It’s past 3 am and I was woken up by a bad dream. I’m thinking of happy thoughts so I can go back to sleep. One of my happy thoughts is my dad who is in heaven now. But thinking about him, although they are happy memories, makes me sad.
His 2013 birthday celebration. A year before he went to heaven.
Did you know that he went to heaven on his birthday? We were in the hospital for a week and since he can’t go back home yet, we were thinking of doing a mini celebration together with his nurses. We’re planning to buy cake, balloons, ice cream. Of course, I have to order noodles for long life. But just after 5 am, after telling my sister, Jem, to take a nap and it’s already my ‘shift’ to take care of him, it was the start of my different life. A life without my father.
He was already bedridden here but can’t help but be wacky
My shift started just the usual. He was breathing heavily but I know he’s asleep. I will check on him every few minutes while I try to tidy up the room and make some mental notes of what we need that day. I will stop from time to time from what I’m doing to kiss him and whisper that I love him.
All of a sudden, without any warning, he gasped. I immediately stood up, went beside his bed, held his hand and was contemplating of waking up Jem or calling the doctor. He took another very long breath and then that’s it. And I was thinking ‘What just had happened?’. You see, I don’t know death. There are many close relatives who passed away but I was not personally on their bedside to see them go. One of the things that me and Jem were doing while in the hospital was researching about last stages of life. We’re reading for signs that death is approaching. I know it’s morbid but we thought it’s better to be prepared than be caught off guard. In a way, I also want to find ways on how to make it easier for my dad. I’m sparing you the details of what we had researched but it’s not good. It’s scary, it’s sad, and it’s something that you don’t want to happen.
So after seeing my dad taking his last breath, which I still didn’t know that time since I was expecting a more intense and gory scene (based on my research), I woke up my sister.I told her what happened and I can’t recall if it’s me or her who called the nurses but after a few minutes, the nurses came, checked on dad’s vital, strapped him on a device, and then declared that he’s dead.
WOW! That’s it? The 10 months of suffering is over? The bedsore and the pain is gone but the flipside is we will not see him again. NEVER. I didn’t cry that time. My leadership quality kicks in and I knew I have lots of things to do. Informing my mom (who was at home that time), my siblings, organizing the funeral, settling the bills. Grieve can come later.
Two years have passed but I don’t think I have reached the full acceptance. It may never come but it is fine. I am always scared that time may come that I won’t remember his face. I hope it won’t happen. After my father’s death, one thing I’ve noticed about myself is I have more empathy to someone who lost their parent. Until you lose one, you will never know how it feels. I also want to give the best to my mom and parents-in-law. My motto now is always seize the moment.
Here’s my eulogy on my dad’s funeral. It is in Tagalog and I am sorry for my non-Filipino readers but I can’t translate it now.
“On behalf of my mother, mga kapatid ko, mga tito at tita ko, at ng buong pamilya gusto ko pong magpasalamat sa lahat ng nandito ngayon at lahat ng dumalaw sa lamay ng father namin. Gusto po namin kayo anyayahan sa ika 40 days ng father namin sa April 2 sa ming bahay.
Siguro po maalala nyo ang father ko as palabiro at makulit na kapitbahay. Isang maasahan at masayahin na kaibigan. At sa pamilya namin, habambuhay namin na maaalala sya as masunurin at mabait na kapatid, maalagang tito, napakamapagmahal na asawa at higit sa lahat responsable, loving at napakabait na tatay.
My dad, through example, also teaches us kung paano magmahal at mag respeto ng kapatid. Nakita ko po yung pagmamahalan ng pamilya at kung gaano ka importante yung closeness ng family. Kaya ngayon na may sarili na kaming pamilya, gusto ko po na magaya namin ang closeness ng mga tito at tita ko kze alam ko kung gaano kaimportante yun sa daddy ko.
Sa mga kaibigan ng daddy, gusto ko pong ipaalam sa inyo at alam kong alam nyo naman na mahal na mahal kayo ni daddy. Kapag may sakit kayo, walang ibang bukambibig kung hindi tulungan kayo at ipagdasal. Salamat po for always being there for him. Hindi nyo po sya iniwan.
I always tell my dad noong malakas pa sya na maswerte kami kze sya po ang naging tatay namin. Alam ko kung gaano kahirap malayo sa pamilya pero tiniis nya yun para po mabigyan kami ng maayos na buhay. Tiniis nya yung lungkot, yung pagod, yung homesickness para sa nanay ko at sa aming magkakapatid. Hindi po siguro namin mararating yung kung anoman kami ngayon kung hindi nagsumikap ang tatay namin. And habambuhay po ako magiging grateful bcoz of that.
Daddy, as i told you, you will always be remembered. Iku-kwento namin ikaw sa mga apo mo at magiging apo pa. As mommy promised, gagawin pa rin nya yung mga dati nyong ginagawa. You have showed us kung gaano maging mapagmahal na kapatid, at gagawin namin yun sa isat isa.
Meron tayong mga tampuhan, pero alam ko na naayos natin lahat bago ka pa magkasakit. Nakakapanghinayang lang na maiksing panahon mo lang na enjoy yung prutas ng pinaghirapan mo. Pero siguro bilang isang mabuting ama, malaman mo lang na ok kami, masaya ka na.
You will forever be missed dad. We love you forever.
This post almost brought me to tears :'( I just lost my grandfather last year and it’s the most painful heartbreak I have experienced. On the other hand, I also know that he is now at peace and pain free in heaven. 🙂
That’s the only thing that lessens the sadness, the thought that he is now at peace and pain free 🙂
Father’s impact our lives in so many ways. They cheer us on as they hold the back seat of the bicycle while we pedal for the first time without training wheels. They’re there with a baseball or football for a game of catch in the yard, a solid piece of advice when your car breaks down, the perfect dad joke. Their support means the world to us. Yet, for some of us it’s a bit more complicated. If your father wasn’t really in the picture or your home life didn’t fall into the normal stereotype, you can grieve the loss of a father long before his actual passing. But either way, the passing of a father is hard. It draws out feelings we often didn’t even know were there and the grieving process can often feel long. Give yourself time and patience to feel whatever bubbles up to the surface during this time. Use a journal to process the memories you have of your loved one, any regrets, and any lingering anger or resentment. Meditating on any of these quotes will help you go deeper into honoring the memory of your father and his impact on your life. It’s during this period of time that family and friends will be the most important part of the healing process. Lean into your support system and let them care for you. Each day will get easier, and you will know you get to carry the memory and legacy of your father forward in the way you love and care for others.