Written on Thursday
I think I know how Angelo feels now when he asks if the weekend is near on a Monday morning. I’m looking forward to the weekend because of two reasons: we’re going to get 80s weather, and more importantly, Alan is coming back from a week-long business trip in the City of Lights again.
It was easier this time around, and I’m glad he’ll be here after just another “sleep” (Angelo speak there..). I’m already planning dinner. (Reminder to self: FreshDirect!) For some reason, my mother-in-law would always have a hospital emergency each time Alan leaves for Europe, and it was just such a relief that this wasn’t the case this time around.
I am already thinking about the different things we can do over the weekend, and I’m starting a list of things I hope to accomplish in those 48 hours. I haven’t even started writing that down yet and I’m already wishing I had an extra 24 hours to go.
Two days ago, I called my Dad to find out how he was doing. It was something I had been postponing for a while now, and we last spoke during my birthday at the beginning of the month. He seemed to be doing better judging from the tone of his voice. He said he’s doing okay, his bedsores have healed and he is still unable to go down to the ground floor but he is walking around his room little by little. He has also been able to extend his “two-oxygen-tanks-a-week” to one tank a week. It went well and it was a heartwarming conversation except that he started asking when I would visit again.
After taking three trips to Manila in a span of 17 months, it was not hard for me to say I cannot make any immediate plans because I haven’t quite recovered from the financial burden of those three trips. I didn’t even mention that there is the additional obligation to catch up to the costs of his two hospitalizations. I just wanted to dwell on the fact that he was doing better. He seemed to be in high spirits.
I haven’t stopped thinking about his words since we spoke — I keep hearing him saying “Hindi na pala tayo magkikita..” I didn’t even push the subject matter because I know Dad can get emotional and he seemed okay as we spoke. The thought has weighed heavily on me, but I feel helpless in the face of all the obligations I have to meet. I could’ve made a promise to try, but that would be an empty promise that I know is next to impossible to keep. All I can do is pray that he lasts until I get to go home again.
Although my own mother-in-law who is turning 80 years old in a few days is pretty mobile and is not bedridden like my father, I try to do my part in caring for her by making sure her food supply is current, and that I prepare healthy meals for her. There are moments when I cannot help but wish it was my own Dad I was taking care of instead. I wish..
I don’t even want to think about when I will see my father again. I just know I will try to talk to him more often. This just one of the many adjustments of being so far away from everyone else. I try to convince myself that I had two chances to take care of him when he was weakest.
Try as I might to figure out a way to pay Dad another visit soon (meaning in the next 12 months), the thought of it is simply beyond me. Of course there’s that one in a million chance of actually snagging some price or other in the lotto, but realistically speaking, crossing the oceans to my other favorite part of the world is just out of the question. (Big sigh.)
The thought makes a knot form in my chest which I wish away with a prayer. I cannot ask for more after God had so generously afforded me not one but two chances to be with Dad. I have been luckier than most, I know. Others pine and cry in the face of the same circumstances but I cried and yet was able to hold his hand.
So will I be brave and resign myself to the fact that the next time I will go home will probably be to bring Dad to his resting place? The eternal optimist in me says no. God works in mysterious ways as He had shown by way of the miracles both big and small that I have been witness to. All I can say is, His will be done.
It’s late and the bus drivers are all griping about the traffic jams they waded through to get back to Manhattan. I’m finally on my way home but I’m going to be very late. I will get home soon enough to one of two reasons that convinces me my life and place is here in New York. I cannot hold Dad, but I sure can hug my son.. And tomorrow evening, my other half.