Reflections ... in these trying times! (Final Part)
I’ve been told countless times that I was a good daughter. In my heart, I knew that I was not. I failed Daddy in so many ways.
I hadn’t asked for forgiveness while he was still conscious. Finally, I leaned over to him and whispered how much I loved him and how sorry I was for everything. Daddy breathed his last a few seconds after that.
I would like to believe that I was forgiven then, but my heart still lies heavy.
* * *
The passing of a loved one filled us with sorrow but it was also a time for rejoicing. We praised the Lord for His goodness and mercy. Watching him struggle with every breath pained us more than letting him go. We were grateful to God for releasing him from his final agony.
* * *
Tears would fall from his eyes every time I would whisper my promise to him that I’d do what I could to help my sisters. Every mention of his three younger daughters would make Daddy cry. Only then did I start believing that we could still talk to them as they lay dying.
* * *
Daddy told me that he was not afraid to die. I believed him. But he became terrified when he learned that it was going to happen so soon. He pleaded for God to give him more time.
As fluid was being drained from his lung, he sobbed as he felt his breathing becoming easier.
Don’t we all cry for the same?
* * *
I, too, am not afraid of death. But if I could plead with God, I’d asked to be given just enough time to see my only child though as she grows, to be there for her as her heart gets broken for the first time, and guide her as she learns to her stand with her own two feet. When she doesn’t need Mama anymore, I can go.
* * *
There seems to be a quota as to how much fun we could have. Consume that quota early on and we’d start paying for the excesses. Take them in moderation and we might just be able to continue enjoying them through our old age.
Cigarettes, alcohol, fatty foods, sweets … the list can go on and on. The rule stays the same.
* * *
Daddy had a soul mate. Her name is Merle. They never exchanged marriage vows. But watching how she sacrificed for him, took care of his every need, made him feel loved until his last moment … was a humbling experience for me and a lesson on the true meaning of love and devotion … in sickness and in health …
I'll be eternally grateful to her, for in her sturdy arms, Daddy was really and truly loved.
* * *
I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support coming from our beloved relatives and my dear friends. Thank you so much.
To Alex and Irma, for your kindness and generosity, my thanks. To Ma’am Muff Villegas who offered me her friendship and showered me with encouragement and support, I am blessed having found you. To Nicel Avellana, thank you for your prayers. Pau, thank you!
* * *
Tradition dictates that we should not speak ill of the dead … that we should speak of them only in glowing terms.
I chose not to. I talked of Daddy as he really was: an imperfect man. He was just like every one of us, as flawed as every human could ever be.
As a father, he also had his shortcomings. Again, he was just like every other father out there.
For who could ever truly claim to be perfect anyway?
Having said that, I now say that I loved Daddy anyway. We may have had bitter moments together as I lashed at him for his weakness against his vices. But I loved him unconditionally. And he loved us in return.
Flawed as he was, he redeemed himself by being a great father to us. He was the kind of father who would do anything for his family.
Even as he lay gasping for breath in his hospital bed, he still talked about going to Bacolod and Cebu to earn money for his young family.
I remember him telling me, after he was told of his cancer, that just because he had that tumor did not mean that he would stop selling his Noritake chinawares ... that he would go on trying to provide for his family while he still could.
Flawed man, great father. For loving us with all your heart … Thank you, Daddy.