I was eight when my father died. I will never forget that I lied. They were busy preparing for Papa's hospitalization when I told my folks I was not feeling well so I would not go to school. I didn't expect that that absence from school would be the day I will lose the king of the our kingdom.
Honestly, I just cried because my sisters were crying. My mom was hysterical. The first thought that came into me: "paano na kami?" He was our superhero. Come afternoon naps, when Mama was the fatter version of Queen Ravenna, Papa was our Thor -- gwapo and strong. He protected us from whatever punishment we might have gotten from the jail warden. He worked nonstop to always give us what we needed. He brought me to school with our Lite Ace while my sisters commute. My last birthday in 1992, I had a classic mocha cake from Merced Bake Shop, lots of party food and a set of new clothes from Cabbage Patch Kids. New Year's of 1993, he woke me up to welcome the brand new year with the fam bam. He fed me grapes like I was Cleopatra. I was Papa's little Bebeng, I was his princess. But when he died, I knew my tears weren't because I won't see him every day anymore but because I knew this day will come. This day that I will miss him so much.
Unlike most of Pinoys, I didn't visit the cemetery today, where he was buried. I have my own beliefs; hence, when I die, I want to be cremated. My ashes will be kept in small jars and distributed to each of my children (if LB will have sibs) and to my husband. I don't want to obligate them to clean my headstone because people might think they don't love me if it's dirty. Anyway, November of that same year when he died, of course, Mama and my older sisters prepared for Undas. Mama bought a tent, we had a basket of goodies and I remember I brought my sister's Archie comics so I won't get bored (no gadgets yet during our time). Sounds like we had a picnic, right? Our family of 5 was actually fun and wholesome. Our neighbors were awful. They brought playing cards, were playing loud music and even gambled. Ugh. From then on, I never liked going to cemeteries during Undas. After all, there's so much crowd and heat and putik. You can't really do what people are supposed to be doing: remembering our departed loved ones. Worst, comfort rooms are the most uncomfortable! (fyi, my father's buried in a private cemetery)
|I will post a better photo of him next time when I go to my mom's house! Promise, he's really gwapo. ♥|
Today, just like any day, I remember my Papa -- a six-footer, funny, bigotilyo, Ralph Lauren cologne-wearing handsome man. R and I always talk about our late fathers. We always have this "kung buhay pa kaya sila, happy kaya sila sa pamilya na meron tayo?" One thing I'm sure of if Papa is still with us, Sophia would be Lolo's girl. My comedian father would surely enjoy talking to my witty inglisera of a daughter. Sigh. I will be with him, in God's time. Pero Lord, huwag muna po ngayon ha. My life is not yet done -- maga-artista pa ako. Chos.
Let me share this letter with you, which I posted in my Facebook Notes I wrote for Papa two years ago.
Sabi ng nag-iisa mong apo na babae sa Tatay niya "Happy Far'rs Day!" Ako po gusto ko lang magpasalamat.
Salamat sa height, kahit pano hindi ako matatawag na petite; sa sense of humor na minsan nagagamit ko pag problemado at ayoko pa munang i-solve; sa 8 1/2 yrs mong pagiging cool sherpats sa'kin. Dahil sa'yo, nakilala ko ang Beatles at si Mel Gibson.
Ang iyong pagkanta ng Maging Sino Ka Man sa stereo natin gamit ang Vicor Records mong cassette tape ay hindi ko makakalimutan, kasi sinasayaw mo pa ko nun. At nung pinakanta mo ko ng Kung Kailangan Mo Ako, sabi mo kaboses ko si Aiza Seguerra. Siguro, kung kasama ka pa namin, baka yang Sarah Geronimo na yan eh sumasali pa din sa mga contest.
Naalala ko din yung time na ako ang mahilig mong kuhanan ng litrato sa Malabon Zoo. Nikon yung camera mo nun. At ang may ganun lang, yung marunong lang gumamit. Hindi tulad ngayon, lahat halos may DSLR na. Ako na lang wala. Yun nga, singit pa din ng singit mga utol kong hoodlum, nagiging family portrait na lang tuloy. Akala ko pa naman start na yun ng modeling career ko.
Tsaka dahil sa'yo Pa, feeling ko talaga prinsesa ko eh. Pinapakain mo ko ng grapes na nakahiga sa kawayan nating sofa nung nakatira pa tayo sa Kamias. Lagi kasi kong tulog pag sasalubungin ang bagong taon. At yung huli kong birthday na kasama ka namin, galing sa Merced Bakeshop yung cake ko nun, tinago niyo pa sa ilalim ng lababo, nakita ko din naman kaagad. Sabi mo pa "Akyat ka na Beng, palit ka ng damit." Pag-akyat ko, may bago akong KULOTS at Cabbage Patch Kid na blouse. Kaya tuloy ang tingin ko sa lalaki habang nagdadalaga ako, ituturing ako ng tulad ng pagturing mo sa'kin nun. Medyo nabigo ako sa iba. At least ngayon Pa, medyo pareho kayo ng napangasawa ko. Kung ikaw eh tall, dark and handsome; siya po tall, dark and AYER! :)
Ganun pa man, salamat sa'yo at ako ay si Bebeng. Magkikita din po tayo. Pero wag po muna ngayon ha. Dami pang nakalista sa TO-DOs.
Seriously, I love you Papitoyni. I miss you so much...
Butter Ball or Mentos? Libre ko!