Monday, December 27, 2010

Remembering My Father 40 Days After


He said he was tired and wanted to rest. He wept. He wept because the thought made him sad. At that point, death was not scary to him. He was tired of his illness and death would've been a welcome respite. Instead, he was sad. Sad because his grandson may not remember him in the future. Sad that he is not going to see Jacob grow up, his grandson who also bears his name, Carlos. Ever since I can remember, this was the only time he openly wept.

The love and devotion my father had for my son may seem out-of-character for those who did not know him well. Some of his friends may only remember him as a happy-go-lucky guy who drunk a lot. But for me, his son, I am quite familiar to this side of him.

My dad was a guy's guy. He almost never showed his emotions but when it came to being a loving dad, he never failed to shed his tough facade. The earliest memory I had of him was of me being carried on his shoulder. He only stopped carrying me on his shoulders when I reached grade one because I just became too heavy. One of my bonding moments with my father when I was younger was me stepping all over his back. He would ask me to give him a massage and this was how he wanted me to do it while we were watching TV together. It brings me tears remembering that because when his illness worsened, the only way he was relieved of the pain was to have someone massage his back with a mentholated liniment. Whenever I am around, this was his request of me.

I remember when I was already a young adult I kept on wondering why our neighbors were updated with what's going on with me despite the fact that i hardly get to talk to them. I later found out that it was my father who gave them a semi blow-by-blow account of my achievements and plans. He never said that he was proud of me to my face but he made it known to me by how much he proudly updated our neighbors and his friends about me. I even had to remind him to tone it down because it was embarrassing for me. Looking back, I should've understood better that that was the only way he know how to show how proud he was of me.

Not everything I did had the seal of approval from my father. My mother would end up telling me the very few times that he complained of my impertinence. But he never showed me that he was displeased of me. He never let me feel that I did something wrong. He was always supportive of me.

My father was a flawed man, far from perfect. I am not blind to these. In fact there are still things that I am discovering about my father that he kept from me. But please forgive me for glossing over these things, I have chosen to remember my father not by his faults but by how much love he showed me when he was still alive despite the fact that I am imperfect and flawed myself.

* * *

Dear Papang,

I am sad that you left us so early in Jacob's life. But don't worry, as your son, I will make sure that he will remember you. I will make sure that he will always know that you loved him so dearly. I will never tire of telling him that there is only one time that I know of that you wept, and that was about him.

I love you Pang and I miss you very much.

Love,

Bimbo