Today is my father’s third death anniversary. Three years have already passed but it seems like yesterday. Not that I have not moved on with my life without him, or that I am still haunted with his memories. I simply missed him.
Time truly heals. Before, all I wanted was that when I remember my father, I would smile and not be saddened with his memories. I guess I’ve finally got what I wanted, I’m smiling now. Though I always try to paint my father’s face inside my head, I find it hard to do so. What I see on him is fading, but who I see him is clearing up. I love him more now. I think what the people say is true – that we make heroes of our dead. He is my hero, he had always been and I had not realized that before. What I learned from his unique ways has greatly influenced my life now.
My father had so many dreams for me, though they were not really very specific. He just wanted a comfortable life for me, and that I would be successful in all my undertakings. Maybe that’s why I aim perfection in my crafts for that was how he trained me. He used to appreciate my drawings when I was young, so for once I dreamt to be a painter. Later, mathematics interested me so I developed my skills on it. Everytime I brought home a medal in all the competitions I joined, he would be very happy, especially when it was a champion. And he even wished I would always be the president of the class, or of this club, or that club. Nah, I don’t think I have so much talent for that, so I disobeyed him on that matter. LOL!
I have fond memories of my father. I loved the times he would carry me on his shoulders when I was very young. Or the times we held hand walking the streets. He helped me with my school projects as well, especially when they involved working with tools. He usually did the assembly, I on the finishing touch. LOL! My father was a farmer and a fisherman. We had several fishing boats before, large and small ones. Many times he took me fishing with him. We normally set out early in the mornings. We would traverse along the coastline of the city. The sun climbing over the horizon on one side, and the villages slowly waking up on the other. There were no canning factories during that time, and the shores were rich. We used nets and the catch was always full – with fishes (known as “isda sa bato”), crabs, shells, and others. And in the afternoon, we head back home as the breeze stirred the water and the tides rose.
I never got to experience it again when I entered high school. Fishing no longer interested me, and factories mushroomed along the coast, polluting the once pristine waters. Academics took most of my time. And still, my father continued to support me. Even in college, he had no objections in my decisions. He wanted me to decide everything for myself, as long as I would be wise and responsible in my actions. I had my first drink with him (over rum and cola), though not my first cigarette (not that I’m a smoker!). And when it came to love and girls and more, he always had a couple of advice (and I really found it cheesy at times).
My father and I did not have a very tight relationship; I guess I am closer to my mother. And there were rough times between us, too. I think it was part of my growing up, being idealistic and critical, and seeing imperfections and flaws in him. I was not different from others, having that love-hate syndrome and I-want-more traumas. But I was then a kid, at times self-centered and narrow-minded. I grew up, and I understood him more with each passing years. Years of learning and realizing I was becoming more like him.
I remember the book “My Father’s Keeper” by father-and-son Norbert and Stephan Lebert. It chronicles the lives of the children of famous Nazi officials after the War up to the present. It is fascinating how these people handled the legacy their fathers left, how they survived the shame and the trials, and how they remained loyal and respectful to their fathers (except for a very few). Those officials may have been the most ruthless people that time, but they were fathers. In the eyes of their children, they were still good fathers despite who they were.
My father is certainly not a Nazi. LOL! And I am thankful I did not undergo such ordeal in order to realize how much I value him as a person and as a father. My father is gone now but his influence in me remains. But how I wish he is still here. How I wish I can share my blessings and success to him! Because I was not able to do so; he died days before I received my first pay check. Well, at least I have my mother and loved ones to share everything with now.
I am not sad right now. I simply miss my father. :-)