He was always tough. Growing up, I always talk about how scared I am about things especially when I see dad and mom sick or hurt but whenever I say ‘I am scared,’ dad says ‘it is nothing.’ He always have a loud voice and a very strict image but the first and last time that I saw him cry was when someone told him that his daughters won’t be able to graduate because of getting pregnant. I didn’t think about that, but what matters the most to him is relationship.
It was November 2011 when my sister and I rushed to Lopez from Manila in the middle of the night because dad threw up blood. When we arrived at 12 in the morning, he was waiting for us and saying ‘I am okay.’ He never showed any signs of pain for us not to worry. Holidays passed, then before his birthday, he threw up blood again and rushed to Manila for better diagnosis and medication.
He still said he was okay then he had a couple of endoscopies/ gastroscopies. He was diagnosed of Liver Cirrhosis. Then with his sisters and brothers, he went to another doctor and had a very honest and straightforward diagnosis that his condition was terminal.
Our hearts sank. That was the moment that I was afraid of since I was 4 but I never seen my daddy cried in pain or regret. He talked to us, prepared us and had wonderful conversations. He didn’t have list of things for us to remember because each and everyday of our lives since we were born, he was teaching us how to be independent and how to stand for what is right. Even if someone did or say bad things about him or us, he will always advise us to understand why that person has done it and then he will tell us to forgive and learn from it but mean it when that person say ‘sorry‘ and you say ‘it’s okay.‘ We never keep bad memories of people because of daddy.
Then he decided to went back to Lopez after knowing most of the things about his sickness. He said he’ll feel better at home. Then he continued living his normal way of life and decided to fix some parts of the house because it’s not really in good condition. I was amazed seeing him doing the electrical and ceiling of our house. He’s always superman.
He continued to go in and out of the hospital monthly, strengthening his friendship with his kumpare, Dr. Joel Arago as he tried to treat him the best way he could. My batchmates who were his nurses developed fondness of him. And his friends in the US like my ninong Leo ‘Polding’ tried to look for alternative medicines for daddy just like my Tita Billie.
This year’s Holy Week, we had movie marathon together and I stalked him in his daily routine for me to be able to report it to my sister who was very busy at work and wasn’t able to spend time with him. I found out that he liked lotions a lot. haha. He was biking like a kid and laughing so loud.
Last May, he wasn’t admitted to the hospital so he celebrated like a seven year-old and ate ice cream. We talked on the phone and he couldn’t stop talking about how happy their high school reunion was and I was thinking that seeing his old friends made him feel better. I want to thank his batchmates (Dekada 70) and wonderful friends for making my dad’s last few days a very happy one. Our family will always be thankful of you.
June 11, 2012, early in the morning he went to the diagnostic center at front of our house to have his hemoglobin tested. He was happy and joking around. He let the old people have their tests first since he said he lives nearby. He was smiling to everybody while sitting outside and he was talking to everyone. He talked to Tito Didi and after a few minutes, they decided to have lunch.Then, he threw up blood and after the second one, he was rushed to the hospital by his friend, Tito Nelson and my cousin Kuya Joey with my mom. According to the nurses, he threw up almost half pail of blood. Thanks to my aunts and friends who are working in Holy Rosary Hospital who hugged my mom when she needed it the most– Nining, K-ham Perez and Reina.
At 2:40 pm, Dad passed away. We truly appreciate that Tita Carol brought me and my sister back home to see daddy the quickest way possible. The pain will never go away, things will never be the same again. I thought it is an exaggeration before whenever I hear people say “I’ll trade everything just to talk and hug my dad again,” now I know it is never exaggerated but an honest longing.
If you want to see photos and stories of Dad’s wake, please check it here. And to know more about him, I’d love to tell you his stories here.