It’s a New Year.

New (Year's) Resolution
I still can’t believe he is gone.

I would trade my piano for him to come back. I would also push it out the window if it meant an angel, would catch it.

Being sad sucks, but also, I suck at it.

But hey, I’ve become a self-pitying lump in the corner. I’m convinced that I will grow old and die alone with no cats to speak of, and so I’m considering investing in ocean-side real estate while prices are still climbing. At least I’d drown silently in the ocean and not leave a mess for the poor person who has to discover me.

In any case, I tried talking about it. Through text. With three friends. I also called Megz who was at work and we cried together.

Then I thought, if I can talk about it, then it will be real. So I texted almost everyone else, which is, like, four more people.

But no one wants to read about that.

No one wants to read sarcastic, cynical thoughts because I am depressing like that. No.

Readers have approached me saying they thought I was just an earnest girl who played piano all day. Thank you for telling me who I am.

I am falling behind. I’m not doing video, which is a no-no in this age. But right now I’m wearing a hoodie that says Hong Kong and my hair is in a messy ponytail, and if you saw that, you’d run away screaming, “no-no”. So, no video today.

But I have a new favourite song, called “Dancing in the Sky.” When someone close is sick, you slowly get used to it, but it doesn’t become okay. You just get used to the idea.


One thing I’ve been good at in 2015 is having a voice, I think. Here are a few of my favourite articles from the past year:

How to Move Across the World
I packed my bags and moved to Hong Kong.

How to Produce a Music Event
With two months and a team.

Bleed on the Streets of Asia
Alone, but not really.

Top 3 Mistakes that Beginner Pianists Make
Not my favourite topic. But it’s an embarrassing video.

How to Reinvent Yourself
I lost my passport.

Finding your next passion project
You find what you love, by doing it. I produced a design conference.

If you’re having a bad day, read this
Plain and simple.


Okay, this is supposed to be about embracing the real, unchangeable truth.

The truth is that I am too sarcastic to be around these days. It’s depressing. I sit around in my hoodie and sweats, scrolling through my phone. Or watching movies.

The truth is that I’m working on being more authentic online. It bothers me that people think I’m earnest, because earnest is puppy-dog, and that’s boring. I don’t want to be boring.

The truth is that I am getting used to life without my dad. It sucks knowing that he is in a better place but that I can’t see him anymore, because I just want to know how he’s doing.

Yesterday, I collected his belongings from the airport. I don’t know how long it will take for everything to be okay again, and I don’t know how long I’m allowed to keep making excuses.

But for now, I’m going to keep reading. Go to the gym. Get dinner with a friend. And I might film a piano version of Dancing in the Sky. It’s a song about heaven.

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  • Cathy January 23, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Grace, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Mom 2 yrs and 4 mos. ago (not that I’m counting) and, although the pain doesn’t leave, you learn to cope with it. “Dancing in the Sky” was released the day of my Mom’s funeral. When I heard it I cried and cried and couldn’t stop playing it. Now when I hear it I still cry, but I can now smile too when I think of Mom dancing in the sky! It has such special meaning to me, because of the song itself and the particular day it was released. I would love to hear you play this on the piano some day when you are ready! Again, my deepest sympathies to you and your family. Sending big hugs to you!

    • Grace Lam January 30, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      The first time I heard the song, I was touched – somewhere inside, I’m wondering what it’s like in heaven. Thank you, Cathy.

  • Dee Anne McDade January 23, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Hang in there, Grace. I promise it gets easier. I lost my mom to cancer several years ago. Knowing she is in a better place without the pain and suffering of cancer has given me comfort through the years. Lifting you up during this difficult time!

    • Grace Lam January 30, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you, Dee Anne. And to a world where there is no pain nor suffering. xx

  • Mike January 23, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I’m so sorry he’s gone. You just about said that it would happen pretty fast, but I still didn’t think that I’d be getting this email for another month or two. I wish you’d had another month. Heck — I wish you’d been able to postpone this forever.

    It seems fast to me, but to you it was a minute-by-minute experience, and you won’t feel easier about it for a long time. I lost my dad a little while ago, and afterward all I did was think about death; how long I had, how long my friends would last… Every time my brain quieted down, that’s what would be left, and I think that I did it because it would have been even more painful to have thought about just him. I’m not really depressed — that is, I’m not thinking that he’s gone and “oh, what will I do?”, but losing him was… very traumatic. He was the person I could always go to, that I always looked up to, who could always solve my problems, my link to generations past… and now he was gone. It is very, very hard to let go.
    I’ve just started letting go this month. And he died in… 2009. That’s SEVEN years.

    So: you will grow old, but you won’t die alone (or without cats, for heaven’s sake). You really shouldn’t worry about being seen as “earnest” by people you teach piano to; they’ll have to see you in some way, and all they get of you is a few minutes online which is pretty 2-dimensional whatever you do. You can change WHAT they get but you can’t change the 2-dimensonal aspect, so… (shrugs) don’t worry about it.

    You should go out to dinner with a friend, cry a bit, watch movies, go to the gym, read, sleep, and (a bit later) do a project, travel, in short, live life fully. You should remember your dad, and not feel like there is any set time to remember him for, because he’ll always be with you.
    And gradually, you’ll come to remember him without hurting. But that takes a while… and it may be quite a while, and that is OK. Remember: everybody, everybody who has a great dad has to go through this.

    Mike ;)

    • Grace Lam January 24, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      Hey Mike, you made me smile. :) You’re right, that was the kind of dad I had. Thank you.

      P.S. I might just be without cats forever – I’m probably going to pour all their food into a bowl so they can feed themselves, and then when the food is gone, they’d run away. Maybe to my sister, who is better at keeping a schedule.

    • Diana Lam February 7, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      Beautiful …..

  • Maria January 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Just remember honey- however and whatever you need to do to get through this it’s okay. Don’t layer on more hurt by judging yourself.
    Just be.
    Sending love ❤

    • Grace Lam January 30, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      Thank you, Maria. <3

  • eve January 24, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    hello Grace…my mum died on 21st January this year…87…a determined lady who wanted to live forever. so now she is in heaven living her dream. i have tears and laughter remembering my mum… there is nothing wrong with no make up, bad hair days and sleeping when you can…or drinking too much coffee when you can’t.
    grief is different than anything we have experienced before…so we are allowed to allow ourselves to grieve.
    remembering them hurts, seeing them get ill hurts… and having to deal with the arrangements and their possessions also hurts… but knowing they are out of pain helps, but yes of course i miss my mum, and i so want to be able to pick up the phone for a chat and i can’t. my dad is now alone also, so the family and i are popping in the make sure he is coping ok…as he is 85.
    i remember mum and as i was going though her things today with my sister we also had a laugh too recalling those happier times… dad also did this too…we will cry also when it is time…but as with those we have lost in time we do recall the happier times more than the current sadness and loss of them their presence.
    bad hair days is normal, no sleep or little sleep is normal, over thinking and remembering the sad times is normal…….it does hurt but it hurts because i loved my mum and you love your dad.
    give yourself time and give yourself a break…you don’t have to do life until you feel ready to do life…so rest…drink coffee and if you feel so then play piano and if like me you can’t get your head around that then don’t.
    take care grace, i am so with you too, knowing how you feel. eve uk xxx

    • Grace Lam January 30, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      Thank you, Eve. The world needs the strength of those who know what’s right for them. You should see the state of my hair today – I am growing out my bangs. xxx

  • Diana Lam February 7, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    So, how do you get through the pain of losing your loved one …. Your dad? Well, I lost my dad 20 years ago and I still miss him every day. Those moments in my life that he never got to be there for. My wedding, his grandchildren…. Little things…. Big things all missed. I feel cheated and angry sometimes still. Then other times I remember those moments we shared. Simple things and his smile and I smile thinking of him. I hear a song that he loved and remember how his voice sounded when he sang it. How he always called my mom honey and the time he chased the boys away from our house because he thought they were bothering me but really I was just too shy to come to the door! Funny and sad , happy memories… And the pain has gone , but missing him will never leave me. Seeing you going through all of this was and is incredibly hard for me… Because I know how it feels and I want to take away your sadness. I wish I could. Each of us has to make our own way through the pain and hurt and anger to a place where we can just remember. Just know that I am here.