Tomorrow will be Mother’s day and exactly a month after that, it’s Father’s day.
I was never been close with my parents.
|My only picture with my father|
My father was always overseas, while my mother lives with my brother and sister in another house. When I was ten years old, my parents separated because of fidelity issues. My mother with my younger siblings packed their bags and boarded a ship towards the islands of Mindanao. Father demolished the house and took the next flight away from his bitter life. After two years, my mother went back to our province and lived not far from our town. Mother found her new man, lived with him and bore his children. Father never forgave her and asked my grandparents to take my siblings away from mother.
My brother and sister did not like the idea. They knew that they will not be happy with a family they hardly knew. Grandmother has strict house rules and they did not found it amusing. All along they envied me for having a good life while they suffer an uncertain life with our mother. They rebelled against my grandparents. They thought of a plan to escape this insanity: At an early age brother eloped with her girlfriend and after a year my sister followed suit. Father's dream for them was shattered into pieces.
When I entered the seminary, father and I exchanged letters (no email yet) and sent him pictures of my seminary life. I thought it was my start of knowing my old man after so many years, but it was short-lived. A year after I left the seminary, father went home because he was very sick. Kidney failure I was told. He was already undergoing dialysis twice every week and will need a kidney transplant to prolong his life. It was my chance to take care of my ailing father but there was something between us that prevented me to reach out to him.
I will never forget that day I went home from an overnight camp sixteen years ago: I was getting off a jeepney at the other side of the road of our home when I immediately noticed the bright lights inside our home. The usually closed front door was sprung opened and on its side was a contraption usually seen when somebody died. I can feel the air coming from the vehicles passing in front of me touching my skin. I remember seeing one of cousins running towards me shouting something while his hand signals passing vehicles to stop. I was standing still in the middle of the road. As my cousin was leading me inside our home to look on a white coffin, I was absentmindedly asking him who died in the family when I heard my grandmother shouted hysterically in the background: “Your father was not able to wait for you! He loves you so much!” The coffin was placed in our receiving room and everybody I know was there, crying.
When I peeked through the glass of that death box to confirm my fears, I thought for a while I was looking at myself in the mirror. Everyone in the family always say that I am a carbon copy of my father. I was terrified. Father suffered cardiac arrest that morning. They rushed him in a nearby clinic but were pronounced dead. For me he died of a broken heart.
To this day I blame myself of not telling my father in person how much I love him and not make him feel that love. It was a mistake to think that I will have plenty of time to do it, sort out the missing pieces in our relationship and eventually tear down that invisible wall between us. In my eulogy, I said that if we were not given the chance to be a complete happy family here on earth, I know in the afterlife we will be together.
I may not be able to understand the decisions my parents made but they did what they have to do because they wanted the best for our family. They may have failed but at least they tried. If I will be given a chance to choose my would-be-parents all over again, without hesitation I will still pick them.
Happy Mother's Day 'Nay.
Happy Father's Day 'Tay.