Monday, February 17, 2020

Lost in Pain (from my Father's Death)


One of the worst things that could happen to a daughter occurred to me. And for the first time in my life, I have no idea how to deal with such pain- a pain that’s slowly poisoning the people around me and me.

My 87-year-old father died last February 8, 2020, at precisely 12:32 am.

prayer for the dead

He had been bedridden for almost five years already. He had a few health issues, but the main problem was his heart. He was capable of having a stroke anytime, so we decided to have him under my sister’s supervision in Manila. She’s a doctor with many “doctor friends,” and her house is accessible to many good hospitals like the National Kidney Institute, Philippine Heart Center, etc.

For five years, he was in and out of the hospital. At home, he had two caregivers. Since he had NGT, his daily routine was strict. They gave all his medicines on time, and he had a weekly check-up.

Since I live 124 kilometers away, I only got to visit him every once in a while. My eldest son goes to school daily, and my husband has a business open seven days a week. But whenever we got the chance, we would always see him.

Lately, his speech had become slurred, and we couldn’t understand his words. His 87th birthday was last month (January 6, 2020); that was the last time I saw him alive. When the celebration was over, and I told him we were going home, he stared at me with his “leaving so soon??” eyes. I assured him we would revisit him soon and kiss his forehead (our family doesn’t say “I love you” or do kisses like other families... so that was special).

If only I knew what would happen a month later, I would have hugged him.

But the thing is - I was preparing myself for years now. I was afraid to get hurt when the time came, so I was slowly detaching myself. I’m a daddy’s girl, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him ever since. But I was wrong. Nothing can prepare anyone for things like this, especially for the death of a parent.

My dad died in the arms of my sister and his caregivers. I was not there when it happened. My sister called me and requested us to come immediately. My husband and I immediately went home to pick up my mom and our kids, packed our things, and went straight to Manila.

The next thing I knew, we were already arranging his funeral, cremation, and inurnment. The night before his 3-day viewing, I was glad to get the chance to hold his hand for the last time.

holding dead hand


I got myself an ash pendant so I can keep him close to my heart all the time.

ash pendant

Until today, I still couldn’t get the chance to grieve. It seems like his death hasn’t sunk in yet. But I would never see him anymore- and this thought is slowly killing me every day. I can’t cry; I don’t know how. But the people around me are already affected by my uncontrollable mood swings. For the first time in my life, I ran out of ideas to deal with these feelings.

I miss my father. I want to see him in my dreams and be able to talk to him.

Is this normal? Am I losing it? Every night when everyone’s already sleeping, the pain worsens. And the most challenging thing is I don’t know how to tell people how I’m feeling. Maybe this was because of those years of holding everything in, shutting my feelings down. But I know that this is different; this should be different.

I know that I should seek help. But how? I couldn’t even figure out where to start.


Post a Comment