Today is Father’s Day, but on Tuesday, June 22, will also be my father’s 14th death anniversary. It’s weird that he died during father’s day season, so as the rest of the world celebrates father’s day, we also commemorate our dad’s death anniversary. I always liked to believe that he just waited for my birthday before he died. On the night of my birthday, June 17, 1996, I celebrated my 29th birthday with a dinner in Tong Yang in Megamall. My dad hardly ate anything because he was very ill by that time. Little did we know that that was the last supper we would ever have with him. The very next day, we brought him to the hospital, and within 4 days, he was gone. It was a harrowing but quick process, so our broken hearts had to catch up quickly to the rushing events because time won’t slow down for us, no matter how much we were in pain. The few days I spent with him in the hospital were so traumatic, that I was the only one who no longer cried when he finally died. Seeing him dying like that was too much for someone who loved him to pieces. I reached the point where I’d rather lose him forever than to see him suffer like that. When he breathed his last, I too breathed a sigh of relief and release. I’d rather remember my daddy at his best, when he was strong and healthy and loving and nurturing. But until now, memories and images of him gasping for breath, his voice become shrill like a child’s, him calling out to his mom and dad while we were in the ambulance, still haunt me to this very day. Even now as I recount the events 14 years after, the tremors still tremble mightily in my heart. I guess we never stop hurting when we lose someone we loved all our lives. We just get used to it.
So despite that downer of a trip down heartbreak lane, let me wish all dads a Happy Father’s Day! Please tell your fathers how much you love and appreciate them. What I would give if I could just tell my dad how much I loved him, how much I STILL love him, one more time. If only I could tell him how much I miss him, and how much I’d love to run to him when life gets a little too tough for me, so he could cradle his bunso again the way he used to, and instantly make everything alright. But want it as I might, I can’t. So for those of you who still can, I wish you the chance, and in some cases the courage, to do what I wish with all my heart I still could.
I really miss you, Daddy. More than you can ever imagine. Happy Father’s Day.