. 🙂 I’m happy to have met a new supportive and caring dear friend like you! xoxo

  7. Thank you, Violet, for this vividly beautiful tribute to a man who epitomized all that is good about humanity. Although, I knew him through you when he came for parent-teacher interviews, I know him even better now.

  8. So sorry to hear about your loss Violet. What a wonderful post about your lovely Dad. He did indeed have some lessons to teach in the way he lived his life, lessons on whats important, living simply and consciously with respect. I hope you find some comfort in your happy memories of him and that you and your family are doing okay. I am particularly interested in healing through food, and have recently learnt a lot about it on my latest course on Plant Based Nutrition. If you’re ever interested, I can highly recommend it. Thank you for sharing, April

    • Hi April, thanks for stopping by to read about dad, and to contribute here. We are trying to live day by day and are indeed finding comfort in our happy memories of him. 🙂 I would love to learn from you more about healing through food! Sounds extremely interesting and it’s an area I’m very interested in, especially with what my dad went through. Can you please email me at, so we can continue this conversation? Thank you so much for sharing back! 🙂

  9. A beautiful post and loving tribute, Violet. I am sure you were(are) a blessing and source of strength for him too.

    Thanks for not only sharing your experience but letting all of us learn and benefit from your father’s life, legacy, and actions.


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