I’m not really a morning person. These days, I find it more difficult than usual. It has been nine days since my father passed and everyday when I wake up I am reminded of my loss. A gaping hole in my chest that I only knew of from reading novels and watching movies is now very real to me. I knew losing someone was hard, I didn’t know it would be this hard. As i’ve told many of my friends who sympathized during the wake, losing a parent was like losing a limb. I can feel I am incomplete. I am fatherless.

At 62, he has lost his battle with Parkinsonism. Sparing you from all the hospital horrors we’ve been through for the past 4 months, i’d like to share how he was in real life.

papa 1

He was a pain in the ass – short tempered, impatient, strict, thinks he’s right most of the time, and a stickler for rules. I wouldn’t blame him really, he did have a difficult childhood. Growing up, he got beaten up, spent his early teenage years away from his family, and in order to go to school he had to work at a sugarcane farm. He would tell me and my brother this story when we whine about “our difficult life”. Eventually, he entered the military, got married, had two kids.

He was a hands-on dad. He’d be the one to send me to school on his bike and during my bad clingy pre-school days he would bring a stick and threaten me with a spanking if I don’t get inside the classroom. Yes, I was that kid. I outgrew that thankfully and became this school-loving achiever. I would beam with pride when my father would attend school functions in his blue Philippine Air Force uniform.

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When the angsty teenage years happened, I wanted to trade in my curfew-loving father for a way cooler dad who would let me attend parties and go out till late on school nights. But he was not like that. He knew the importance of teaching responsibility and the value of hard work. There was no sleeping in on weekends and chores were a must. I thought I could cry my way out of it but the water works do not apply. At all.

My father thought that we should learn things the way he did. The hard way. When i was younger, I hated him for it but now looking back sometimes the best lessons we learn are the lessons we learn the hard way.

papa 2

In the last 10 years, he was a retiree who enjoyed drinking his morning coffee or tea, answered crossword puzzles, did some gardening, baby sat the dogs, and even drove me around if I needed it. The scary soldier we all knew became this cool lolo who was more chill and easy to talk to. He constantly took care of my meals (like he always does coz my mom’s cooking is very limited to spaghetti & eggs) and other handy man things around the house.

We were never really the affectionate type but he had his ways of showing his love. Whatever he lacked in words he made up for in action. When he was around, there were no busted lightbulbs, leaking sinks, clogged toilets, untrimmed plants, hot meals were at the table, and everything he could do for us… he did. That was the kind of man and father he was.

He was a pain in the ass, MY ass. He was not a perfect person or a perfect father but he was mine. He was my father. I am who I am because of him and my mom. Now that he’s gone, I’m sad, heartbroken even, that he will not be around to see me walk down the isle or meet his grand kids. But I am happy that he is in a much better place now.

I don’t know how to move on from this really. Or if I ever will. But one thing is for sure, I am happy that he was my dad. I hope he is proud of me as I am of him. He has served the country, he was a family man, and he lived a full life. I’d like to think that I was able to show him and make him feel my love especially during the latter days of his life.

He will forever be in my heart and his memory will live on. But for now, as I try to continue my life without him, I will feel the loss of my father in the mourning.

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