Daddy died 17 days ago. It has been two long weeks for us but it’s a mutual decision to make it so because obviously, it’s going to be our last time with him.
I managed to get all my thoughts, as they rushed through me, conveniently written down in my diary. I can’t claim to be completely okay but after saying my prayers, “talking” to Daddy before he’s laid to rest, after re-reading my diary entries, I think many of my personal issues were sorted and compartmentalized. I’m doing fine. I guess most of us are.
Daddy, of course, is not perfect. He’s not the easiest person to deal with. However, I know that he loved all of us in different ways he thought possible. With everything that was said and done, I can tell anyone right this moment that this is still the life I would choose if I’m given a chance to live again. Seriously. This isn’t the “ideal” set-up but everything that I am now, I owe to the life Daddy gave me.
I got the call from a niece just as I was having my reading time. I guess it’s true for anyone who receives a news of death of an immediate family— everything blurs and you just want to hear it again, hoping somehow that you heard it wrong the first time. Anyway, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions, from breaking the news to my other siblings, to seeing him at the morgue, to talking to him in my mind as I looked at him in the casket whenever I get the chance, to all the rush of tears during the interment mass, and to finally telling him to rest in peace as the casket was finally closed.
My sister kept on saying that it’s all water under the bridge, whenever we both recover from “losing it” for a while with thoughts of our respective if onlys. It’s true. It’s not easy to accept but God called Daddy on that fateful night, and he is better off with Him. Maybe what made it harder to accept was the fact that he’s not sick as in sick— yes, he complained about “normal” pains brought by old age, but he was stronger than most of his younger siblings, cousins and friends. Either that, or he’s feeling something but ignored it, as his tolerance for pain (and stubbornness, perhaps?) was quite high (something I inherited!). Oh well, it’s all done and I know he’s in a better place, and he’s conveniently watching us as we go on with our lives.
What has been eating me especially on the first few nights was my guilt of not spending more time with him. No excuse would ever be sufficient so I won’t even try giving one. That’s why I kept on saying sorry to him. I really cried after meeting people I don’t even know, or seeing relatives I haven’t seen for so long, when they all immediately recognized me because Daddy has always bragged about me. He was not keen on making you feel he’s proud of you when you’re around. That’s why the effect of all the people telling me, “Palagi kang ipinagmamalaki sa amin ng Daddy mo. Yung picture mo sa wallet nya lagi nyang pinapakita sa amin.” was so much. There I was, complaining about the supposed sorry state in my professional life, yet there he was, proudly telling people about his visa assistant daughter as if she’s the ambassador. More than sorry, I never got the chance to say “Thank you” when he’s still with us. Sure, I gave him stuff and made him feel, in my own little way, that this is what and where I am now. Sadly, I only had about two years, and worse, only a few real moments in those two years, to make him feel that.
In between tears, I told him that I will try everything I can to live up to the things that he told people about me— he believed in me, and saw something that I’ve been ignoring the whole time, because probably, I was too stupid wanting more than what I have. I am going to continue loving my siblings, and everyone special to him. I think all of us will do that.
On a lighter matter, I jokingly told him that I won’t be able to introduce his future son-in-law (whoever he will be). He won’t be able to give him a hard time, as a typical father-protective-of-his-youngest-child would. I always imagined scenes of him walking me down the aisle, him holding my first born, and teaching my future children his (super) corny tricks and expressions. With what happened, I guess he’ll just watch over me from up there.
I already told him what my heart feels. For now, I just want him to enjoy his new journey. It’s been a wonderful life he had here on Earth. Anecdotes of him, positive or otherwise, will live with us and they would all be wonderful memories that we will keep on going back to whenever we think of him.
So long, Daddy. I love you very much. ♥