One Year

Monday, March 21, 2016

Dear Papa,

Today is your first birthday in heaven and my 30th here on earth. We had a simple celebration at the clubhouse earlier today. Our family friends, neighbors and a few of our relatives who were with us the same time last year were also with us today. Even the priest who celebrated today's mass was the one who held the final mass before you were laid to rest (specifically before you were placed in a jar haha).

father and daughter

Wow. One year. It's a long time, but when I look back, I feel like it was just yesterday. Maybe because questions are still left unanswered. Or there's this familiar feeling that stings when I remember both happy memories, as well as trying times last year.

God is graceful and merciful. We didn't know how to begin life again the day we brought you home in a jar (in a jar?!), but we're OK. It doesn't mean we stopped grieving though. We still miss you everyday. And I can't gaze at your pictures for a long time -- tried and tested, I'll burst into tears. But I no longer cry everyday -- just when I'm alone, which is often, but still! Everyday we move forward with life is a miracle.

A week before you were called by God, it was a daily trip to the hospital. For years, we haven't had family dinners because I was already away from home and that we had different schedules. But that week? We fed you with diet-prescribed hospital food and we ate dinner altogether in your private room. At least, in that short span of time, we were there together as a family.

I woke up early on March 21 last year to finish some freelance work because I was already behind. I was so tired during weekdays coming from the office then to the hospital, so I opted to do a few hours of work in the morning, even if it was my birthday. Also, the doctors said you will be discharged from the hospital that day, so I didn't visit you in the morning. How ironic. I didn't hear from you again. And I regret everytime I remember doing a task I hated so much instead of spending time with you.

You know what Pa, while you were in the ICU, I nonchalantly asked Xoce "Sino na maghahatid sa'kin sa altar?" like I already knew what's going to happen. So sino nga ba? Si Mama lang. I wouldn't want anyone else to take your place. You know the faith of a child who believes Santa Claus is real? It's similar to that. I'm still hoping and praying you'll be there by my side, walking down the aisle with Mama and me. I probably won't see you, but I'll take any sign there is. Sana may makakita sa'yo. Kahit kilabutan sila, ok lang. I just want you there.


So I'm getting married in a few weeks. This is it. And it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart big time not to hear your voice. You were always there in every graduation, every recognition day, every morning when you drive me to school, every Sunday when you drive me back to QC in college, every time I go up on stage, and every time I need a ride home when I started working. Ngayon lang wala. I don't know how brides go through the torture when they're missing a parent on their big day. And the brides who have both of their parents? They have no idea how lucky they are. No idea. I know, it will be an almost perfect wedding -- just one piece missing. Siguro, I'll have to trick myself it's a positive thing to skip an awkward father-and-daughter dance routine.

But then again, I'll trade anything for that awkward dance with you.

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