It’s my day. The usual greetings poured in from friends around the world, even from those who have been out-of-my-reach for quite some time. Sa inyong lahat po na nakaalala at bumati, thank you. Unlike previous 9/11’s (yeah, most people hate this day, but it’s mine anyway), I woke up stressed to be happy today. Aside from both my girls being sick and feverish, my Dad recently had a stroke on the left side of his brain. Because the stroke was sudden and unexpected, the family has been in many shifts for almost a month now. Though my Mom and my eldest sister takes on the job of taking care of my Dad, the situation has become mental and emotional toll for the whole family.
I was with him just about 2 months ago. He was lively as ever and he seemed healthy and happy. My sisters and I were with him during this year’s Father’s day. It was probably the first Father’s Day celebration we had in 15 yrs and the best one ever. Until the stroke happened out of the blue and there was no time to prepare.
Being far from him at this time is an additional burden because I could not physically take care of him as much as I would love to. Every night and day, I pray for my Dad to recover. I pray to God to touch this man with his healing hands so that I could hear him talk again on the phone. I remember the last time we had a long phone conversation, he thought he was talking to my sister instead of me, and I just let him go on talking. I was smiling on the other line, because he was not a bit in doubt that it was me. Then, finally, he asked me something about my sister’s new house and I was not able to answer. He laughed so hard he was chuckling. Oh, that familiar sound I miss so much. I would trade all birthday gifts in the world to hear him laugh again.
How can I be happy today when that man I love so much, the one who used to have everything under control could not take a grip of the things in his own mind now? He’s anxious and probably depressed, and I heard he gets the mood sometimes. What if his current reality proves to be his new normal. That I cannot accept and it always brings me to tears because my strong, smart Dad of 35 years cannot help himself sit or stand nor speak (or control) his mind clearly. Yesterday, I was told he fell on the bed again. I thought maybe he was trying if he could turn to the other side of the bed but he couldn’t.
I feel for my Mom and my sister who are with him right now and I regret that I could not help them physically. My uncle and his wife are there for support right now, and I’m grateful to them. At times I feel that it would be best to hire a nurse and yet would that mean we’re paying somebody to take care of him while that's what we, his kids, are supposed to do?
Every 11th of Sept. probably during the past 34 years or since then that I was old enough to remember, my dad never failed to greet me with a cheerful birthday greeting. The birthday cards and long, rather sentimental letters he wrote for me were always happy additions.
But today, it is different. My loving Dad could not probably grip a pen to write a birthday card or a note for me. He has trouble saying my name and I somehow think that he must have forgotten my birthday too.
Anyway, it’s 11th and nonetheless it’s my day of the year, and I still do believe in birthday wishes. So today, mine would be for my Dad whom I love so much.
What makes me happy?
People. Everyone around me who believes and inspires me.
Life itself is a happy experience. The world is a happy place.
I had my own share of struggles, life was not easy for us back then but my Dad taught me how to believe in myself, work hard , be kind and to be strong. He inspired me to go out of my comfort zone. He used to tell me that the possibilities in life are endless and so I believed him.
l Iost him quite a few years ago but he has left me with so much inspiration to follow my dreams - to visit places I have only dreamt of or have seen in the movies when I was little and to do things I thought were only for the privileged few.
Wherever I go, I always remember my Dad, wishing he could see me from afar and somehow be proud of me as I have always been so proud of him. Life is short and I promised him that I would make the most of mine.
Travelling makes me happy and in all other things, I choose happiness. We all should- always..