Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Father was Never Around

It’s my father’s birthday today. If he was alive, he is already 75 years old. If he was still around, he would have been asking me practically everyday [online] if I am having a baby yet. If he was still alive, he would have been waiting for me all day to go online so I could talk to him. If he was still alive, he would have been looking at my photo albums all the time whether from our countless collections or in my Friendster account. If he was still alive, I wouldn’t have to miss him this much.

I have some vivid recollections of my father as I and my two brothers were growing up. Though my memories of him are not that much because he was away most of our growing up years but still we cherish those memories. He left the country when I was in 4th Grade and worked in a ship as a Seaman for 20 long years. I was already working when he finally retired and put up a printing business. It was his dream-come-true kind of business.

My father was not around when I was growing up. He missed a lot of those special and significant events in my life. He was not there when I graduated from Elementary. He was not there when I graduated from High School. He was not there when I graduated from College. And he is already gone when I graduated from Graduate School and received my Master’s Degree. He was never around because he worked so hard to send us to school.

I hardly know my father though I know that he loved music. He loved to sing to me and my two brothers when we were kids. He loved to play the harmonica and we were his only audience. But I don’t know if he knew how to dance. I have never seen him dance. I never had the chance to dance with him and had a "Father and Daughter Dance" number. He was not around when I turned 18th. And he is already gone when I got married. He was never around because he worked hard to give us a good life.

It’s my father’s birthday today and I had no recollection how he celebrated his birthdays when he was still around. He usually celebrated his birthday on the ship. And he had never attended any of his kids’ birthdays too. When he was home for a short vacation, it was always a time where there was nothing to celebrate at all. There were only about a couple of Christmases that we celebrated with him. And we celebrated their Silver Wedding Anniversary a month late because it was the only time that he got his vacation. He was never around to enjoy life because we was busy working to give as a happy life.

My father may not be around now but I do know that he is very much around in spirit. He is very much around when I feel sad. He is very much around when I am afraid. He is very much around when I am homesick. He is very much around when I am happy. My father was not always around when he was still alive but he was always there when we needed him.

Happy Birthday Dad... Thank you for not being around. I love you much and I miss you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Last Breakfast

He woke me up a little late than usual that early morning of March 1996. The sun was already up and blinding my eyes as it flooded my room with warm bright light. It was already a quarter passed six in the morning and it was not a good sign. It meant that I was already late for work. So, I hurriedly jumped out of my bed and sprinted my way to the bathroom. The cold water instantaneously woke my sleeping consciousness up and that gave me my needed tug to come around. My time in the bathroom was short compared to my normal routine. After the quick cold bath, I did everything I got to do that morning all so quickly to get things done with the little time I had in my hand.

As I was coming down the stairs I saw him sitting on the coach with his hands on his head and his elbows leaning on his knees. He seemed not feeling well. I thought maybe he was just still sleepy. He was usually up by 3 in the morning and already working on some printing orders in his workshop while the rest of the world was still sound asleep. He would prepare breakfast at around 4 o’clock while Minerva [the printing machine] was still running and printing on its own. He usually woke me up around 4:30 AM so I could take a warm bath because I still need to get the heater ready for that. I was usually having breakfast by 5:30 AM and out of the house [with my packed lunch which he also prepared as he made my breakfast] by quarter to six. And when I come home from work at around 6 pm, a warm and hearty supper was already waiting for me to feast on.

He woke me up a little late that morning. Unlike before, he did not walk me to the door like he used to do every morning when I leave for work. And that morning I vividly hear what he said as I was about to walk to the door. I can vividly remember he said… "I guess you have to make your own breakfast tomorrow."

It was indeed the last breakfast that he cooked for me and the last breakfast that I would ever treasure… because that night Dad passed away.

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