I have a lot of fond memories of my late Dad. Of course, not all memories are probably worth reminiscing, and if we had a choice, there are certain memories which we’d rather bury. But for me, those memories – good and bad – are made even more precious now that he is gone.
|Daddy and his pouty little girl. Trip to Baguio, 1976|
If I were describe a specific memory with my Dad that is fondest to me, it would be the time when I got back from Baguio during the Holy Week of 1995. I was spending the Holy Week in Baguio with my Mom and cousin, but I had to make an emergency trip back because I went down with chickenpox. (I know, I know, I was a late bloomer!) Prior to the trip, Daddy and I were not on speaking terms because he had just found out about my relationship with Baggy. I kept it as a secret from the rest of my family because I was afraid that they would not be able to accept him. He was very mad at me, and he was really hurt because I had somehow “betrayed” his trust.
When Dad opened the door to our house that night when I arrived, he gave me that dagger look which sort of demanded, “What the heck are you doing here?“
In a meek voice I told him that I had to go back home because I came down with chickenpox. He just shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “So what does that got to do with me?” You see, Dad had always been the one to tend to us when we got sick. He was always the one who took pains to prepare meals and bring it to our bedside, forcing us to eat even if we didn’t have the appetite. He was the one who got up in the dead of the night to check our temperatures and see if we were alright. He couldn’t sleep if he knew that we were experiencing discomfort or pain.
Clearly, to say that he was still mad at me was an understatement. If Daddy were mad, he’d talk our ears off until he felt better. But the silence was another. It was something that I’d never seen him do.
At that time, I wondered if Daddy would keep up with the cold treatment all throughout and completely ignore me during the rest of my sickness. But know what, I was proven wrong. Even if he was emotionally hurt, he didn’t let that keep him from fulfilling his parental duties to his sick daughter. Daddy would always be Daddy, and in spite of my shortcomings, he tended to me like always, and made sure that I get enough rest while I recovered.
One night, while he was lying on the sofa, probably exhausted from the day’s chores, I mustered the courage to come to his side and try to make amends. I gently caressed his forehead with my hand and said, “Daddy, sorry.” Those were my only words. I don’t remember anymore if I cried, but I do remember that Daddy himself was teary-eyed. It was a very emotional moment for both of us.
After a while, he gave a nod and hugged me. And that was it. I didn’t have to explain anything, and neither did he demand any explanation. Everything was forgiven.
This was what I learned on that day: whatever my faults, whatever wrong I had done to him, whatever I had done that displeased him, his love was always big enough to forgive me.
Nevertheless, it would take another four long years before Daddy would give his permission for Baggy to visit me at home. It didn’t mean that just because he forgave me, the same would be extended to my boyfriend. Hey, don’t feel too bad about that, after all, we did end up together. On my wedding day, he proudly said in his message: “I did not lose a daughter; instead, I gained a son.” The happiest words I heard on that day.
Now that Baggy is also a Tatay, I could only hope that he and Aya will also have that special kind of relationship that I’d had with my Dad.