Today, while cleaning some of my old things, your 11- year old grandchild found this photo of us, taken on my 18th birthday. Staring at this photo transported me back in time to that night at the ballroom of Shangrila Makati, where I celebrated my “debut” wearing that crazy heavy gown. There were a lot of firsts– that was the first time you and mom began treating me like an adult and no longer like a little girl. My debut was the 1st birthday party held at the Shangrila ballroom. You were my 1st dance. My 1st hero in life. And you will always be my 1st love ?
I often wondered how my life would have turned out if I had listened to the one very important, life- changing action you asked me to do but didn’t. If I did though, I would probably be living in Europe as you had suggested. I would probably be speaking fluent French or Italian. I would have probably have gone back to school, or even found a way to get into one of the post- graduate programs at Oxford (because that was a dream that was never realized). I would probably never have had to go through so much difficulty in my mid 20s for situations where I did not even figure. I would not have been made to suffer the consequences of actions I never even did.
But Daddy, because I was stubborn and because you, Mommy, and your 2 older sons (my brothers) brought me up to be independent and tough, I somehow survived that dark period. Also because you had left me with such a strong support system in Mommy and in my 2 brothers, I was able to get out of a deep and depressive state without having to seek professional help. I managed to keep a positive and cheerful outlook althroughout. While I suffered privately. While I cried myself to sleep for many months and years. While I asked without end why I was given these kinds of trials in my life. While I wondered what I did so bad in the past that my sins had to be expiated by sacrifice. Yes, I went through so much emotionally. And though I would share some of the stories with people that were close to me, no one really knew the magnitude of the situation. Because no one lived my life. But I am sure you knew what was going on with me. And you knew about all the talk and all the gossip that either came close to the truth, or couldn’t have been further from it. Somehow on those days, months, and years that I was so weakened and drained, you found ways to give me hope. I would remember those words you had uttered before, “in adversity, there is always opportunity.” I think you told me that while you were reading the autobiography of Lee Iacocca!
So in that dark period of my life, I lived by a lot of your words. And I turned things around for myself. You always said that no one’s life is ever perfect, that not every aspect of one’s life can be close to perfection, that there will always be flaws. But it is in how one can quickly assess, accept, and modify or change, that one can continue to evolve and move forward. Change is good, you said. And change always comes with risks.
Daddy, if I had listened to you, I wouldn’t have ended up with 2 of the most precious gifts in my life to date– my 2 children. So, sorry Dad, but if I had to rewind everything to get to the past, I’d still not have listened to you, but only because of these 2 kids 🙂 They are my world. They are my everything. And because you had given me so many life lessons, because I was so fortunate to have you and Mommy in my life to guide me while I was growing up, I am attempting to impart those very lessons now to my 2 not-so-young ones today. I just hope I am as successful as you and Mom both were with us (well, more like my 2 brothers because they are not as crazy as I am haha). Your grandkids are adolescents now, and as I stare at them while they sleep and while I type this, I couldn’t help but wish that you can come back to life even for one day just to see them and interact with them.
While you had left a permanent void in my life when you departed, you had already managed to cement things into their respective places, fill the holes that would have needed filling. You timed everything. But still, your life in the corporeal world was too short. You would have been 79 years old this year, fellow Gemini. There is not a day I don’t feel that I was robbed of my time with you, but I also feel that in reality, you never really left me. Everything I am today is a product of how you and mom had brought me up. I just wish you were still alive in your physical state to see all 7 of your grandchildren and how well my 2 get along with them, to see how much technology has improved since that time you brought home that mobile phone which looked like a military telephone, to live to see Donald Trump unbelievably become the president of the United States (!!!).
No regrets, Daddy. Change is happening in my life. Big change. 2017 is going to be the year I implement that change 🙂 This year, 2016, was the catalyst for it. And it’s about to come to a close in less than 2 months. It has been a crazy 14 years without you. But in those years of not having you physically around, my relationships with Mommy and my 2 brothers became much, much tighter. And things I had prayed for and worked hard for, happened. I’m pretty sure you had your hand in them 🙂
I miss you Daddy. I pray that you are happy wherever you are. And I know you know I am finally in a good place in my life now, and that I am so grateful for all that because of you and Mommy. I love you forever. I hope you let me dream of you more often. Good night, wherever you are!
Also known to a few as The Bag Hag 🙂