Archive for June, 2010

Tatay

June 21, 2010

I lost my Tatay when I was 19 back in 2004. And from that very same day, it has been different.

Tatay’s death has been devastating for everyone especially for Nanay. Just a few months after his death, Nanay started developing different diseases that eventually lead to her loss of sight. Yes, she is now blind.

Trying to remember my fondest memory of my father feels like reliving the things of a different lifetime.

I remember how he carries me on his shoulders piggyback ride from the town plaza when I’m usually too sleepy or tired. I remember him bringing us to the beach really early in the morning in the belief that it eases my breathing whenever my asthma attacks, which I got from him anyway. I remember him teaching me math even before I started schooling which perhaps explains my genius in arithmetic and money. My father used to have a business before he does hallow blocks for a living that is after the former went broke. He is a mathematician and a good investor on his own right. I remember him, out of nowhere, showing me a news paper he kept thru the years, with me on the headline after I won a provincial quiz bee. I felt like he was the proudest Tatay that time. I remember how I helped him one weekend, mixing gravel and cement and making hollow blocks. He told me I could be an engineer someday, directing people and not doing the dirty work. I disagreed but only in my mind. I remember kissing his hand and bidding him goodbye even if he doesn’t approve of me going to UP. Maybe because we are poor and he thinks it is almost impossible. Again, I disagreed only in my mind but I’ve decided I’m going no matter what. I wanted to hug him that time but boys are born never to show their emotions, which later on in life I realize is not true – this was the last time I saw Tatay alive. I remember our phone conversation, he was already in the hospital but he said I don’t have to go home, I have to continue my summer classes and he’s gonna be okay but he was wrong – this was our last conversation. Just weeks after that, that one fine afternoon, out of instinct, I checked my email and there was that mail from a friend, saying Tatay passed away – the email I will keep to this day. Our next meeting was painful, he was already in his coffin.

I cried, sobbed and hated the world but there was just no way he can hear me, Tatay was dead. He died of liver serosis at the age of 56.

I’m thankful I had Tatay for the first 19 years of my life, others’ are worse they lost their fathers really early in life, others have not seen theirs even, just like my Tatay himself. But it doesn’t change the fact that I lived without a father for the last 6 years now. Yes, I believe things have been different had he been alive.

There were days, many days that I wonder what it would be like having my father up to now. I feel like to some extent, I’m not hundred per cent whole. There were missing pieces of me, pieces which were supposed to be filled by him. The longing for a father always has its way to me. I envy people who are close to their Dads. The absence of a father in my teenage years has changed a lot. I never afforded not thinking of how to pay my tuition and not to worry of where to get money for my next meal. As the eldest son, I have to take care of the family. To these days, I’m sending my two siblings to college, which by the way I don’t regret.

I feel deprived of a privilege of having my father see the consequences of my disobedience. I was able to graduate, though it has not been easy. Although it took me awhile, I did. At times, it’s easier to blame my father for all those times I have to worry of where to get my siblings’ tuition and allowances but still I’m just grateful for him together with Nanay raised me the way I am. Although I sent myself to school, by God’s grace there was never a time I went to bed hungry. I pretty much had a normal college life, well, at least almost. I just sometimes wish he is here to see, how just like him, I take pride it providing for our family.

My father’s got neither car nor riches left for us. We don’t even have a complete family picture. But for just being there and for just giving what he thought was best for us: for allowing me to be stubborn and letting me experience the world the way I did, even if I have to be born again, I will still choose my Tatay to be my father. Just being his son is my privilege.

I pray I can make you the proudest Tatay when we meet, again! I love you and happy father’s day!

Advertisements