First off, thank you. I thank you and my family thanks you for all the love and support. It’s been hard on all of us.
His passing was a shock. There is no avoiding the pain.
It is deep
… and dark, this pain. This loss.
But all your love and support has sheltered us.
It’s hard to describe how your support has helped us.
It’s been humbling.
Your hugs, kind words, and contributions.
The flowers, the food, the donations, are all greatly appreciated. And we cannot thank you enough.
My father loved all of you.
He loved seeing you succeed and thrive.
He loved having you part of his journey through life.
His happiest times were spent surrounded by you all. I can’t help but think about how happy he would be to see how you’ve all come together for him,
and for us.
From the depths of my heart and from my family, we thank you.
ABOUT MY FATHER
I’m Lin Chear. My father was Han Chear. I just wanted to say a few words about him and what he meant to me, what he meant to my family and what he meant to all of us.
It’s really hard to sum up his life in a few minutes when he did so many things, and went through so much. He had a long tough journey. From fleeing the civil war in Cambodia,
becoming a refugee in Thailand,
migrating to Canada,
raising a family…
surviving a horrific car crash, battling and conquering cancer.
My words are only an echo of an echo, of my father’s life story.
It’s just impossible to condense my fathers life in such a short time, I can only begin to scratch the surface. But I’ll try….
My father… He seemingly knew how to do everything.
My father could fix anything, build anything. Solve anything. He could speak English, French, and Khmer. Three more languages than I could speak.
More often than not, you could find him in the garage, fixing and tinkering with the car. If he wasn’t there, maybe he was in the basement sewing a dress for my mom. Or my cousins.
Or you could find him in the green house, the one he designed and built himself. You could find him in there tending to his plants he grew from seed. He grew oranges and pineapples in Canada. Literally pineapples in the middle of winter.
Maybe he’d be in the kitchen, cooking a turkey for thanksgiving
or baking zucchini bread or muffins. He was smart, clever, he was resourceful.
He seemed to know everything. He could do everything.
He was hardworking. He worked 6 to 7 days a week for years, putting in overtime hours whenever he could to provide for his family. He spent most of that time driving 2 hours each day.
I spent a few years working alongside him as a summer student,
and I remember asking him how he could make those long drives each day. He said the summer time scenery was beautiful and if you imagine hard enough, it was almost like driving through the countryside in Cambodia.
Even on his one precious day off, he probably spent it in the garage fixing his car,
or maybe a friend’s car,
or maybe some other household project.
He always found something to do.
He was generous with his time.
He was willing to help the people around him.
There were countless times he would be at his friends house, helping build a porch, a patio or any number of things.
He wouldn’t hesitate to help you if you had something to fix. He was willing to help explain things.
Help people understand and deal with documents,
He was there to help fix problems. He was the man you went to if you had a problem and just needed advice.
He loved spending time with his friends, family and grandchildren. He loved playing with the grandchildren.
Indulging in their games.
Chasing them around the house.
Having them crawl all over him. He embraced his life here.
Taking us fishing, boating, snowmobiling, skating, playing hockey.
He loved sharing those moments with the people around him.
He wanted us all to have those experiences. He wanted us all to succeed. Not just his children, but all of us.
He was strong. My father survived the horrors of war. The struggles along a tough road to freedom.
He survived a car crash. I was in university when my father was involved in a severe car crash. His car had no airbags. His lungs collapsed.
Broken sternum. He went through 2 hard years of physiotherapy.
I remember seeing his lunch box in the car. Inside. The apples and oranges, all smashed. My father survived that.
He went through 2 painful years of rehab.
Fighting to walk again. Never once did I hear him complain about how much pain he was in.
He didn’t want his pain to be our burden.
He eventually overcame that and walked again.
You would never know he was in that crash. Later on, he was diagnosed with cancer. He survived that. Cancer wasn’t tough enough.
One time, at night, we were camping.
We thought we heard a bear in the forest.
While everyone ran to the car for safety, my dad picked up a small hatchet and ran into the woods, like he was going to fight the bear right then and there. Yeah, my dad was tough.
My father was deeply caring.
Having gone through the refugee crisis in Cambodia, working for the UN High Commission for Refugees in the Thai refugee camps, he knew the suffering that people went through.
I remember as a kid, we were watching the Ethiopian famine unfold. He was heartbroken witnessing the suffering.
We were fresh refugees ourselves,
but he waited for the toll free number to come on
so he could write it down and donate whatever little we had.
It broke his heart to see the current refugee crisis unfold in Ukraine. He reminded us that we were in their exact position.
Bystanders of war. Struggling together on their journey.
Looking for safe refuge and a future.
He reminded us that we should care, because we were them.
My father was a grateful man. He was grateful for all that Canada and Canadians have given us.
The life we were able to have.
From huddling in the rain
under a plastic tarp
in a muddy field
in the Thai refugee camps,..
to being, able to provide for his family
in the safety and prosperity of this beautiful country. He was grateful for the life he was given.
Years ago, he told me, he lived a happy life,
And told me he was at peace with his journey.
He said he felt fortunate,
He said he made the most of what he was given
and did not look back in regret.
He was absolutely grateful for all of you.
His death hit us all like a ton of bricks.
The shock, grief and despair, the darkness and sadness is heavy and raw.
But every hug, every kind word, every phone call, helps lift us up…. It reminds me to be grateful for all of you.
For everyone…. Because as my dad would say, “the struggles along the road may be tough, but with each other we will make it.”