It is 5 days before his birthday. But unlike last year, I won’t be able to see him this time. I hope it’s just because I won’t be able to come home but the sad reason is he’s gone. He’d be 68.
During Papa’s burial, I was obliged or should I say forced to say the eulogy at Church. I declined at first but I knew it was futile to do so since everyone knew it will be me who should speak – everyone but me. It’s not that I don’t want to do it. Please understand that I was trying to substitute my sadness with my buffoonish attitude since I learned about Papa’s death. Doing the Eulogy won’t help keep that facade up for long.
So yes, I ended up crying like a helpless little girl behind the Church’s prodium. But I feel like I was not able to say anything rather than to express gratitude to everyone who made the most difficult time in our life bearable and that we will miss Papa and that’s all. No talk about Papa. None at all.
So, I decided to make this post my belated Eulogy.
There are a lot of things that run through my mind everytime I think about Papa but I will try to come up with 3 memories of him that I greatly cherish:
1. He is the best cook in the whole wide world.
Nobody can beat him to the kitchen. Even before the world awakes he is already in the kitchen. Nothing compares to the feeling of waking up to the aroma of what he’s been cooking.
He also makes sure that eating time would be a sure fun time (and educational) as well. Have you been served a whole octopus for dinner? Have you eaten shark or sting ray meat? Have you eaten monkey or pig brain? That’s how interesting our table gets during meal time. Meal time for me has always been family time.
2. He is the best house husband.
He did all the house chores. Yep. Every thing. He gets up early and starts at the kitchen. While he waits for his masterpiece to cook, he fetches water for bathing (Yep! We didn’t have any waterworks back then). And then he wakes us up one by one to prepare for school. I didn’t realize how tiring it was for him to coax 4 rowdy kids into bathing and eating and going to school every single day but he did it without complaining. After he sends us to school he preprares to do the laundry and when he’s done it’s almost lunch time and I feel in his mind he thought, my sweet rascals will be home soon. So he prepares a hearty lunch and waits for us to arrive and he greets us and asks us how was school so far. After we eat lunch he’d comb our hair and prep us back to school again. And when the house is in silence he’d rest for a while and would soon retreat in the backyard to chop some woods. And when we get home he’d be back to the kitchen again preparing supper.
That is how, more or less, his days went. And again he went on without complaining.
3. He is a great fighter.
Even if sometimes people belittle him because he stays at home tending for his kids instead of going to work, he didn’t mind. Even if sometimes people disparage him for being “under de saya” he didn’t care. I said that he is a great fighter not because he fights a lot but because he chose his battles wisely. He’d rather argue with that little kid of his trying to get her way than defend himself against the norms of society. He’d rather get in trouble defending his family than get praises for “machismo”.
I know he had his issues back then but I was still so young so I didn’t really truly understood. I know he also struggled to be the best man, father and husband amidst the judging eye of people. He had his own internal battles that I can never be sure of but I know for certain that he always let his family win.
Papa is not perfect. I won’t say he never raised a hand nor his voice to us. I won’t say that he never got angry. I won’t say that he never made mistakes. And I won’t say that we loved him any less because of that.
This Saturday, he’d be 68. Forever. he’d be loved.