A thousand and two hundred fifty days had already passed since my father left this world. I still grieve for him and his memory stays fresh on my mind. His relationship with his children and the way he brought us up were far from perfect. But the little good things he left and the lessons he taught us remain etched on my heart and resonate continually within me.
“Tatay, salamat po…”
A hundred and seventy eight weeks had already gone since God took my father’s life away. I think I’ve already healed and I’ve somehow learned to cope with the loss of a dear loved one. However, questions like these remain:
“When does a child cease from needing his father? When does a father’s role to his children ever stop? Or does it really have to?”
At 24 years I look like a grown up man. Well, I should be. In fact I look a bit older than my contemporaries. My height and my manner of clothing may have something to do with it. Or perhaps, the saying is true: You're never a man till your father is gone. I lost mine before I turned 21. Still, maybe, it’s just me and my desire to grow old fast – to escape from being a child and the want of a father; to prove myself strong; to survive. Look closer though and you’ll see – I am still a child at heart.
Three years, five months and three days and I’m still counting. I’m still missing my Tatay. If he were here today, he would have been proud of my first (and current) job. I would have set up a friendly date for him and Inay and they would have enjoyed it even for just a little while. (Their marriage broke up before I ever stepped in First Grade.) He would have smirked when I first had a girlfriend and I would have confided to him why we really broke up. He would have grinned and given me that been-there-done-that look and assured me that everything will turn out fine (or at least better than what he went through in life.) I knew he would think that he’s not been a perfect example of a husband and a father but it would have been good if at least I’ve made him feel that I'd learned from his mistakes…that I’d still be thankful to God for him…that I’d still love and honor him for who he was to us… and that when I become a father myself, I would somehow look back to the way he raised us, his children.
“Tatay, kung nandito lang po kayo!”
A thousand and two hundred fifty risings and settings of the sun and I’m still alive – living my life! The source of my earthly existence had long gone but one thing remains and that’s what’s important: I have an Everlasting Father up above whose love and care will always abide. I don’t have to worry that one day he might be gone. He is immortal. His fatherhood will never cease. Our relationship is not time-bound. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Ancient of Days.
One day I’ll stop counting years and months and weeks. I’ll discontinue measuring spans of time. I may not know the answer to the questions posed above but on that day I’ll understand what these words really mean: Father... Everlasting... Eternal life with Him.