Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My father. His story.

February 8 will always be a significant date for me.

It is the day I and Ken got married, and the day my father died.

My father had been sick for a long time. He began showing symptoms years ago that was eventually diagnosed as colon cancer. A strong man, who rarely complained, my father hung on and never let on that it was as bad or as painful as we all knew it really was. As his symptoms increased, he quickly grew older right in front of my eyes, each time I went to visit him. But then I moved farther and farther away from my father, as I followed my own path into life. When I came to the US our only means of communication is through phone. But he became so frail that he cannot even stay long on the phone. Eventually it was only me talking and him listening.

When I heard the phone ring the afternoon after my wedding, I knew even before I looked at the caller ID, that it was my sister. With a shaky, breathy voice, I heard her say quietly, "Dette, he's gone." Silent tears rolled down my face. I stared out the window into our backyard full of snow, and half expected to see my dad out there, waving to me - as he passed into the next life.

When I put the phone down, there were already hot tears rolling down my cheeks. I yearned to be back home, to be with family, to be near my father's remain. But travel is out of the picture at that time as it was not conceivable.

On the day he is to be buried, I got a call from my sister asking me to write a eulogy for my father that they will read during the funeral mass. I just got home from work, and I have only an hour to write it, send it through email, and have them print it before the mass starts. My mind was running wild. Where and how do I start? My father's life is a story, a unique story that nobody ever lived before and no one will ever live again. I wish it would go on forever, but I understand that even the best stories has to end. It would be a strange story if it did go on forever. So instead of grieving that it has to end, I feel blessed and lucky enough to have been a part of it.

Memories of my dad flashed before my eyes. The father as I saw him when I was growing up and the life he lived parallel to mine. His amazing life story ultimately gave me an inspiration to write his eulogy. And like a story, I understood him better as I get closer to the end. I came to understand the significant of something that happened back in chapter 1 and 3. It was not a perfect story, as the plots were not effectively developed or structured. It wasn't meant to entertain but it has beginning, a middle and an end.

Thank you Papang for your story.

One that will continue to inspire me.

One which pages I memorized from the heart.


Martin said...

A moving tribute to your late father, Odette. Half expecting to see our departed loved ones as they pass from this world to the next is, I think, our way of wishing them a safe journey.

Odette said...

Martin, i wished he would appear before me to let me know he is okey and also for me to let him know that i will be okey.
but i think he already knew that.


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