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!

Advertisements

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…

———-

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?

Love and Bonfire

 

 

Image

There is that point in time when you wish for happy ever after endings – the Disney version of a love story where you both go through tough times together and then survive it and be triumphant about it. The typical love conquers all type of thing. However, in reality, love comes with a lot of effort and commitment to each other. It is not something that you leave up to “love”. It is not saying that love is not enough. It is saying that when you love someone, you have to make an effort to keep the fire burning. You have to keep adding wood to the fire and watch it every now and then to make sure that the fire is still there.

In a bonfire, two things work together. Wood and wind. You build a fire and you add wood to it to keep it burning. And you have to fan it every now and then to keep the fire burning. However, if you leave it as is, it will burn all the wood there is and will eventually die if you don’t fan it.

I think it is the same thing with love and relationships. One becomes the wood and the other the wind. If one would not add wood to the fire, then no matter how much the other tries to fan the flames, it will eventually die. It also goes the other way around. If you keep on fanning it and not adding wood to the flames, it will eventually burn the love out of the relationship until nothing is left.

We are not in a world where men do all the effort and women takes all the benefits. In a relationship, women have to do things for a man to keep him happy and satisfied as well. And not because women do these things mean that men have to stop courting the woman too. It is both’s responsibility to take care of each other and not just one making all the efforts and the other one gaining from it.

It is not always the man who makes the mistakes. Women make mistakes as well. And it is the responsibility of the man as well as the woman to admit to such mistakes and try to work out on reconciling the differences. Accepting mistakes is the hardest part and yet the easiest way to start the ball rolling to resolve any issues between two parties. However, if one admits to a mistake only to expect the other to do the same, well, issues and conflicts would never be resolved.

Love and commitment are two very strong words to be thrown into a casual conversation. You say you are committed and yet you don’t show it doesn’t mean anything. You say you love someone and yet you don’t show it means nothing as well. It is always a give-take situation. Just like the wood and the wind in a bonfire.

womb to tomb…

Our lives begin from the womb and ends in the tomb. However, none of that matters. What matters is the in-between. How do we live the life that was handed down to us? How do we know that we have fulfilled our purpose in life once we are almost at the end?

We are carried in the womb for nine months, some even less. For those nine months, the people around us anticipate our arrival to the world. Promises are made even before we are born – the promise to be cherished, to be loved, to be given everything we need and some even what we want. For those first months of our lives until we are born, I think our purpose is to give purpose to the people around us. Once fulfilled, that would mean that we are ready to meet the world.

Then we are born. We continue with our purpose for the first few years in life. Our parents, especially, are always given a purpose for living. Each time they see us, they are reminded of their own purpose. To ensure that we are living the kind of life that we are supposed to live. They are our guardians, our mentor, our protector.

Through our first years in life, we learn skills that we need in our journey called life. We develop our own thoughts, we show our own emotions, we start to learn the language that everyone around us uses. We are handed down the necessary tools that we need in our journey. And yet given all that, we are not handed down the purpose on why we need it. At some point, we become the amusement of the people around us.

We reach our teenage years. We start questioning the reason for living. The usual “Who am I?” question is asked and we try to define who we really are based on what we feel, how we are raised, what we want in life. Do we really know? Do we define our purpose? Or is there already a defined purpose out there that someone missed out handing down to us? We start experimenting with our own identities, rebelling against authorities, following so-called leaders, just to try finding who we are.

Early adulthood comes so fast. We haven’t truly found ourselves just yet but we are already aligning with what society, tradition and culture dictates. Get a degree, find a job, have a family, settle down and live the kind of life our parents lived. Some are pressured during these times, some takes it lightly and lives by the day, and a few are quite oblivious to these expectations. Are these expectations our purpose? Maybe, maybe not. We are forced to decide to be who we are supposed to be against who we need to be. And yet more often than not, we find ourselves being a part of the statistics – an employed family person who settled down because <insert reason here>.

Do we really know why we settled down? Do we really like the job we have currently? Have we ever thought long and hard what we really want in life and how we want it to happen? I would be surprised if someone out there haven’t even wondered how their lives turned out have they followed a different path – something that they have really wanted to pursue but did not for a million reasons.

Then comes middle age. If during teenage years, we try to define who we are based on how we are taught, during the middle ages, we start to ask ourselves,  “is this who I really wanted to be? Is this what I really wanted?” Kind of late to be asking ourselves this question, isn’t it? And yet, we all go through this,  I think. No matter what our standing in life might be, we start to wonder how we got ourselves in our current situation. Are we living the kind of life we have defined based on what we were taught in our early years, are we living the life based on impulsive choices,  or are we living the sole purpose of why we are living in the first place? How do we know? During these times, some decides to just accept the fact that they are tied to their current situation while a few tries to break away and do something else, be someone else.

And then we grow old. We start looking back at all those years behind us. Some wonders how they survived the kind of life they started out with, some realizes that their lives are fulfilled; some regrets the choices they have made while some wonders how they have survived all the trials and tribulations that came along. Do we realize the real purpose of why we are here? Does our purpose still matter at this stage? Or have we found out that we have found our real purpose regardless of how we lived our lives?

We start to hand down the next generation a legacy, a testament of our lives, the wisdom we gained. And then we hope and pray that the next generation would not commit the mistakes that we made in the past, that they will make the right decisions based on what their purpose is, that they will create a life that they will never regret in the end.

So comes the end. People around us remember us on how they got to know us all through our lives. Some may have come to see us in a negative light; some may see us as a blessing in their lives, while some would not really care.  Do we know what we want everyone to see in our epitaph? At this point, I don’t. All I know is that we have a purpose to fulfill in every stage of our lives and it is up to us to fulfill it or not even if we don’t know what that purpose really is.

It is the in betweens that really matter and not how we started out or how we expired. We don’t just get borne into the world and then go through all the motions before we die. We go through life discovering things, enjoying what this tiny world has to offer, deciding which path to take once we reach a crossroad, creating our own destiny regardless of the circumstances. With that said, life is all about the journey – not about the start and how it will end.

a love letter for no one

I have been waiting for you for a long time now but you are still nowhere to be found. I am not sure if you’ve already shown yourself and I just lost the opportunity to meet you or if you have already passed by but haven’t seen me.

I wonder if you are one of the millions of people I pass by everyday. And I wonder if you are wondering how you’re going to know that it was me you’re looking for, too. In my mind, it was like we were in a maze, trying to find our way into each other’s arms, only, instead of walls, doors and hallways, our barriers are time and space.

We both meet other people, thinking that they are the one we are looking for but for some reason, we both feel that something’s lacking. Something that we can only find in each other.

Just the thought of you trying to find me too is exhilarating to the point that I get impatient for taking so long. It tries my patience but maybe, just maybe, this is one of those tests that we have to go through.

While waiting for you, I wonder if you would be everything I have ever wanted. Would you be brave and strong enough to fight my battles? Compassionate enough to forgive me of all my wrongdoings and understanding enough to accept my imperfections? Would you hold my hand when I am discouraged, dry my tears when I cry, will you tell me that everything will be alright when it would start to feel like the world is crumbling down?

I imagine you to be my own personal knight in shining armor, not that I am a damsel in distress – far from it, anyway. And I fell in love with that image of you in my head. However, no matter how I try to conjure you up in my mind, I cannot get a glimpse of your face. I don’t even know what color your eyes are or if they twinkle when you smile. How would you look like?

I wonder what kind of humor you got. Or if you even have one. Would you be the serious type or the funny one? Would you be cynical? Or would you be the perfect mix of everything? I would hope so.

There are so many things that I would like to know about you. And there are so many things that I would like to say to you. But for now, I will just write you another letter in the hopes that one day, you get to read them… with me beside you.

Insane Madness

Staring at the sky
Wondering why
I’m in this mess
It makes no sense

Cloudless sky
Tell me why
Shooting star
Why so far?

It’s got to stop
I’m so fucked up
It’s too complicated
I’m getting sedated

It can’t go on
But can’t let go
I can’t be blamed
I’m still in flames

I have to get away
I want to fly away
To stop the game
To end this

Insane madness
That started as a remedy
To the boredom that’s eating me
Now it’s getting out of hand
I need to run away

Numbness, calmness
What’s the difference
Serenity, complexity
I gotta be crazy

Time to quit
I’m into deep
How do I leave
When you’re still here?