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Daddy, Daddy April 30, 2010

Posted by semikaljunkie26 in Daddy, family.
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OK OK I plead guilty. Writing initial paragraphs is something I am not good at. With this, allow me to begin by saying my dad passed away last Wednesday around 10 PM due to heart attack while reading The Bible at his desk. Yes, that effortless, that impulsive as if dying can be done twice. Tsk tsk tsk ang daya mo naman dad, di ka man lang nagtext na aalis ka na. Alright dad, you taught me how to write. Let me try. Let me try hard.

The after-shift habit for most Chase agents means smoking til judgment day while ranting about some paranoid customers, or planning for the weekend, or simply maglandian in front of the PhilamLife building with immense delight. I was with Mel that time and we were talking about his dad getting a bypass, and my dad requiring an angioplasty defined as the mechanical widening of a narrowed or totally obstructed blood vessel. I’m no medical expert but I knew it was something serious.

Late November my mom already told me about how serious the condition was as confessed by our family doctor. As per procedures, any blockages in the vessels leading to the heart will be removed to restore proper blood flow for the price of no less than P100,000. Jesus Christ! We were scrambling where to get that lump sum, but my dad never wanted it. He said he’ll just go by fruits and veggies every meal and refrain from alcohol and stress. Whatever the father says, he gets, so we couldn’t talk more.

He perfectly knew he would never have much time. I called mommy early December to check dad’s condition. She passed the receiver to him and he even asked me if he can be covered by my insurance. I said it was not quite possible because I would not yet be confirmed regular until March. If he had waited for March he could have gotten that angioplasty. But no! Hindi ka na naghintay daddy, kainis three months na lang naman! I also knew he got a managerial position for a local TV network in Lucena so my impression was he’ll be under massive stress. I just told him to take it nice and slow. One thing about my dad, we can’t stop him from doing something. Call it stubbornness to the highest degree.

I went home for the holidays. Reaching the doorsteps I went to check my parents’ room and there I saw dad sleeping. As always I gave him a sweet peck on the cheek and a gentle pat on the shoulders just like a regular father-and-son gesture. He asked what I wanted for lunch. Pritong galunggong saka kamatis na may sibuyas, I said. In five minutes he drove to the market to get the fish I dared not eat when in Manila. I’d rather experience starvation ala Nicole Richie or Karen Carpenter than amoebiasis or red tide, if you know what I mean.

On Christmas day he made lambing to me to buy him a nice pair of denim pants from Bench. He’s a size 38 so I drove a sales clerk nuts trying to one in their stock room. Good thing he did so he was spared from verbal abuse and slight physical injuries. Dad used the pair of jeans during the New Year’s eve mass. Obviously he so much enjoyed wearing it he asked for a new pair, however of another design still from Bench. Pagbalik ko na lang sa January 12 punta tayo mall kasi sweldo ko sa 11, na- hold up na kasi ako ni mommy ng pang-grocery, I jokingly said. Little did I know it was one of the last funny moments for me and my dad. If only I knew that would be his last pair of pants, I could’ve gotten something from Calvin Klein or Marlboro Classics kahit na katumbas nun isang cutoff salary ko.

It happened on January 9, 2007, 10:35PM. I was getting ready for work when my baby brother’s girlfriend Bunny called in. She was crying, stuttering and all. Nagbreak ba kayo ni Budz? I asked. Kuya hindi, wala na si daddy, wala na, her statement was followed by a deep breath and several sobs. Sige, sige was the only word that came out of my mouth. It took minutes before I was finally able to digest the news. I sat beside my cousin Al, and cried like a toddler. I called up my manager Dennis to inform him I’ll be off work for the next few days. As soon as everything’s settled including my clothes good for two weeks, I realized it was already past midnight. The next available trip from Manila to Lucena was at 4 AM. This was the nauseating part because all I ever wanted to do was to get home. My housemates wanted to stay with me until early morning yet I told them they all have to sleep for tomorrow’s work. I was staring at a blank space while smoking until 3AM. Knowing I have to help myself, I went to bed because I would be needing all the energy the universe could offer.

Few hours later, I found myself sitting in a bus. No matter how loud I played my MP3, I still can’t get the thought of dad’s death out of my head. No other option was available for me but to recollect our times together. Dad is a philanderer, but his love is only devoted to my mom; he forgets bills but always make it to the due date; he makes us laugh specially during meals and farts while the whole family is watching TV; he drives me to the terminal everytime I’ll head back to Manila for work even when I was still studying in UPLB; he taught us to say what we want yet with respect and dignity; he didn’t let us live a luxurious life to know how daunting it is to earn bucks. My dad is not perfect. But his imperfections made me learn some essentials which we can never ever learn from school or read from books. I guess there is really a certain unique bond between fathers and sons that nobody can truly explain. It is something innate in us. And true, humans are fallible.

One time dad and I went out for lunch. There he confessed we have two half-sisters and a half-brother, borne of his affairs with other women, and his strong attempts to make both ends meet for all of us. On his last few months, I felt more of his presence thru his text messages and phone calls, our lunch out on weekends, and it was only last year during Father’s Day I courageously told him how much I loved him. Dad isn’t dramatic but to my surprise he replied how proud and rewarding it was for him to have a son like me. Ang sweet nung moment na yun.

Recalling all those times with daddy, all I did was cry the first time I saw him inside a coffin. Gusto ko siyang yakapin, halikan, and I was even telling na nakakainis ka dad kasi binigla mo naman kami ayan nakapagleave tuloy ako ng wala sa oras. I was talking to him just like how I talked to him when I was 5 or 7 years old, when I was gullible and naughty. How I wish I could take another chance. Lord isang araw lang po with daddy parang nung naglalakad kami papunta sa Church na magkahawak kamay nung bata pa’ko. But doing a reality check, I am now 24 years old. Dad would want me to be tough for my mom and for my siblings.

He didn’t leave us empty-handed. From insurance policies to pension, everything was accomplished by my dad. The point isn’t the money. It is the fact he never wanted us left hanging suffering from the burden of his death. No words could express my gratitude to all those people who gave their assistance and moral support in whichever way they know. I don’t really know how to close this essay. A narrative consists of 5,000 words or less isn’t enough to describe how he really lived his life. This is just something I want to do to keep my sanity. Our roads will cross again. Mahal kita daddy. Mahal ka namin.

***Ruben Calvelo Sr. was born May 5, 1947. He died January 9, 2008. It was a good 60 years. On his last moment, he was reading The Bible. He gave himself to Him. Have a safe trip.

****I wrote this more than a year ago, January 13, 2008. I still immensely miss my dad. Big time.