Traces Of Life

After Hong Yu-chan’s death in the fourth episode of “Vincenzo,” there’s this scene in which his empty law firm is shown along with some little details that indicate some traces of his life: the cigarette butts carelessly piled in the dusty ashtray, his disorganized desk, his house slippers clumsily positioned on the floor, and all the notes and important reminders posted on the wall.

Having read thousands of books about death, having watched god-knows-how-many series and movies in which someone dies, and having heard of first-hand accounts from individuals about people close to them dying, I know these things aren’t just mere objects now.

I never had the luxury of seeing things as such after my father died almost 15 years ago. We didn’t live under the same roof and we were basically strangers to each other, despite our numerous attempts at being close as father and daughter. And although his passing devastated me in more ways than I could ever imagine, I never really felt the kind of void such objects usually leave. I didn’t get a chance to see how messy he had left some parts of his room, perhaps thinking he could still do something about them some other time. I didn’t get a chance to find strands of his hair on the floor. I didn’t get a chance to sense a whiff of his smell while revisiting his closet.

Such things would have broken my heart into even smaller pieces, but I still wish I got to experience them. I wish I had an opportunity to exist within the same space where traces of him and his life and all his messy glory lingered, even just a couple more days, so at least I could feel his presence a bit longer. They could have given me more things to hold on to.

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