For some life lasts a short while, but the memories it holds last forever. – Laura Swenson
If he were alive today, my dad would have turned 89 years old. It’s been three years since we lost him but he still stand tall in the recess of my mind. Yes, a beautiful memory that would last a lifetime. And it’s been three years now that I’ve been blogging about him, a tribute to a man whom I called DAD.
It is always hard to remember the days when he was alive, not because they are not worth-remembering but it’s because I sometimes cry silent tears every time I remember. I see him at times in his favorite nook, reading the daily news from cover to cover. I see him at times smiling at me, that kind of indulgent smile that says, “I believe in what you are saying.” I remember the days when I was in high school and it was only the three of us (my eldest brother, Dad and I) when he would come home after work with a small shopping bag in his hands and I would eagerly look inside on what dinner will be for the three of us. I learned my first lesson in cooking through him. It was because of his encouragement that I learned to devour books. He taught me how to be self-reliant and independent, always with the thought that one should never be ashamed of hardships in life because somehow those circumstances will teach us responsibility. “Success does not happen overnight“, he would say, success comes when you know the sacrifice of striving harder.
I vividly remember this, it happened when he was still strong enough to share what he went through to finish his studies and be employed in a learning institution that up to now is first on my list of schools in the country. We were having a casual conversation one afternoon, quietly sipping coffee with him and mom when a ice cream vendor passed by near our gate. Then he told me this story, when he was new here in Manila, he also did odd jobs just to survive and finance his studies.
“Ginawa ko rin yan”, he said.
“Ang alin Dad?” I asked.
“Magtinda ng ice cream sa kariton, parang ganyan”, at the same time pointing to the ice cream vendor that has just passed by.
Back then, he was living in Balic-balic with an uncle and other relatives. In those times, Ayala Avenue was still undeveloped and it was there that he would go three times a week to sell ice cream. I didn’t know that part of his life until that afternoon and I was so touched, I was silently crying inside. I was more proud of him and when he died I recalled that story to his younger siblings and my brothers. I was privileged to share that particular phase in his life that they didn’t know about.
When my daughter graduated from college, they were left at the house because the entrance tickets at PICC were only good for four persons. When we came home, Nissa proudly put her Magna Cum Laude medal around his neck then to mom next. He was so proud of my daughter, I saw his tears of joy. We were all laughing at the same time.
Today is also the Feast Day of Senor Sto. Nino, what a nice day to celebrate his 89th birthday. My daughter also offered mass for him this morning.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD, wherever you are, I know you are happy with the Lord.