Wednesday, January 31, 2007

eighty eight

today, the 30th of january is my father's birthday.

he would have been eighty eight today.

he was a simple man. he had no major ups-and-downs. and as far as i know, he had no major ambition, or any major failure.

but he was a good man. he had a lot of friends. everybody in our town knew him. nobody said anything bad about him. everybody spoke of him like they were close friends of his.

he neither got into politics nor joined any prestigious organization so he was never influential. but up to this day, everybody knows us--his sons and daughters--and refers to us, as "anak ni peles."

he was not perfect as a husband. but my mother, who is independence-incarnate, must have seen something in him that made her stay with my father for fifty years. and now, for the past three and a half years that he's been gone, my mother visits his tomb everyday after mass. according to her, she just stays there for a few minutes and talks to him. maybe she gets lonely sometimes and she needs to feel his reassuring presence. or maybe she, to quote from a gilbert o'sullivan song,

"couldn't understand why the only man,
she had ever loved had been taken.
leaving her to start, with a heart so badly broken."

(i'm not sure i could finish this. the more i think about him, the more i miss him. and somehow wish that he were still here.)

he was far from being an ideal father. but if i could live another lifetime, and had a choice, i would most probably pick him again.

he didn't have much. but what he lacked materially, he compensated for by kindness and love. he always worried where we were. he didn't like it when he couldn't see us, literally. of course, we hated it. but deep inside, we appreciated that. that made us feel wanted and reassured.

what he couldn't teach us himself, he let us learn on our own. most of the time, he didn't say no whenever we wanted to go somewhere or do anything. (or maybe he just couldn't say no to my mother. anyways...) considering how restless he would get whenever we were out of sight, letting us leave the house was surely a big sacrifice for him.

he never expected anything grand from us. so there was no pressure whenever he was around.

he was the most appreciative person i have ever known in my whole life.

his smiles were some of the most genuine.

and his heart, one of the purest.