It has been four months, seventeen days, and five hours since he died. On Valentine’s Day, he left me with a broken heart that will never be mended. That very day is vivid in my memory; it is etched in my mind and there is no undoing what happened, no unseeing of the last breaths he held, and no unfeeling of the great sadness that befell me. It is as if it happened yesterday. I went to the hospital that day and greeted him with “Happy Valentine’s Day,” placed a kiss on his right cheek, and said, “I love you.” He said “I love you” back with a smile, not knowing it would be the last. All vivid, all too painful. There is this big lump in my throat writing this entry. You have no fraction of an idea how hard it is for me to retell this story, but maybe I am doing this for myself, too. Maybe this is another step of moving on, another step of acceptance, another bold step away from that devastating memory.
I wake up every day since, replaying all those unbearable months when he was at his weakest up to the moment when he learned about his sickness. Stage four colon cancer. We kept it from him, since he just had an open-heart surgery. We decided that it is best to wait, to hope that he will get better, but he never did, he was withering and we are dying too inside. Those months were the darkest; there is this heavy grey cloud looming above us waiting for the perfect time to let its devastating rain to break us.
He promised me he would see me through my graduation in law school, but that didn’t happen. I was at the point of giving it all up—what is the point, anyway? But I promised him I would finish law school, pass the bar examinations, and be a lawyer just like him. Now I am reviewing for the bar examinations, slowly fulfilling the one thing I promised him, I know somewhere somehow he is guiding me through this ordeal. But sometimes it gets the best of me; missing him is the hardest part. I would have to suck it all in and continue with my life. Never a day goes by without me thinking about his bright principles in life, without me thinking of his funny antics, without me thinking of his smile reserved for me. And this is how it feels to have your heart broken every single day.
Father’s Day came. I had to fight the urge of crying whenever I see posts of father-daughter pictures all over social media. I will never get another chance to have my picture taken with him, I will never get to tell him Happy Father’s Day personally, I will never get to experience his nonstop teasing, and I will never get to hold his hands and feel his embrace—because he is gone. I wanted to shout at every daughter to treasure the first man who ever loved them, the first man who ever wiped their tears, the first man who hugged them so tight to the point of suffocation, to the first man who gave them their first kiss, to the first man who loved and will forever love them unconditionally. Treasure him as long as he lives, make him proud every single day, and value him more than anyone else.
They say he is in a better place and that he is not feeling any pain at all. I am happy thinking about it, but it is just too painful to think he will no longer be there as I become successful. He will no longer be there to walk me down the aisle. He will no longer be there to tickle my firstborn or spoil them with whatever they want. He will no longer be there for me to run to whenever married life becomes too unbearable. He will no longer be there for me to hear what he has to say over life-changing decisions I have to make.
I miss you, Papa. It doesn’t get better every day; if anything it gets worse. I terribly wish you are still here, making things lighter and better. Soon, I know, it will all be a bittersweet memory. I will always remember the good times, your smiles and your laugh will always push me to strive for the better, to be the best person I can possibly be. I will make you proud. I am slowly fulfilling my promise. Help me get through this. I love you and no one could ever fill the void you left in my heart. Don’t worry, we will be taking good care of Mama. Papa, let me let go like a child willingly lets go of her big red balloon with a smile on her tear-streaked face.