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Saturday, July 14, 2007

My Dad’s Death

It was March 5, 2005 early morning. I barely got sleep from the time I step in the bus bound home. I left Manila around 4:30 in the afternoon and arrived at the hospital around 9 in the evening. He was already in the ICU. With all the tubes just to keep him alive.

He was feared in the family. He was strict. His rules couldn’t be bent. To quote him, “If you don’t want to obey my rules get off my roof,” he often says. He smokes, play cards and gamble to let the time pass, and most of the time he is not home. He has no way of communicating to us. Bridges between father and children are burned down. There was no relationship to the point that the children just avoid him as much as possible. Families will always have secrets. In the façade is a beautiful family but inside are the hurts and indifference between family members.

Every one was there except my sister who was in Guam, my mother, youngest and eldest brother who were at home since they have been watching for the past days already at the hospital. To look at us as his child, in my own opinion, was the one each of us would like to have. A treatment that a person would like to be treated. Maybe because it is of the family my dad have. Those principles he learned in his family is the one he wants to imposed, where parents are authority and children are just possessions. Don’t look at me as a rebel; I was not the rebel in the family. I don’t want to brag but to tell you the truth I am the obedient one. There were instances in my early years I my life that I remember where my siblings argued with our dad. Heated words and mostly disrespect to him was the ending. There were times that he tells us about his life and compare it to our present lives. The problem lies in the way he thinks. He always thinks differently and as my sister says, “he has a closed mind.”

They were expecting that it was his last. He had the stroke last January. Half of his body was paralyzed. When I went home for the Christmas, December 25 to be exact, something unusual happened. Before he went to his pals to play cards he asks me if we could have a drink. My mom was also surprised. So he went in the house and I think he brought out his favorite drink which he has kept for a long time. He asked me to get some Indian mangoes in our backyard to serve as our “pulutan. He was happy that time. We talked about my work, if ever I was drinking in our company functions, about my girlfriend, and about how to have a male firstborn which I think he heard from a doctor who read it from a Reader’s digest or National Geographic magazine. I was about to return to Manila in 2 days since I have to do my job.

My second eldest brother and talked to the doctor who just came in. My dad’s doctor was replaced because she has to go to the US since her father also succumbed to his sickness. As the new doctor goes through the details of my dad’s medical history it seems that he has no hope of recovery, that night was his last. Due to his heavy smoking half of his left or right lung was already gone and the other was ¼ gone also. His kidneys are not functioning anymore, and so many complications brought about by his diabetes.

I arrived home together with my siblings who came home from Manila. My mom was there to tell us all that happened, the hardships they went through in taking care of my dad, the intolerable behavior of my dad when he was brought in & out of the hospital and at home. Silence enveloped our house. Then my sister called around two in the morning of March 5. It was Saturday. My sister told me that dad was gone. I told my eldest brother about it and he was just silent. Then my sister talked to him to arrange for the removal of my dad’s corpse from the hospital. My sister asked me to tell it to our mother. As my brother left the house, my mom was awakened and I tried to tell her in the most humane way. They she cried and sobbed. I tried to comfort her in the best of my abilities.
It was already around 8 in the morning when my dad’s body was brought home. By that time many people has already come to our house to confirm my dad’s death. My dad’s sisters came and they were all mourning. My cousins came and all was crying. As everyone waits I tried to be calm.

We realize that my dad died without making the connection with us his children but more than that the reason why he was not able to connect to us was because he himself cannot find appreciation in his very own home. That is why he went to gamble with his pals and have kept his health a secret. He lived the last days of his life unhappy because he can’t find a way to be with us because we his children never appreciated his efforts to take care of us. We never saw him in that way because what we have focused on was his authoritarian ways of running the family. We never saw the good points that he was trying to impart. Up to now that problem in the family is still there. We seem to have no connection as siblings. Most of the time there is no communication.

My dad died yet the hurt in the family is still there. I want my family to move on but I guess all family has gaps like this. Only time will tell until each family member understand the need of others. I hope that you learned something from what I am sharing. All will go through this kind of pain. But the best part of it is to learn and to keep on struggling to unite one’s family. Talked as often as you can and don’t judge your family members cause you don’t know what really is inside there hearts. They might have a hard time expressing themselves thus they resort to means that we see it on the wrong side. Understanding is the key component in a united and loving family.

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