Grace Loh Prasad was born in Taiwan and raised in New Jersey and Hong Kong before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her MFA in creative writing from Mills College and is an alumna of the VONA workshop for writers of color along with residencies at Hedgebrook and the Ragdale Foundation. Her essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Longreads, Catapult, Jellyfish Review, Ninth Letter, Blood Orange Review, Memoir Mixtapes, The Manifest-Station, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and The Rumpus, and she is a contributor to the anthology Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity and Coming to America. She is also a member of The Writers Grotto and frequently curates and participates in Bay Area literary readings with Seventeen Syllables, an Asian American writers collective. She is finishing “The Translator’s Daughter,” a memoir.
Excerpt from “Teddy”
Many people call this breed 老夫子狗 “lao fuzi gou” which means “old master dog” or “old scholar dog” because of its conspicuous white beard and eyebrow which gives it a thoughtful and serious expression. So of course this is the perfect dog for me, a lifelong scholar.
I named him Teddy after my son Ted, who died four months ago.
My dear wife Lucy doesn’t really like the puppy, but she doesn’t object to it either. We’ve been married for almost 40 years. Ten years ago Lucy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and she barely talks anymore.
She didn’t come with me to Ted’s funeral. She can’t travel anymore, and what would have been the point? Even if I explained to her that our son had died, she would not understand or remember it, and it would only compound my grief to have to tell her over and over to no avail. I guess it’s better in a way that she doesn’t realize Ted is gone.
Excerpt from Statement
My older brother Ted was hospitalized in September 2010 after chemotherapy and an experimental surgery failed to defeat his aggressive liver cancer. I made an emergency trip to Bangkok to see him one last time and pleaded with my dad, who lived in Taiwan, to join me. My dad almost didn’t come because he was ailing from Parkinson’s and had a lot of mobility issues, plus my mom was deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s and needed 24-hour care at home. In the end I convinced him to come. My dad arrived in Bangkok first, chaperoned by my cousin, and I arrived a day later—but it was already too late. Ted passed away while I was en route, and the purpose of my trip changed from saying goodbye to attending a funeral.
A few months later, I found out from my aunt on Facebook that my dad had adopted a small puppy and named him Teddy, after my brother. I was horrified—it felt strange and wrong to name a pet after my brother, not to mention highly impractical for my dad to get a puppy in his advanced age and poor health. But it was too late to talk him out of it.