Happy birthday, Dad

My father passed away two years ago, a week after his birthday, which is today.  I miss him dearly, and I often think of him.  Many people who knew him used to tell me when I was younger that I was just like him.

I was the closest to him and yet our relationship was strained.  As I used to say to my half-sister who nursed a lot of hurt in her heart for my Dad and her Mom’s shortcomings as far as she was concerned, Dad loved her — it’s just that he didn’t know how to show it the way we would have wanted him to show it.

I was the favorite — when everyone else refused to speak with him, they made me face him and negotiate with him.  When he was dying, they called me from his deathbed and I told him between sobs that I was not mad at him, that I loved him.  His death was expected but it hurt me deeply when I got the news.

There is so much that I want to say to him now and I know he would listen silently, furrow his brows, and if I unloaded my burden to him, I know he would just keep silent and listen.  He would understand.

I would normally have wished that I was there to take care of him, but his final days were full of strife and pain.  I guess in a selfish way, it was good that we were oceans apart.  Less angry words were said although there were angry words exchanged.

I’m just glad he’s at peace now.  I know that wherever he is, he isn’t having difficulty breathing — he isn’t in pain.  Knowing that makes it easier to accept that he is gone.  And whatever sins he had committed, he has been forgiven.

I miss hearing his voice — and hearing his laughter.  I have many snapshots of him in my mind I keep going back to.  And even in my grief, he makes me smile when I remember his antics and his jokes and the happy times.  I dwell on the happy rather than the sad.  There is enough sadness knowing he is no longer here with me.  At least when I stick with the happy memories, my heart smiles, and it helps me deal with the grief better.

Happy birthday, Dadang.  I know you know we all love you deeply… and we always will.  I know now that my fears as a child that I would end up in heaven and you would be in the other place are unfounded.  I know you will be there to meet me when my turn comes to go into the light.

Art Journal Every Day: I miss you, Papa…

Art Journal Every Day: I miss you, Papa

“Those we love don’t go away,

they walk beside us everyday.

Unseen, unheard but always near,

Still loved, still missed and very dear.”

If you want to see more of my Art Journal, please click here, or you can always choose my Art Journal Every Day page from the list on the top left of the blog page.

I invite you to view the Flickr Group dedicated to this endeavor by clicking here, and be inspired to create your own art journal.  (Artistic talent optional.)

And the New Year is here

2011.. for once, I cannot claim that 2010 just slipped by considering all the life-changing events that took place in my life in 2010.  The most jarring of all being my Dad’s passing.


There are many, many other positive things that happened, too, but somehow the most painful is what makes the biggest mark.  So can I end there for now?

I miss Dad.  It’s my first Christmas without him.  It’s my first New Year without him.  For some strange reason, I can remember snippets of last year but I cannot remember how I spent it with him.  Selective amnesia?  Perhaps.

But I have found that it is easier to move on if you are willing to take the step forward.  I am still officially mourning.  My reds and hot pinks (my favorite fuschia pink included) are still in the not-to-be-worn zone.  I didn’t think I’d last this long but last I did.  It may seem immaterial to some but to me, it’s a personal effort at going through my own grieving process.

Yesterday I had to put away some knick knacks and stuff lying around my dresser in the bedroom, and I grabbed a memory box in my closet that was still mostly empty.  Well, except for Dad’s old letters to me.  I didn’t quite have the heart to go through them just yet except to tear the stamps off the envelope and then soak them in warm water later for my “collection”.   (I am an ambivalent philatelist.)  One day soon.

Dad wrote with a beautiful cursive script.  My own penmanship came from those graceful strokes.  Even when his hands were ravaged by Parkinson’s disease, he tried.

I miss you, Dad.  I pray you are in a peaceful place somewhere where the coughing and the trembling hands no longer ail you.  I know your robust laughter now fill the hallways up in the heavens.