I Am My Father’s Daughter

A higher power must have discerned I have been sheltered from an inescapable reality for so long. It has decided it’s about time.

January 1, 2013; 5:48 am: a few hours after my son and I watched the fireworks from the glass windows of Philippine Heart Center,  the nurse alerted me that my father’s heartbeat had gone flat.

And I used to think I already have an idea what unspeakable sorrow feels like..

Everything started to turn more surreal.
The despair has started its task in crucifying me.

I have deeply cherished only two people in my life. One of them is gone for good. Now I keep on asking myself, “What am I without my father around?” I have gotten so used to having his presence in my life. His being there, even when he is just lying on his bed.

Will this immense pain ever let up? And is there even someone in my family who is grieving as much as I do?
But I already know the answer to that.

No one is ever at ease in dealing with the lamentable realities of life. Who wants to talk about dying? Nobody really wants to have anything to do with suffering and death. Our realm of temporal existence is exclusively for the strong, the young, the religious, and the well-resourced – none of which my father belongs to. Let’s face it. Most people are happy to connect with you only for so long as you can give them something to smile about. And I completely get it. Because I am one of those people.

All these years, I have been absorbed in my own pathetic little world that has provided me with excuses to put some distance from it all. Coping with the challenges of being a single parent, my child’s health concerns – not to mention mine (mostly imagined), even my struggle with sleeping difficulties, plus the several “distractions” – have all prevented me from doing more for the person who has done and given me the most. Besides, the fact that my father had entrusted my elder sister with the authority to make every decision for the whole family, and a caretaker gets to attend to his needs, had given me reasons to surmise my presence wasn’t that necessary. My absence wouldn’t make a huge difference anyway – especially knowing that my elder sister and his favorite granddaughter had always been foremost in his mind and heart. I guess I came up with certain alibis that I held on to so I could get on with my life, and without having to face the dysfunctional relationships, resentments, and complications within the family.

I know, too, that he loves me. My father and I simply love each other. Throughout our good and bad times, the affection has always been there. My loyalty to him remains unquestionable.  In the last years of his life, he had acknowledged me as the best among his children. I know he meant it, though I am not sure it was fitting. Hearing that never failed to make me happy. That was enough for me.

It has been a long goodbye. When he started reaching his late 80s, I began to think maybe I’d be able to accept his departure when the time comes. Such a fool of me to have thought that way. How come I am dying inside now?

I tried to reassure myself that I’d be able to deal with it when the inevitable happens. Or perhaps he could hold on a bit longer.. just like he had been able to do for the past 25 years. My father is that strong. We are the invincible type anyway. My father and I. There’s always been this noble regard for our surname akin to a most priceless jewel that must be passed on through generations. Strong, disciplined, incorruptible, always true to our words. *Oh dear father, I can never have your indomitable will and strength.*

Neither of us is willing to accept the frightening concept of death. That’s why he fought so hard not to give in to it, while I did my best to shoo it away from my mind.
Until he started getting tired of fighting. And he began drowning himself with tiny shots of alcohol – which had been excruciating for me to watch. He had started to give up and was ready to go down. For reasons I myself never understood, my visits became fewer, too.

Never having had to deal with this kind of thing before, I chose to postpone facing up to the truth that the end is getting nearer. If I dwelt on what’s happening to the person I love dearly, I’d be crawling in desperation day and night. And so I begged fate to let me stay in my pleasant state for a while longer, no matter how superficial or mythical it is. Why does this have to happen just when life seems to be getting better for me? I want to be spared still from the misery of finally letting my father go. Please don’t let me drown in sorrow yet. Let me handle the dreadful side of life a little later – when I am more prepared. I have waited so long for this much serenity to nestle beside my being. Why does it have to leave so soon?
Besides, I am darned busy.

For the main reason that I found it so hard to sort out and deal with my circumstances, I could barely spend time with my father during the last months of his life.

Yes, I’ve been a selfish bastard..


Lying in his hospital bed, I look at my father and realize how very handsome he is. And just how much I love him so.

My father’s condition is deteriorating fast. It’s clearer than ever. Nobody could save him anymore. There’s nothing else that could prolong his earthly existence. In recent years, he had been repeatedly expressing his exhaustion for holding on. I honestly wasn’t sure if I would agree with him or not. All I know is that the man I have always adored has been fading away fast. Time has ceased to be on our side. The cold fact there’s nothing I could do to soothe his fears and ease his suffering is devastating.

December 20, 2012: It was morning at work when I received a text message from my brother informing me my father had had his 2nd heart attack in one week. He never regained consciousness – until the time of his clinical death on the dawn of New Year’s Day.

The evening before, he smiled at me as we said “I love you” to each other. He also mumbled something like I am the child he loves the most. Then he looked at me in a somber way. I nodded at him and it was my turn to give him a smile. Little did I know it was the moment of our final goodbye.
I did my best to be with him each day in the hospital while he was still breathing – though unconscious. And I was present during the wake and burial. Two facts have resurfaced in my awareness once again. I detest hospitals and funerals. Hospitals make me uncomfortable. Funerals still scare me.

He was brought to his final resting place at Loyola Memorial Park on Monday, January 7, 2013.


He’s on my mind all the time these days. Certain memories pop up suddenly and they consume my thoughts and emotions from the moment I open my eyes in the morning until I close them to sleep at night. You can say I am taking it hard. No matter what I do, I am left with the misery of not having him around anymore; not to mention the guilt of not having done much for the person I owe my life to. How can I beg for his forgiveness now?

I try to go through the motions of my everyday routine, but my very essence has been sobbing in anguish. I never thought grief could become this unbearable. That guilt could be this capable of overwhelming  me so. In an emotional place where no one could reach, I am clearly deserving of every pain that’s now slaying my soul.

I am my father’s daughter. He will live on inside me and I vow to love him with everything in my heart, until the moment I, too, get to breathe my last.

October Babe Musings (Setting A Place for the Unexpected Guest)

It’s been a while, yes. I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write something in spite of a few notions and bits of sentiments that have been hovering on my mind. Blog reading has eaten into a good deal of my time here instead. But at least, *voila!* I managed to put up a new page enumerating some nuggets of info about yours truly titled “Pocket Facts Tangential to my Existence.” It’s been fun doing it and I hope to add more items to the list as time goes by.

My desire to elevate my proficiency and keep my edges sharp remains strong. I’m actually trying to brush up on my [non-existent] punctuation skill these days. Why haven’t I taken care of that before? But you know, this thing with grammar and vocabulary and idioms is already an interminable struggle for me. How else could I manage to squeeze in punctuation? Oh sometimes I wish I were an English major. (See, I’m even trying to come up with an excuse now. :-))

A lot has taken place this month. My maternal grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 92. A first death in the family. It had been unexpected, to me at least, as I’ve always thought my mom’s blood relatives would all live up to become centenarians. Durable genes they’ve got I believe. Astonishing.

On another note, my cellphone – where I’d kept the majority of my back-up files: photos, music, and most importantly, tender messages from my son, close pals and uh, former “special” someones (yes I had treasured a few sweet tiny missives; being a sentimental *silly* fool that I am) – got snatched while I was on my way to a 7-11 store a month ago. Absorbed in texting my brother, I forgot I was passing by an unfamiliar territory, which made it so easy for a dyed-blond haired teen-age boy to grab my phone and then race across the busy highway. All I managed was a short shriek. As I was watching him gradually disappear from my sight, it got me thinking woefully of tons and tons of recorded memories that consequently vanished into thin air. Just like that.

A couple of weeks later, my computer suddenly went black and blank which, according to my son, meant it had manifested the “Blue Screen of Death”. Much like a kiss of death?!
Here’s the thing: As my main repository, my computer has got everything, as in all my files; with no more back-up after the cellphone loss. Which means I’ve totally no files left in my possession except for the very few ones I uploaded on FB.
Double->triple Ouch!
I know, I know, it could only be my fault. No need to give me that look.

Oh the-hell-well..

That leads me to my true subject for this post: One of the most compelling lessons I’ve learned in my magazine readings in recent years has been our willingness in life “to set a place for the unexpected guest.” Man, we better make sure not only the chairs are damn sturdy as this certain guest could bring something that either make you jump for joy or bring you down to your knees. And it got me thinking, how come unwelcome guests always outnumber the ones I am willing to greet with open arms? Nothing truly spectacular has happened in my life, so it should follow that nothing earth shattering should take place as well, right? Right?

No denying quite a few of the unexpected guests have brought me pretty swell gifts. Quite several in fact I’m so grateful for them. Come to think of it, would you gladly welcome someone holding a pin that might threaten your bubble? And who wouldn’t want uninterrupted calm in their lives?

When things start to overwhelm, there’s this tendency for me to either fall apart or turn away. Either mode, I have to go look for the light, even if I have to trudge or crawl. I will be letting the sharpest rays of the light pierce through my hand until I feel no more pain. With only a wound to show for it, I’ll begin the process of careful tending so that it may heal soon completely.

This is how I want to feel all the time. Do I envy her.

Even so, I do my best to be happy. I want to be happy. I’ll choose to be happy in spite of whatever circumstance I find myself in. How can I choose not to? Some people wonder if it’s possible. I’m not sure really. I am not hoping to turn myself into some kind of Pollyanna here. I never was in the first place. Though once in a while I’ve got to remind myself; if people who have much less than I do could genuinely be contented, who am I not to adopt the same disposition? Besides, I can really be happy in small ways.

There’s a considerable exception here. That of losing the people very dear to my heart, which reminds me of one dearest person: My father. Each visit to him is like a jolt of reality.. in clear attestation that I’m about to lose him soon. Very soon. I may be ready, or I may be not. Time will tell.

The world of blogging, through my passive participation by reading, is keeping me good company these days. Quite glad about that. It’s been an alternate dimension I can easily hop into at a mere click of a key. Since this blog should mean to serve as a residence for my memories, reflections, convictions, and whatnot, there’s this probability I might have been overthinking things and letting waves of sentimentality wash over me when I wrote this. But then, that’s what this site is here for. I’ve not much desire to come up with world-changing platforms or thundering essays to prove my writing or smarts facility. Neither do I wish to align myself with the consummate bloggers I kind of worship around here. I’m way way way too out of their league, yet. For all I know, even my current “supposed” moderate competence is purely mythical. Is that okay with me? Not really. Each and everyone of us longs to become better and better in our craft. Therefore, I am gunning for hope and effort combined.

More than anything else, I simply want to write my heart out – regardless of cohesion, manner, or my written dexterity in this blog of mine. To be able to merely jot down my every damn thought. Well, almost everything. That would be quite ideal.. for the meantime.

[By the way, how am I doing with my punctuation, hm?]

So, what do I do when the next unexpected guest comes and takes the seat right next to me? I could only hope he’s a very handsome male with lovely dark blue eyes that I’d thoughtfully recognize from out of time..  Boy, would I look straight into those eyes and tell him, “Oh please, do spare me.”

Glad my blog is still here for me, after all.