a tribute to my Dad

dadI actually don’t know how to write a tribute but here is an attempt at it. And what better way to do so other than by paying tribute to my Dad on Father’s Day.

I grew up thinking that I was a Daddy’s girl. For as long as I can remember, my Dad has always been the person that I look up to, the person that I try to please, the person who has my highest regard. At a very young age, I already knew that if there is a person that will be a role model for me, it would be my Dad.

My Dad grew up poor, as how he used to say. He was already working at a young age to help out with his family. And one of his longest frustrations in life was not being able to go to college. He was the third child with 8 other siblings and he was the oldest among the men. Given that he was not able to go to college, he worked hard instead and tried his best to be able to send his siblings to school so they would not end up like him.

During my younger years, I never felt that we were poor. Maybe because my Dad provided well for our family without any complaints. He was what I would call a traditional family man. He worked hard but at the same time, he and my Mom made sure that we still spend time together as a family. He always had the final say in everything. He was the kind of father that will let us do things on our own and would support us in every decision you make. But at the same time, he would also make sure that we are within the bounds of the family values that he and my Mom instilled in us.

My Dad was the kind of person who was seen as a leader. He takes leadership seriously and it was seen in how he raised his family. Responsibility is a part of his DNA. He made sure that he was raising us as God-fearing, responsible, humble and respectful beings. And he set himself as an example for us to follow.

He was the kind of person that was easy to talk to. When I was a kid, I always see him talking and laughing with people and when I asked him if he knew the person he was talking to, he would just say that he just met the person. It was easy for him to get along with people as well especially if they share the same interests: cars, music, sports (especially basketball), family life.  He was also the quiet type just the same. You rarely hear him complain and he was not the type of person who would really express what he feels openly. He kept most of his emotions to himself  that at times, it gets to a point that you try and second-guess if he was mad or not.

He was also a patient man but at the same time, not someone that you try his patience. It was a trait that I was never able to adapt, I guess.

I can go on and on about the great qualities of my Dad and this page will not even be enough to tell everything. To sum it all up, I guess I would say that the best thing that I admire about my Dad was his spirit. You see, I used to see him as some kind of superhero that would always be there to save the day. And for the longest time, he was just that. My very own superhero. I guess most daughters will say the same thing about their Dads. I saw my Dad as someone strong, someone invincible, someone worthy to be put up in a pedestal. Until a few years ago when illness hit him.

Given that my Dad was the traditional family man – a provider in everything for the family, something that he was not able to do for a long time since he got sick, he slowly hit the lowest of lows to the point that he became just a shell of the man that I used to look up to. It was something painful to watch and to go through and no matter what we did, he couldn’t pull himself out of that pit. It was the darkest part of our lives, I would say.

And just like superheroes, he slowly pulled himself out of the pit and became a whole lot better than he used to be. He may not be strong physically, but he came out of it with a stronger spirit, a lighter disposition, and with a more peaceful aura.  He fought his illness harder than he used to, smiled more often, laughed whenever he can and he expressed himself in ways that he never did before. He didn’t keep his emotions inside like he used to. He lived like a man who had already achieved everything he aimed for and was happy with the results.

This father’s day, I would like to thank my Dad and remember him as a man of many qualities who had his own flaws (as we all do) but did well by us, his family. Yes, he was no superhero but for me, I would say that he was the kind of father that every daughter should have.

I love my Dad. Without him and his guidance, I wouldn’t have been half the person that I am today.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I miss you so much!

Book 2: Blabber Chapter 1: In Passing

I just came from a wake of a work colleague’s Dad. It was the second time that I attended a wake after my own Dad’s passing. I couldn’t feel anything when I went to the Funeral Chapel with some of my work colleagues. It was just like one of those deaths that happen that is part of the circle of life.

I sat there, looking at the white flowers surrounding the casket, watching people chatter and laugh. It didn’t feel like a wake to me. So I looked for my colleague instead and had a small chat with him. Asked how old his Dad was, how it happened, when the burial will be and all those small talks you do during wakes. We talked a little about my Dad as well and he was so surprised how young my Dad was when he passed away.

One thing that we had in common, though, was that, we think it is best that they have now passed rather than watch them helplessly suffer more. You see, his Dad was first diagnosed and qualified for a heart bypass in 2008. According to him, his Dad refused operation and other medical assistance needed to cure him. He only took maintenance meds that were prescribed. And with that, he survived three more strokes prior to his passing early this week. He was already having hard time breathing and he cannot lie down so he slept in a reclining position.

And while we were talking, small things that I remember when my Dad was still alive crept back into the recesses of my tired brain. How hard he breathed during the last few weeks of his life (and those were one of the things that I don’t really want to remember), how weak he had become and how helpless he looked, and yet, despite all that, he smiled a lot, chattered as much as he can, and he became a whole lot lighter in so many ways that I have ever seen him during my younger years.

Maybe death does that to you. Makes you remember the smallest things about your own dearly departed that makes you smile fondly no matter how painful it gets sometimes. And at the same moment, it makes you value the time that you have on this world more than ever.

I really don’t know what I am trying to say here. Maybe I just wanted to say that we take our lives for granted. We complain of what we don’t have, we envy others for having what we have always wanted, we spend a lot more time making our sorry lives more miserable than it should be. But when it comes to that point when our lives begin to fade, we realize that what really matters are the simple pleasures – spending time with family and friends, being thankful for another day to start all over, finding joy in small achievements and all that. 

Flashback: A Tempting Temptation

This was something I wrote more than a year ago that I posted elsewhere. Unfortunately, that blog has now gone kaput. Just reposting what I found while I try to find something to write about…

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I love challenges. I love risks. And at times, I get impulsive about getting myself into something and not thinking about the consequences. The more challenging that something is, the riskier it is, the more impulsive I get, the more tempted I get until I go ahead and take that challenge, that risk.
That’s the thing with challenges and risks. It lures you, seduces you, and whets your appetite. And depending on what you got yourself into, it keeps your blood pumping, your mind sharp, and your life exciting.
However, a few months ago, something happened that made me take a step back. It was something that I have never anticipated nor thought about. It was all so sudden, it somehow froze me in place. I chalked that up as an aberration of an alcohol-induced night of fun then forgot about it (well, not really since it was only shoved to the back of my head). Then a few weeks ago, it happened again and got escalated a bit.
I am not going into the details of what happened but I will call that second happening as temporary madness. Temporary madness was also an alcohol-induced night of fun however, there was something about that night, probably something brewing, that I cannot figure out. After a few days of thinking and a few sleepless nights, I can only conclude that it cannot happen again. Ever.
It is wrong, so very wrong. Temporary madness spelled trouble from the very beginning. And I mean trouble with a capital T.
It is tempting, oh so tempting to do something so stupid for once and get yourself in big trouble and try to get out of it. But this is not one of those trouble that can be easily amended. Getting myself into this thing will have repercussions that will last probably until I die. Given my upbringing, I can safely say that I know how to determine what is right from wrong. But there is that little voice at the back of your head asking mundane questions about your decisions. You say no and it will ask “why?” or “why can’t you do it?”, “why not try something dangerous for once?” And since your curiosity has been whetted, you think more about the situation and then ask yourself, “hmmm, why not?”
And that, my friend, is the voice of temptation. It lures you, seduces you, at times, misleads you into doing something just because your curiosity got the better of you and your love for taking risks and challenges got the upper hand. The thing is, what I’m talking about is not the garden-variety temptation like getting tempted to buy a dress then eventually buy it or like when you’re trying to lose weight and got tempted to eat ice cream then go ahead and do it anyway. No. What I’m talking about is temptation that puts lives at risk and most likely destroys you in the process.
Once you entertain that small voice, the more that you get yourself into something that you are not really prepared for. And the more that you try justifying yourself, in the end, you will be questioning your own decisions. Now the dilemma is, how do you get that voice to stop?