On Father's Day, a letter to Tatay
Eight years ago, a text message from my cousin changed my life forever.
It still haunts me every time I recall everything that happened that day.
It was a gloomy Wednesday afternoon. I couldn’t move, I could barely speak, and tears welled up in my eyes as I read the message. Everything momentarily stopped. I hurriedly packed up my things and skipped my remaining classes.
When I arrived home, emotions were heavier. I saw my Nanay on the couch as my aunt tried to comfort her. On the other side, my 4-year-old sister sobbed as she screamed, “Tatay, wake up.” My relatives surrounded a white coffin placed at our living area with lights, flowers, and candles beside it. I came closer to you and tears started to fall. I asked God, "Why has this happened so early?"
That moment was a nightmare.
Eight years ago still feels like yesterday. I could still picture you in my mind. A bubbly father who would tease his children when things got tough. A father who would make sure that everything we needed was ready before we asked for it. A father who would think of us before himself. A father who was selfless.
You were the coolest and humblest person I knew. I remember one time when we teased you that we would call you "Daddy" instead of "Tatay". You were pissed off. You took this joke seriously and reminded us that we were not rich because you believed the term ‘Daddy’ was just for the upper class. Despite that, you did everything to make ends meet and provided things that would make us happy.
Life goes on as they say
Tatay, I want you to know we are okay now. However, there were times that I wish you were with us, especially as we celebrated milestones in life. But I know you’re intently watching over us every step of the way, guiding us and making sure that we are in good hands.
Don’t worry. We fulfilled your dreams for us. Your dream for Kim to be an engineer came true! And I graduated from UP like what you wanted for me back then.
I am now working in a news organization. You always told me to chase my passion. This has always been my dream, and you knew that. Please continue guiding me as I go on with this journey.
NJ is in senior high school while Angel is in the 9th grade. Both of them are doing pretty well in school. NJ represented his school in different baseball competitions. I think he is following in your footsteps. He is your biggest fan. I remember you always brought him with you to watch baseball games, and asked him to accompany you wherever you went. He misses you a lot.
Angel is very “kikay” now. Well, you knew she would be since then. She won't leave home without anything on her face, and takes her time in choosing what to wear. She joined pageants in her school. Her boy classmates started to notice her and some are courting her now. I assure you her kuyas are closely watching her and will not let anyone hurt your princess.
Don’t worry about Nanay. She is happy now though we know that part of her is still longing for a husband. We are doing everything to put a glow on her face again but I know she would be happier if you were still with us. She deserves a pat on the back, Tatay. She managed to send us all to school despite financial difficulties back then.
My strongest critic yet my biggest fan
You were the best Tatay, I must say. You never pressured me to be an honor student, but I think the only way I could think of to pay back your sacrifices was by giving you good grades, so I did. I hope this makes you proud.
You were my greatest motivator. Whenever I felt like quitting, you were there to cheer me up and lift my spirits.
One thing I can't forget was when I represented my school in an essay writing competition. I placed second. I was excited to come home and share the news with the family and when I told you this, you said, “Son, second place is the first loser.”
I nearly cried that time because I thought you were not happy with what I achieved. Days passed and I learned that you proudly told your colleagues about this achievement, and some of them congratulated me when they visited us.
Tatay, sorry for the decisions I made on a whim which I knew would upset you. This is the phase of my life in which I need your guidance even more. I don’t want to disappoint you again just because I don’t think of the repercussions of every decision I make. I hope you will not stop guiding me up there.
If I could turn back time
If I only knew you would leave us early, I would have enjoyed and spent a lot more time with you. I would have said I love you many times when you were still here. I should have lessened my kakulitan and not disobeyed you. I know it’s not too late; we still have Nanay with whom we can share our love and make everything up to you.
As the world celebrates Father’s Day, it may sound cliche, but let me tell you that you’re the best father on earth. You may not be physically with us anymore but you will be forever in our hearts.
How I wish there was an internet connection there in heaven so that you could read everything I wrote here. Social media is once again flooded with lengthy appreciation posts about their father, and I will not let this day pass without me sharing mine.
Happy Father’s Day, Tatay! I love you to the moon and back. I’m forever grateful. Thank you for everything. – Rappler.com