Years ago, when I was grumbling about studies, the burden of homework and school projects, I remember once you told me that when I grow up, I would have more headache; responsibilities, bosses to please, bills, loans hungry mouths to feed. Today, I am grown up and working. But I feel that the hardest thing of growing up is none of the above, but to cope with the loss of a loved one. Everything has a solution, but there is nothing I can do when I can no longer see, touch or hear a person I love so much.
This would be the second Father’s Day that we would not be celebrating. I used to shop for small presents for you. But, ever since I left home and started working, it would just be a phone call home. I was always thinking that when I have more money I would buy you a big, expensive present. Why didn’t anyone tell me that we should never procrastinate in showing love? Today, I can only envy those who have a dad to shop for.
Our relationship was like a slow running stream. Quiet, simple yet giving. You may not be like the role model fathers I read about, but I would never ever exchange any other father for you. Never.
You had given me everything that I need. I never had to worry about food, shelter, clothing, education or money. Whatever I ask or never asked for, you would provide. Even though I have the means for it, you would still provide. Unconditionally.
You may speak few words to me or you never reach out to hug us. But I never doubt your love for us. But, papa, do you know how much I love you? Our occasional brief hugs were ways to say I love you, but I never verbally did. And it is too late now. Holding your lifeless hand in the room that day, I kept repeating I love you. Could you hear me? Were you still around as some said you would be? It may be irrational, but that was plain desperation. I am sorry that I never express my love to you openly, I am sorry that I never did take care of you and I never could.
When your friends came to pay their last respects, I looked at them, wondering how they fit in your life, some of them I have never met before. But, they were in your life. I hang on to their stories about you; now you are gone, I needed something, anything, to feel you would be still around. But papa, I never knew that you had touched so many people’s life; nor did I know so many people loved and respected you so much. I am so proud of you, and to be your daughter.
A year and half has passed. I am still trying to accept the fact that you would not be around to help me with ideas to furnish my condo; be there to give me away on my wedding day; and my children will never see their maternal grandfather. Friends tell me memories of you will live with me forever, and you would not want me to hurt so much. But, the pain still lingers. And I don’t know how to ease Mom’s loss because I myself can’t come to terms with it.
Wherever you are now papa, I pray that you are better there. We will be ok here. It is just a phase in life. I know. I do know.
Happy Father’s Day, papa. Thank you, papa, thank you for everything.