It's been almost 2 mos. since my father passed away. I still miss him. I still feel the guilt because I was not able to take care of him as much. I was too busy with my life. I thought I still have time. I never thought his passing will be swift. I thought we had more time than that. I just applied for my FMLA leave the day before he passed. I was hoping that he would somehow make it to Christmas 2011. I think he believed he would make it to Christmas too. I am haunted by the look in his eyes the last time he was conscious. His pupils were dilated from anxiety. He was fish out of water. The hospice nurse (and I) believed that he had pulmonary embolism which caused labored breathing and rapid decline.
I feel tears swelling up my lower lids everytime I pass their apartment and places that remind me of him. My heart stops whenever my baby mentions the word "tatay," which he does everytime we visit the apartment that my father shared with my mother who still lives there.
My grief is still fresh and raw.
Our relationship was far from perfect. It was dysfunctional at best, hostile at it's worst. It is a long story. However, since he passed, I just remember the good times, the good Tatay (Filipino for father). I think of his sacrifices, his hardwork so we could have good education and life. The thing that I would never forget is how his hands looked. I remember how his fingers had gotten crooked as he aged from arthritis and decades of menial jobs. I remember he told me to cut my home-made soap smaller as he had difficulty holding it. When he died that's the only part of his body that did not really changed. He lost a lot of weight. His muscles atrophied. His skin discolored and pale. He lost his hair. But his hands remained the same, immortalizing in my memory his life of hardwork and sacrifices for his family.
It is difficult to lose a parent, no matter how imperfect the relationship was. I prefer him alive. I know my life was better when he's just 11 miles away. I love you, Tatay.. Thanks for everything.