This past Friday was the first anniversary of the passing of Sonny Umpad. I didn’t make the last-minute gathering in Alameda that afternoon, but on Sunday a group of about 20 met for dinner at the New Gold Medal Restaurant, one of Sonny’s favorite eateries in Oakland’s Chinatown.
This was a very informal affair, just friends and students sharing food and catching up on lives, but Sonny’s presence was strong in the room. That’s hard to ignore when that many people come together for no other reason than a connection they share through one source who remains an inspiration for continued personal growth and that of a community. A year ago I wrote about how Sonny’s energy went out into the community when he died, and it’s good to see that this energy has become focused rather than dissipated. That is a special feat in itself.
We didn’t lift a toast Sunday evening, and I’m sure if we’d done so when Sonny was around, he’d have been embarrassed, but not quite speechless. It’s too bad we didn’t meet like this when he was alive, but I can’t say “when he was still with us” because he is.
Late note: As a follow-up to the dinner, there is now a write-up for Sonny on Wikipedia.
Mabuhay ang Sonny Umpad!