escapesanddiaries
Remembering missing Dad, A Daughter's First Love
Love & Life Relationship

Remembering and missing Dad, A Daughter’s First Love

My dad passed away when I was 14. He had diabetes, according to the doctor, which we didn’t find out until he was admitted to the hospital. Remembering and missing dad was always part of me upon growing up. He’s my real hero—a daughter’s first love.

Table of contents

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Remembering and missing Dad. Stories of loss and struggles

I can still clearly remember how we rushed him to the hospital that dark early morning at 5 am and the bang of the train that passed by was the only thing I could hear. He collapsed on the floor of our small narrow flat, hit his head on the wall, and couldn’t move. Since I was still a teenager back then, I couldn’t help him stand up, so I ran to ask assistance from a lucky neighbor, my dad’s colleague. And then dad lost consciousness.

We immediately rushed him to the hospital, where the doctors and nurses directed him to the emergency room. “What should I do?” I restlessly yelped to myself. My hands and body were trembling, and I could feel my blood running through my veins. “God, please don’t take my father away,” I uttered, repeating the prayer to myself over and over again while waiting for the doctors who were trying to save his life.

God was kind.

He let him live for three more days. My brother soon came and phoned mom. Mom and my eldest sister were massively devastated hearing the news. As a consequence, mom hurriedly took a bus from the province to Manila. It was a six-hour ride. Meanwhile, during those days that he was laid on the ICU bed, he could scarcely open his eyes and speak a word. The first and last words I heard from him was “darling, don’t cry; I will be alright.”

Tears.

It broke my heart, and I cried my eyes out like a baby. I gave him the tightest embrace I could ever give, watched him over the nights, barely got proper appetite and sleep, and wasn’t ready to let him go. Beside him was my mom, completely restless. All I was manifesting and hoping in my heart was dad would live longer, that I was ready to look after him whatever happened even if that meant stopping school. I had unrelieved thoughts in my mind and I was bloated with sadness.

Gripping his hands tight, I had without any thoughts that those hours would be the last moments that I would be holding him warm. In my heart, even at a young age, I grasped that he tried to fight, but at one point, he drew his one last breath.

Grief.

We were all grieving for losing the most tender-hearted person in the family.

Remembering and missing Dad’s beautiful memories and recovering from his loss

It took us months to recover from our loss. We couldn’t contain the agony and pain of losing someone so lovable in the family. On those first weeks and months that dad was no longer walking on earth, we were all grief-stricken. There were moments when we all gathered in the balcony, talked, and reminisced about all of dad’s kind acts and endeavors for us.

For getting up early in the morning to get us some hot “pandesal” (bread) and making a pure “Barako” (strong) coffee, for preparing yummy cuisines whenever he’s at home, or for his occasional sleepovers at his friend’s house slightly gambling that never fizzled to annoy mom.

Those nostalgic and magical moments would lead us to laugh over his silliness, yet behind our waves of laughter were sorrows of remembering and missing one of our favorite human beings in the family, dad.

Grieving was okay, but moving on was strenuous. It was the toughest time in our family, especially for my mom. The memories of him were timeless to us. We were in pain.

Yearly commemoration

We yearly commemorate the day of his death. Hence we make sure to gather back home on this date even though each member of the family is living at a distance. My siblings and I live separately, whereas my mom lives alone at our house in the province. I knew mom had the deepest cut losing the only man in her life. We all did. And if I could wish for one thing, I would wish to have my dad back, at least, for a while.

I’d want to spend more time with him. I’d want to feel his warm embrace, lay my head on his beer belly, and see him smile. Dad had a grin like a Cheshire cat and laughed like a drain. And when he giggled, it’s contagious. Most of all, and he’s loved by everyone in our community and even at his workplace. And those were being remembered on dad’s funeral days by the tons of people who grieved with us. People showered dad with titanic love. I’d always been remembering his corny but humorous jokes, and I’d been missing being around dad again. It seemed that It’d never vanish in me.

Childhood memories with him and his teachings

Though dad never had a favorite child or daughter among the five of us, he’s still our first love.

On the other hand, he wasn’t particularly religious, but he taught us how to pray. Every 6 pm at the altar for thirty minutes, we kneeled and prayed for our hopes and desires, prayed the rosary, and thanked God for the day and for His blessings. He told us to wholeheartedly tell God whatever our heart desired.

Dad was an angel sent from above!

I saw and felt to every little chunk of my bones how dad loved us, he was there to lift us, and even though I was juvenile back then, I knew he loved us more than anything else in the world.

Remembering and missing dad’s words of wisdom

He taught us how to live our life to the fullest. Coming from an average family like most families, he always reminded us to be kind to everyone, to our friends, relatives, and even to strangers or people we’ve met along the way. “Never judge them,” he said, “you never know what they’ve been going through.”

He also taught me some great pieces of advice  – “Always avoid hurting other people’s feelings; people are sensitive.” In my life, I live by his words. It’s powerful.

It always reminds me to be concerned about the people’s feelings around me, particularly to the people I love, and I will forever highly value that.

Dad’s life, work, and my random short vacation with him

Dad lived far from us because of work. My family only got to spend time with him twice or three times a month. Though in my case, I was consistently the lucky one around with mom to visit him in the city and spend the vacation. That’s why vacation is one thing that I always looked forward to.

Whenever I sensed my mom packing up her stuff, I would come closer to her like a puppy and excitedly appeal that I want to come and see dad. She would always initially decline but of course, who could ever resist a cute daughter’s plea?

Eventually, I would constantly win. To boot, it’s from dad that I got this seemingly spoiled personality, partly because of the tons of little inexpensive things he would always buy me.

Whenever I was spending a vacation with him, going to the small, packed market behind our area was one of our favourite activities. Dad usually comes back home at roughly half-past five after his daytime job. He was a worker at a train station, PNR. It’s government-owned. PNR train is one of my most favorite means of transportation even though it’s old, slow and often crowded.

Remembering and missing vacation time with Dad in Manila

It brings me back the old memories my dad and I had in the old days – of me out on the rail tracks playing under the heat of the sun while waiting for him during his break time.

Afterward, I would consistently request and plead with him to buy me another Barbie doll which was very cheap but brought me bliss even though he had just bought me a new one the previous day. He couldn’t complain; if he ever did, it’s because he’s exhausted from that day.

It had been a routine for us to cross the railways, play together, or buy “Arroz caldo” (rice porridge) from the canteen beside our flat. Dad was even the first person on the planet who let me taste liquor – gin, to be specific.

The one who permitted us to play card games during free time despite our mom constantly keeping us out of it. 

Then I came to question life

At some point in my life, when I grew up, I thought that the world was cruel sometimes. I had randomly catechizing things over, eager to know the answers. Why did it happen?

And I remembered the thing people always say, kind-hearted people live longer because they spread love and kindness to the world. But why? Why was he taken away so soon? And then, eventually, I found the answers. That everything happens for a reason. Living your life without your father is a struggle. It makes a big difference. And that was real.

That’s the whole story, and we all moved on

And so, eventually, we got back on our feet after dad’s death. As all families do after grieving and it was going fine. Our lives might have gone back to their normal rhythm as seasons passed. Remembering and missing dad will always be part of us. His memories will beautifully remain in our hearts and minds forever.

On a serious note, my dad was my first love. A daughter’s first love. The man I humbly look up to—my real-time superhero.

Love your dad as much as you could

All dads in the world, I believe, are amazing, wonderful and the best supporter in every little thing and some of the biggest life decisions that we make. They’re always there, that sometimes if moms can’t, run to your dads. They’ll never fail you.

Moreover, dads do the best they can to make us – their children – happy, to make us feel comfortable, and to guide us to be on the right track in life. They teach us not only worthy things but also priceless life lessons. The ones that we can live by that we can benefit from for the rest of our lives. They sacrifice, and they love much.

You’ll never know when they’re leaving. You’ll never be prepared for that, and if you ever will, the pain is a battle. And you’re lucky if you still have him on your side.  And I can tell you; your dad is the most wonderful man alive. I love him like there’s no tomorrow.

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6 Comments

  • Christina
    June 22, 2016 at 18:34

    What a touching story. It is clear that even after all these years you still miss your dad very much. In your memories, he lives on. It is great that you can remember his life as a family every year. This would definitely make him smile I think.

  • Voyager
    June 23, 2016 at 05:56

    My heart reaches out to you on reading about this devastating experience. Losing a loved one is such a traumatic experience, it is only time which heals, but the vacuum left by the person can never be filled. Your father still lives in your memories and must be proudly watching over you with affection.

  • Marta
    June 23, 2016 at 12:22

    Even without knowing him, I can tell from your words that your dad was a great man: his teachings to you, his wise words, his love, they all live on with you and your family and will do so forever. I think it is an amazing thing to gather to commemorate him and to keep his memory close to you while you go on with your life. xx

  • Darlene
    June 23, 2016 at 14:03

    Aaaww hugs Cathy! Death in the family really changes a person. You may have moved on but for sure you won’t ever forget your dad. At least now, you have someone watching over you in heaven and for sure he’s proud of you.

  • Marge
    June 24, 2016 at 21:18

    It’s one of the things that we have in common Cathy, both our fathers have died long time ago. So I can honestly say I understand what you feel. It had been hard for me too, it was my first real heartbreak. It took me a few years to recover.

    I’m not sure what happens when we all die but somehow, I find myself wishing I’d still see him someday. Losing a father is one of the hardest things one may face. But let’s be grateful that at least we had them, grew up with them, and felt their love despite their short time on earth.

  • Marvin Hinegardner
    July 3, 2017 at 13:12

    I like the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great posts.

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