Our relationship with our father was one made of love and hate.
We loved him deeply for taking care of us first. He wanted to be a teacher but stayed in the well-paid job of being a policeman until he retired. He proved that work can go well with family first policy. That is why with his salary and loans and augmented by our mother's, he raised us all five children well with good education. He was a devoted husband to our mother, a gift he also indirectly showered us. He was a generous giver because it was a joy for him to give us P500 or P1000 every time he received financial blessings. He made our education a priority, a lifetime investment he staked in, that he even extended that to our relatives who wanted to study. He loved to put us to his “fattening” or “feeding” program because he enjoyed cooking for us because according to him we should be well-fed and not sickly (and grow up tall), a way of living he shared with us until he was diagnosed with cancer November of last year.
But yes, we also hated him. We hated him for his NOT taking good care of himself. His battle with alcohol was almost a life-long struggle. He almost died in 2002 for liver cirrhosis. Miracle was given him when he was able to recover, even his doctor was surprised. About five years after that, he went back to alcohol. His body was not tolerating alcohol and the devastating effect of his alcohol use slowly seepped in until the day he left us. We went to and fro the hospital for many complaints about his health, the underlying reasons of which were his alcohol consumption. I will not deny that he betrayed and hurt us many times in the process of NOT taking care of his own health, by going back and forth to alcohol. We all agree that he lost his battle, not with cancer, but with alcohol. But in the end, he was still graced with a graceful exit. He peacefully slept. Thank you, Lord.
But then, in the end, love wins. We now cry out loud for what we most loved about him. He is now in every glass or mug we use (We should put it in the sink after use). He is in every kitchen knife we use (We should return it to its place after use). He is in every pot and pan in our house (We should clean them after use as they have life of their own). He is in every chop suey, linaga or pochero we partake (That is our staple dish in the house). He is in every tomato, onion or garlic we buy in the market (Buy it in bulk as it costs more if we buy in retail). He is in every place we head to (We have to bring him a t-shirt with the name of places we visited). He is in the christian songs we sing at the SDA Church as much as in every “Please Release Me” karaoke song.
We may now think that he is in some place we go or some things we see or do but only to understand that he is actually constantly dwelling in the memory of our hearts.
We love you Tatay.