Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Remembering Dad...

You left us almost 23 years ago. I have never seen Mom so devastated when news of your death reached us. She gathered us, Nitz, Sherren and I, and told us, in between sobs, you were gone. At my age then, it was hard to accept the truth. I cried not because you were gone, as I had no inkling of what death is all about that time, but because I symphatized with Mom. We were just too young then to comprehend what was happening around us. We couldn't make heads or tails of the events unfolding before us then. Why were there so many people in our house?

I've seen so many people crying during your wake both in Camiling and in Malasiqui. People whom I've never seen before. But they were one in saying you were a good man. Always ready to lend a hand, obliging to a fault. I listened to the testimonials of your colleagues and friends from Saudi Arabia and was not surprised at all the praises and tributes they pronounced. You had a heart and personality bigger than your 250-pound frame.

You were a good father. The best, in fact. I recall the day when you went your way to bring me to the movie Kuwatog. Remember Dad, we had a blast then? Or those times we'd go to the Manila Zoo which was just a stone's throw away from our house in Malate? Or the regular promenades we used to do at Luneta?

When we moved out to the province, each weekend you were home was fun. We'd wait by Apong's window overlooking the road and watch you emerge from the rickety bamboo gate then. And the usual Cindy's chicken bbq that you brought home sure made our day then. This was the routine then Dad. Before you left for the so-called "greener pasture" in Saudi.

Like you, Dad, I chose to be an OFW. Not because I lost hope to my country but because of the very same reason that drove you to that choice --- to earn for your family's future. I myself am now a father, Dad. And I try, as much as I can, to inculcate in my children's minds the values you have imparted on me during the short period we got to spend together. It would have been great if you were able to see them grow. They're a handful, I warn you.

It took a while before I came to accept you were gone, Dad. There were times when I felt you have just gone away, to return again sometime in the future. I had to learn a lot of things the hard way, I was always looking for a father figure, sort of. Courting girls? I was clumsy. I knew you would have kicked my butt had you seen me going home dead drunk when I was in college. Funny dad, but I kind of missed a lot of your advices during those times of my juvenile jaunts.

Thank you, Dad, for being such a good father. I miss you, Dad. Bigtime.


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