When I was a little girl, nothing excited me more than when my Dad would come and pick me up at school. With his towering built and powerful demeanor, I was always proud to have someone like him wait for me outside my school’s gate. Gripping his large hands while crossing the street always made me feel safe. No one else made me feel loved the way my Dad did and I adored him completely.
When I was a teenager, I had big dreams of becoming a singer, and my Dad was my number one fan. He encouraged me to join contests and workshops and even accompanied me when I went in for my first “recording.” His encouragement was invaluable and something that I constantly miss.
As a young adult, movie dates with Dad became infrequent. I held his hand less and kissed him less. Dad never said anything and just waited for me to ask him out again. That’s all he wanted, but I insisted that I was growing up and that I didn’t need him anymore.
And then he became very sick.
I refuse to remember him lying on his hospital bed, shriveled, miserable and helpless. That’s not the Dad that I knew. The Dad that I knew did everything heartily and was always ready to tell a joke. The Dad that I knew could protect me.
When I think of him, I choose to remember only the good things – him teaching me how to play “Blue Moon“ on the piano during a summer vacation in Baguio, cooking his favorite kinilaw and tokwa’t baboy, attempting to teach me how to drive and giving up because according to him, he was getting too old for that, singing The Crew Cut’s “Life Could Be a Dream“ or Doris Day’s “Everybody Loves A Lover,” him recounting his elaborate practical jokes, his love for animals, food, and of course, his laugh.
It’s been three years since Dad died and I still resent the fact that I will never be able to hold his hand again, and that I will never have the pleasure of having a father again. The mention of him brings me to tears, which is why I choose not to talk about him.
My Dad was not perfect, but in my heart and mind, he was, and that’s all I choose to remember.
I miss you and I love you, Daddy.