Uncle Lee (1926-2015)

Added on by Annie Ling.

When my Aunt Helen phoned me last week to say her husband had passed away from his long struggle with cancer, I traveled to Houston to be with her. For the past seven years, Helen was a devoted nurse and caretaker, never leaving his side when she wasn't working full-time as a drapery seamstress.

Lee lived a storied life and traversed the globe as a camera man working for Chinese TV stations. He loved to be in front of the camera however, just about as much as he loved working behind it. Enlarged photographs of Lee in his element hang on nearly every wall in every room at their home. I had spent a year living at this house when I was ten-years-old. Twenty years later, not much about this place has changed besides the notable addition of some memorabilia from the few vacations they've since taken together—personalized decorative plates from a floating market in Thailand; an Elvis wall clock from Nashville. The quintessential foil to my more introverted aunt, Lee was vivacious and outspoken with an enduring child-like enthusiasm and curiosity. 

Below are some images from my visit with them last summer, shortly before Uncle Lee could no longer speak or stand. Last time I saw him, he was eager to tell tales and share photographs from his youth. Then I remember a long silence, as he stared into his collection of memories. This afternoon, my aunt and I will bid a final tribute to her companion and remember him for the way he was, before his illness overtook him.