DRAWING DOWN THE CURTAINS
I had been trying to call my Dad’s phone for the nth time and he won’t pick up… at times his phone wouldn’t even ring or the signal would drop. I kept trying because I wanted to talk to him.
After almost an hour, he finally answered my call. He told me that he was in the hospital where my Lola was confined due to severe bleeding ulcer. I recognized the unusual sad tone in his voice and as I expected, before his voice would have cracked, he passed the phone to my Mom.
I am pretty sure that my Dad is probably more emotional than any other dad my friends do have. I must have inherited “emo” genes from him, by the way. Although they had some minor misunderstandings before, my Lola and my Dad went along very well. And for my Dad who lost his own mother when he was still young, he has treated my Lola (Mom’s mother) like his own mother since he married my Mom.
I found out that Dad grew very sad when he saw my grandmother in the hospital and he talked to her but she did not recognize him. The doctor informed them that my Lola’s memory was failing and she’ll have memory lapses more often …gearing to the possibility of complete memory loss as a result of her old age, disease, and the stress that comes in between.
I suddenly recall the time when Eric was talking to his Dad who was then confined in a hospital in US for liver cirrhosis. That month, Eric was in constant communication with his family because of his Dad’s condition. When he finally talked to him, I heard Eric said, “Daddy, si Eric nga ito…yung anak mo dito sa Saudi!.....”
I heard him trying to remind his Dad about himself… occasions when they were together…places they’ve both gone to, and people they both knew… to no avail.
When he put down the phone, I was standing close to him (waiting for him to say something) and he just looked at me for a while. I asked him if he was okay (I didn’t know what to say too!). He said, “Hindi na talaga ako maalala ni Daddy… Hindi nya daw ako kilala.”
It broke my heart seeing my husband so sad and I didn’t know what to do or what to say, so I just hugged him. I told him that everything will be okay and I’m sure that his Dad will eventually recover from his disease through God’s will. I also tried to convince him that his Dad will remember him again.
But sometimes, those we love so dearly are taken from us too soon. A few weeks later after that call, ten days before Eric’s birthday in 2006, Daddy Boy passed away.
My grandmother’s failing memory struck me because it is, so far, the closest incident I have heard in our family. I kept wondering how it would have been like…if I was there visiting her in the hospital. Will she remember me as her “apo”? Will she even recall my name? Will she tell us all the birthday details of everyone in the family? Will she be happy to see us and give her blessing when we make “mano”? I would have loved to see her cheerful and lively liked she used to be.
At this moment, her health is slipping away and precious memory is regressing with it.
From Patti Davis writing about his Father, Ronald Reagan in The Long Goodbye, “I suppose none of us know how we will grow silent, slip away from this life – or when. It happens in God’s time, not ours, and we grow quiet”.
Right now, I’m just praying that God would keep my grandmother safe… and of course, happy.
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..