Monday, 23 December 2013

A Eulogy

He was a good man. Some people might say otherwise, but he was a good man to me.

So I just found out my biological father, the person who took care of me for the first ten years of my life and kept on loving me even after that, passed away. We were at our church Christmas party when my mother handed me the phone. I didn't understand the text message at first but when realization hit me, my lungs felt like acid, my mouth was filled with something like bile, my shoulders started shaking, my knees buckling and a soft wail escaped my mouth. I didn't know what I'd do, so I ran. Sturdy arms caught me and escorted me downstairs, Ptr. John tried to comfort me but I really wasn't listening anymore. I let the tears fall and the sharp gasps slip out, not caring who was watching or if I was too loud. I couldn't understand what I felt, later on I realized it was grief. It was the emotion I felt when I realized it wasn't working with my parents anymore, only much more intense. Much more terrible.

My parents have been separated since I was ten and their marriage annulled when I was 14. My sisters were with him for two years before he gave up custody. He still visited us frequently after and shouldered a little of the expenses to get us to decent schools, that is, before his diabetes became too much. His visits became less frequent and frankly, I haven't seen him in two to three years. I wish we had more time. But life doesn't always go the way we want it to. Despite that, I know God's hand is working and it'll be okay. It'll come to pass.

There are several memories I want to share so I wrote them down. They were all good memories, they're memories I'm going to tell my children about.

Swimming - one of the earliest memories I have of him was when we went swimming when I was very very young. I know this memory is real because even though we don't have pictures of it, I remember (sometimes my mind fabricates stories when I see pictures). My mother tossed me to him, in an attempt to teach me how to swim and he kept moving backwards so I'd have to swim more. I thought it was cruel back then but looking back, they taught me more than just swimming, they taught me perseverance and determination.

School - one time he visited me in high school (mom and papa were working through the annulment). I remember how he looked back then, remembered how his shoulder were slightly hunched together, no longer the man I remembered him to be. I remember my father had a relaxed stance before everything, I saw him and he looked frailer, self-conscious and restrained.

December - he showed up in our house one day and told us he has diabetes and cataract and detailed to us how he attempted to take his own life at a cottage in Samal, Davao. He took a container of pills. Only, someone noticed him choking and rushed him to the hospital. I remember crying so much when he told us. He felt so useless he said, he couldn't see, only make out figures in front of them. He returned a week (or was it weeks?) after, and his eyes were all red on one eye and still foggy on the other. He had a really wide smile on his face. His siblings pitched in to pay for the operation and the first one had been successful. He's due for the second one the next week. He was so happy, he said he could see things even more clearly than before the cataract. I could see hope gleaming in his eyes. I'm clinging on to that picture now.

Movies - he took us to the movies often, but rarely watched them with us. He slept in the movie theater sometimes. He took us out to eat and talk. I remember the silence. It was a good silence. I always thought he looked like Jackie Chan but wider.

Last Message - my papa and I texted each other when we had time. The last time I heard from him, he told me he'd be living in Bukidnon. That was around two years ago. He also texted me he loves us very much several times, I replied 'we love you too and miss you'. I told him to take care of himself and God bless and he texted back 'God bless you too'. I lost my phone, thus my contact with him after that. But it was a good note. And it'll have to be enough.

I know God still has a purpose why He didn't allow Papa to die in Samal. I don't think I can take it if he died by suicide. Thank you, Lord for giving us more time and a hope. Thank you because I know our prayers for him weren't ignored. I know You didn't leave him or forget about him. I hope to God that Papa was able to call out to God before he died. He's done some terrible things but I know God is just and forgiving. I hope Papa realized all he had to do was ask God.

Papa, Rest in Peace. I'm letting you go but I will always love you and remember you.