Charles and his trademark grin
Today is the 34th birthday of my dear childhood friend, Charles Hwa. Unfortunately, like so many other birthdays he celebrated, surrounded by friends and family, today we’re mourning his passing. Over Memorial Day weekend, he collapsed on a basketball court in Beijing while playing a pickup game with friends.
It just seems completely impossible that Charles is no longer with us. Vibrant and full of laughter and life, Charles was the kind of person who was hard to miss; people who met him never forgot his outsized personality. I certainly never have. I have known Charles for as long as I can remember. Our families were one of a handful of Chinese-Americans in Greenville, South Carolina, where we grew up. He and his sister, Vivian, were my very first friends, and through them I have been lucky enough to know what it means to have a lifelong friendship.