On December 17, 2011 we received our best Christmas gift yet; when his angiogram showed his heart was well. That jumpstarted a good 2012 since my sister and her family will be home again by April. It was the last time we will all be together.
Starting July, he has been going in and out of the hospital and it was in September 2012 when the doctor at the Lung Center told us Tatay has stage IV lung cancer. Four months later, on January 5, 2013 at 10:25AM he left us; merely a week away from his 74th birthday.
That was after I fed him Milo using a medicine dropper. I left him so mother can feed him water. Just in time, my brother came in and so they turned him on his side so they can powder his back (to prevent bed sore). It was then that he made his last breath.
I rushed back to their room as soon as I heard them crying. I thought I readied myself for this day. But I think no matter how much one think she’s strong enough, one will never be ready. For the nameless pain that you will feel down your gut that it makes you tremble and just cry until you’re all dried up.
Seeing a tear in my father’s left eye, I cried again. I felt guilty leaving him. I felt I haven’t done enough. I felt I didn’t pray hard enough. It’s a pain that I never know I can feel in this lifetime. Though we never deluded ourselves that he will be back in his old shape, there was hope that maybe he’ll stay with us longer. Or maybe I want him to stay for selfish reasons. Because I can’t bear losing a father. Not seeing him everyday or receiving a text from him asking what time I’ll be home is something difficult to get used to.
And it doesn’t help that every single thing we see in the house reminds us of him: his place in the dining table; the cds; how he cooks adobo and sinigang na tanguige; and even in the leaky faucet because he’s just the all-around guy. Very few men these days know what my father knows around the house. He may not have finished school, but he sure is street smart. Ibang klase.
I will miss everything about this guy. His vanity with his hair and nails, his sarcasm, his humor and stories of his youth. We sorely miss him but we take consolation in the thought that wherever he is now, he can breathe without chasing his breath; he can walk with his usual gait; he is his healthy self again. So who am I to take that away from him? It hurts to let him go but letting him go may just as well be saying ” I love you”.
We appreciate the huge turnout, especially last Sunday, as it meant people care that our father passed away. But we were so overwhelmed and underprepared (with just nibbles and drinks to offer) and for that, please accept our apologies for not tending to all of you well enough.
To relatives and friends who helped us during the three-day wake until my father’s cremation, THANK YOU will never be enough to tell you how much we appreciated what you have done for our family at this difficult time.
To those who– posted words of kindness on FB & Twitter; offered prayers, mass cards & ‘abuloy’; called me; cooked for us/brought us food without us asking it of them; came as soon as they knew; went straight from their shifts; live so far from Marikina or came from their vacation and went straight to Loyola; have never even met my father and yet went out of their way to see him– I won’t mention names; you know who you are and our family is just so grateful and overwhelmed. Maraming salamat.