I haven’t blogged in such a long time. I finally sit down to write and suddenly the thought of doing the laundry becomes the most important thing in the world.
This is me trying to resist the urge to run away from the letters that form into words that turn into paragraphs that morph into feelings I’m scared to bare.
This is me being naked, inspired by Spotify’s Evening Acoustic, my go-to playlist when I want to stir my emotions like crazy. I don’t even know why I deliberately subject myself to the onslaught of feelings. Maybe because memories of my dad bubble to the surface. A gentle simmer of air rising up my throat, choking me to tears I refuse to shed even when I’m already drowning in it.
If you want me, I’ll be out here dancing.
This was one of the last precious moments I had with my dad. An overnight staycation he insisted we do as a family even when the logistics of having to travel 45 minutes to Maribago Bluewater Resort in Mactan took a lot of careful planning on my mom’s end — his personal effects, adult nappies, wipes, medications, walker, even pillows to make him comfortable on his wheelchair.
“Daddy, we don’t need to go if it’s just gonna be uncomfortable for you.” I must have told him at least three times prior to that day. I meant it, too. It was an annual leave I requested off work with the intention of simply being by his side even if it was just lying next to him in bed or sitting next to him for his doctor’s appointments. I didn’t want him to please me in exchange for his convenience.
Everyone else thought a change of scenery would be good for him. Fair enough. But I wanted him to know that it was entirely his call. And so we went. Three months later he passed away and that was the last time we ever spent together as a family.
I don’t know if he knew he was gonna go. I mean, sure, we all know we’re gonna go but sitting on the sand with him on his wheelchair, we watched the sunset and I couldn’t help but openly admire the beauty of it all — the sky burning red and orange behind stagnant blue water and white sand.
“The world is so beautiful,” I said. What I didn’t say was that I thought it would be such a shame to leave it.
“It’s all the same,” he replied. I was caught off guard, but let it slip. I didn’t wanna pursue the conversation. On some level, I must have understood even though it left me confused at the time. Was he giving up?
Knowing what I know now from all the books I voraciously read these past few months about life and spirituality, I wish I opened the door of communication a bit more. It’s hard when you come from a family who loves each other deeply but are too closed up to show it or talk about things that are too deep or too personal.
I did try. On a Sunday I was all too happy to skip church in lieu of staying behind with him at home.
“Daddy, what do you think about mortality?” I asked, but couldn’t meet his eyes.
That was all it took to get us talking about how life is a cycle — blah, blah, blah — and how our loved ones would be there to meet us on the other side when our time comes.
I can’t remember at what point in our conversation I took his calloused hand in mine. We were lying side by side. I mustered the courage to tell him what hurt me most to say: “Daddy, it would be unfair of me to ask God to give you more time when I know you’re not happy with your situation right now.”
“Exactly,” he said.
“I’m ready,” he said. “My only request is that God takes me in my sleep.”
I cried. And it didn’t even embarrass me to cry with him still breathing right there as if I was grieving for him already. I think he understood.
“Meet me when it’s my turn, okay?”
I took his silence as a yes.
*Raven at 3 years old