Tuesday, November 08, 2005

ODE TO Mr. "D" a.k.a. "Y.T.-san"

THE DAYS have been good and the NIGHTS are cold. The sun magnificently shone on the horizonas the birds linger from tree to tree waitng perhaps for something to see?

I remembered days gone past when Tatay used to be with us.

Why did that thought pop into my mind, all of a sudden? I wonder...Maybe its one of those days...

TATAY was a real catch. Nanay told me so.

He was good, and kind and soft-hearted....

besides, he was quite impressive.He was a "master" of almost all trades I know.

That made him earn as much, I guess....

One can not detect a hint that he served the Navy a long time ago.....a thing we missed in my youth since Nanay would always hide these things and that from our prying eyes and ears.

We, that is, my siblings and I,learned about Tatay when he was already sick.

He had this ULCER thing for which he could have undergone surgery had it not been for the fact that he had this aberration against hospitals and anything clinical.


I remember an incident when we had to physically hold Tatay: Rose on one hand and I on the right as we walked past the corridors of a private Hospital in MM. He was scheduled to be operated on a Sunday, when we found him at home on Saturday night!

He then refused to be taken back to his hospital bed. Ergo, no operation took place.

THAT could have prolonged his life....

.He refused medication of any kind,until he died in his sleep one cold Tuesday morning a decade or so ago....

Tatay was a loving Father.He was also a loving husband to my Nanay.

He was away most of the time when we were young due to pressures of work.

He travelled a lot. He was a translator of sorts and he spoke several languages.

He was also a Chef..an Assistant Chef in one of the Inns somewhere up North which he loved to build as his luck came through...

He did all kinds of job!

He was "THE" one to help even in the remote Barrio which catered to my Nanay's youth.

Everyone came even on rainy nights just to ask Tatay for medicines and other cures.They came, too, on hot, warm days,to ask or borrow some money to help bring a poor kid to school or a sick kid to a hospital.

None from the Barrio paid him in full;some did not even bother to thank him.Others brought live chickens or pigs...fruits [which we had plenty of],simply anything...to repay a gesture that longed no recognition.

Tatay had some dark side, too.Women were attracted to him. Maybe he was that good-looking.....or simply because he had moolah to spend.Whichever it was, I refuse to know....

I got to know these when someone called up our office/home...and I was stationed at the office[which was my usual fare] then.

ONE time, an unfamiliar female called.She asked for Mr. Y.

I asked "May I know who's calling?" She refused, and I heard her cut off the line.She called again and again...same thing.

WHEN Nanay came home, I looked at her eyes and said: "Dapat dito ka lang. Don't go back to the beach house." She asked why.I didn't answer.I just implored her to stay in MManila.She got my message and grilled me further.

Anak ako, siyempre!

I HAVE TO tell Nanay about that call.

True to form, Nanay got hold of the address [how she did it, I can only wonder!].

I was already staying in Alabang then. And I was down with colds, I think.

I didn't go to school. She called me up and told me: "Sama ka?"

c: "Where"

N: "Doon sa bahay ng @$%%%"

c: "I don't feel well."

Good thing I wasn't there because Tatay would forever remember that.

Rose did and she said things that made things worse.

OH YES! Tatay spent his remaining days in remorse and tried to win back Nanay.

But Nanay remained cold...

Tatay made amends since then.

WHEREAS Nanay used to cook, serve and take care of Tatay,

the opposite happened....

until Tatay's last days.

He was still young, had great physique,

except that voice which reduced him to whispering, He can't talk, even if he tried.

He was a chain smoker in his youth and his vocal chords were ruined by some strange things I cannot understand.

And yes! that ULCER which made him feel worse for two days in a row.

He always loved GOOD FOOD.

Yet, a week before he died, he ate something that was solid, and that was a NO-NO!

His stomach couldn't take it.

Two days before he died, he was up and about....and went to Ongpin to buy his favorite Chinese soup, noodles and more...

"Nagbaon.." someone said.

He ate his final meal with gusto.

AND then

they found him lying on his bed


.I cried...

of course I did.

He loved us all....and he loved my Nanay so much.

He may have strayed a little,but he is still my Father.

Any other thing wouldn't change that fact.

He is my Father.

At the Final Ceremony when his earthly remains was about to be lowered.....my mother asked me to deliver the Eulogy...and I did.

I never imagined that words can make people cry.

The rest of those who mourned with us cried...

some cried louder than I did.

I just couldn't make a scene...but I was grieving from the heart.

God, I miss him and his love for us....

I miss his ways and his loving eyes that made us feel warm..

.I miss his teachings and his words of wisdom...

I miss his sympathy whenever Nanay would assert her strict rules on me...

.I miss him,

that is why I am here in the Land of his birth to carry on what he should have done......

Nanay used to say when we were growing up:

"Find someone like your Tatay. He is a good man."

I wish I could....if I only could.

I am afraid to venture into the world...

because I do not want to cry.

I do not want to lose someone I love.





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