By December 14, 2010, it would be one full year since father left us. It seems only a few weeks back. But it couldn’t be after all the lonely months I went through. It’s definitely one year as I’m ready to move on. In fact, I have started the healing journey, thanks in great measure to this new job. Father would have been happy and proud. He always imagined me reaching higher grounds than he did in his lifetime. He would always say, “Bett, children would always surpass the achievements of their parents”. Hmmm. Father had so much faith in his stubborn daughter.
I have missed father. I have missed his brilliance. I have missed our politics and discussions. I have missed having a human anchor.
But life’s like that. We are bound to lose the people we love (and hate occasionally) to death.
Having lost both parents, I could only advise those who still have their parents around to love them, cherish them, spend time with them, talk, talk, talk until you drop, so when the time comes to say goodbye, there are no regrets.
I have spent time with both my parents during their sick moments. Those were tough times. I lost mother when I was only in my early thirties. It was 2001. I felt then that she was too young to go; and I was too young to lose a mother. It was the first death in the family. It was odd, painful, hard and tough on all of us including father.
Fast forward to 2009. I had a difficult time dealing with father’s illness. I was trying to shield myself from the pain when he was still very sick. It was my coping. It didn’t help that I had to relocate then from Gen. Santos City to Cebu City and was missing my kids. It added to my loneliness. I had difficulty talking to him because I didn’t know what to talk about. I guess I had to deal then with the reality that he was very sick and I was healthy and it was very strange to me. Papa was always healthy. He seldom got sick. I was more often sick than he was. He was always cautioning me to be careful with my asthma because he knew of some people who died of asthma. In fact, at one time he shared that a child of a friend died of asthma attack. Then suddenly there he was very sick and I was grappling for words.
I think he was also dealing with that reality because he would often say when I turned quiet, “It’s okay Bett, I’m tired now”.
For all the lonely and painful moments during father’s illness and his death thereafter, I knew that healing would always come, in its own time.
I can’t help but recall my last moment with him when we were encouraged to speak to him individually to say goodbye. His eyes were closed. It was my turn to talk to him.
I felt awkward – one of those bizarre moments of your life, but I needed to. I spoke gently in his right ear and said, “Pa, this is Bebett, your most favourite daughter”. What would you know! He opened his eyes and looked at me haha. It was a very brief moment and then he closed his eyes again. What followed was a small ripple of laughter in the room. I spoke to him and then sung his favourite gospel song, followed by his favourite standard songs like “The Nearness of You” and two others.
Hmmm. I can only say this: “A daughter’s relationship with her father is always special, very unique”. It’s a special bond transcending one’s lifetime.
Food for thought: Love and fear. Everything the father of a family says must inspire one or the other. ~Joseph Joubert