A LETTER TO MY FATHER
Thank you po for all the good times that we had. It’s just a pity that I have forgotten some miscues if we really had some bad times together before. If at all there were instances considered negative, it was more about how I performed badly that I got your attention to correct me. I never even thought that I was chastened by your usual temper. For me, you were only performing that role defined for you by social mores. Your anger was for me more customary than imposed.
Whenever you were invited to join the field trip by your school to Baguio City, you would always include important things in your list to bring along—-jackets, muffler, plates, utensils, water jug, blanket, clothing and me. It was fun and for me, it was like visiting another planet! Never mind if I would sit askance for hours in front of the bus since we were only hangers on but the adventure was replete with colors. The travel was awesome, the heat from the bus engine although nauseating was a complimentary backdrop to an exciting voyage. With you around, everything was fine and breathtaking.
I still could vividly recall your facial expression when you went up the stage during our school convocation to pin a medal on me. It took you a great deal of convincing because you thought that the medal was for somebody else and that there was a mistake somewhere that my name would be called. I also shared your apprehension then. Like you, I also never felt that I deserve recognition. We had a good laugh after that. I even sensed but you were in your best suit that time that you intend to scamper after the event for fear that some people might ran after us for thievery. It never happened anyway. I was the favorite of my class adviser, hence the credit.
You took me to several places and spent a great deal of time introducing me to the best eateries in town. That to me was worth several degrees in the school already. I gained a lot of insights and learned a number of great tasting dishes too. Unfortunately, however, those mouth watering meals would cause your health to deteriorate.
From then on, I would be your constant companion in your regular trek to the emergency room of the hospital. Your internal organs would be subjected to a series of surgical reliefs. Your stomach, liver, gall bladder, intestine, all of them would be affected and reconfigured one after another. I remember during your recuperation that you wish to recommend to your surgeon that your belly should instead be installed with zipper so that if something goes wrong, it could only be zipped down and up. I was always there for you. I never left your bedside every time you go into operation. It was never fun to see you twisting in pain although you would caution me from entertaining thoughts that you were a goner after that. Your courage can be seen with your will power to overcome every physical challenge your ailment would take you.
You were 54 then when your doctor confided to me that your lifespan is good for 5 years only. I confided the same to you and you laughed. After 10 years, your doctor died and you still continued with your teaching duties!
You had a full life. At 86, at the same age of a popular Pope (Pope John Paul) you slept through. I knew that you were about to meet your Creator because of your weakening physical condition but your mind was still sharp and that you can still analyze. You even intend to join me in my provincial sorties although you could no longer stand straight for a couple of minutes. Then, one day, I learned that your mind has blurred and your perceptions became hazy. It was an indication that your mind was about to sign off. For a man who survived the worst—in World War II, during the turbulent Martial Law and the confusing events after EDSA, the relative peace of the succeeding events would beacon on you to retire peacefully. On November, 2008, you silently crossed over.
To my ever dearest Tatay, life goes on and your bloodline remains perpetual and would be there till the end of time.