[ Note from YLB : We never met Melanie up close and personal in HS and therefore didn't even see the shadow of her recently departed father then. But in many ways we feel the loss felt by our dear batchmate, whose gift of magnetic charm we were lucky enough to enjoy in many a reunion. Deepest sympathies, Ganda.]
Dear Melanie and kabatch :
NO TWO DADS are alike. The sum of our experiences, bondings, feelings, conflicts and resolutions with our papas are unique to every son and daughter. While it would be nice to group together our collective feel-good (and feel-bad) stories about Dad, each relationship is a story in itself, we hope you agree. And hopefully, most will have ended (or continue) on a positive, upbeat note.
If your Dad is anything like mine, your history with him isn’t as dramatic or tumultuous as the one with Mom (sorry for the frankness) where every issue is a drama, and every debate has a potential to end in screaming match, tears or messy embrace. Dad is more likely the stabilizing element in family, usually choosing logic and good sense over I-know-what’s-best-for-you or tough love approaches that often turn us 180 degrees away from what is thought to be best for us.
But the twist in my Dad kwento is that for many years, I didn’t see him and take advantage of the comforting father-son banter that punctuated much of my adolescence and now, each of my recent visits back home.
The years of estrangement weren’t consecutive but more cumulative, the first hiatus caused by too many good times in university; the second when we naively thought we could start a family without any help from lolos and lolas, the third when, picking up the shattered pieces of a broken brood, I was too ashamed to show myself to the folks, and the present fourth now that I am overseas.
Amazingly, each time I make my way back to the family home, thirsting for the familiar and seeking out the love I selfishly presume will always be there , my father patiently waits to reassure me that everything is as I left it. It’s almost as if he knows I will return each time, definitely older but not always the wiser.
I may be stretching your patience here in not making my point, sorry.
It may just be me, but fathers have this special quality of being nearly god-like, possessing special knowledge about you and your so-called life, but not revealing it too much too soon, lest you not benefit from it and stumble over the giddiness of newfound knowledge. (Apologies if I sound heretical.)
They have this inexhaustible reservoir of tolerance, calmness & forebearance, our dads, sometimes not even betraying the slightest hint of how immature, silly or unready we are for the tasks for which they patiently prepare us.
Before we know it, we gain loads of confidence by merely listening to their steady guidance, the sureness of their touch, and the counsel of their years.
When we are severed from them by distance, death or forgetfulness, we regret the additional time we could’ve spent with them had we forseen the future, not realizing that each moment we shared with Dad is already a gift in itself, that nothing can take all those moments away from us.
Is there anything more gratifying than being in the presence of a person who knows that he participated in your creation, that you cannot help but be beautiful in his sight, and that, at the end of the day, you can do no wrong in his eyes?
Mourn not for the moments lost dear Melanie, but for the good times you and your dad jointly and permanently etched in your store of memories. A treasure that neither age nor death can ever take away.
Prayers, hugs and sympathies from all of us.