But let's face it. We tend to overlook dads. Sure, those who can afford buy them a requisite tie on Father's Day or birthday. But by and large, fathers are down a few links on the family or friends or love-ones chain. First come mothers. Mothers whom we always seek for help, whom we shared our school experiences, new found friends, assignments, achievements, secrets and heartbreaks. Every laughters and tears of your life. After all, for our generation, fathers are generally the ones who meted out discipline and justice. We tend not to have warm, fuzzy feelings about the person who is about to punish us. When was the last time you mouth the words "I love you Dad?". Its always, Mom, I love you! Have you ever seen a guy having a tattoo spelled out F-A-T-H-E-R? Not likely.
That is the reason why I am giving this special space in my blog for the unsung hero of my life, my father, Mr. Dario Cayetano, the great influence in my life. Ang mabuting dahilan ng isang malaking "pagbabago" sa aking buhay.
At my very young age, I was thought how challenging life is. I was not born with all the wellness in life. I came from a struggling family that is contented with the simple kind of living. My father was a former factory-turned-construction-worker. Even if I am not that fortunate, my father taught me how to be patient and strong to cope with what life has to offer. I got a scholarship and he helped me pursue a higher education, something he wasnt experience, an opportunity he never had. My father is a talented man who can sketch artistically. The one who often do all my drawings and lettering assignments and projects. In the kitchen, he is the master chef. He cooks better than my mother, especially when he prepares his specialty, my favorite "pinakbet". He also loves music as I do, something which I think I get from him. He is a man full of laughters and humors.
*This is the caricature of me and my father thatI made. Well, I didn't inherit my father's gift in sketching.
But life is not always like a blue sky with colorful rainbow in it. My father was diagnosed with liver cancer last year. And from then on, I can see how his health was rapidly declining. I felt guilty for not sending him to the best doctors for more check-ups and tests, for we do not know where to get the money to sustain his medication. Until the time came, where he, himself refused to continue his check-ups. He surrendered, he was losing hope. It is hard to pretend your OK while seeing the one you love aching. My heart not just feel broken but crashed. I cant help but cry most of the time. Our faith is our only refuge. I'm still holding on to it for I know it is the strongest. Every second of each day was important. I try as much as possible to provide all my father's wish and needs, as long as I can. If I can't, there's no reason for me stop nor give up . But came the saddest part, just last month, a few weeks before their 25th wedding anniversary, my father surrendered due to some complications. I cried so much tears for I was not able to see nor hug him during the last of his breathe. I was working in Manila that time, so when I arrived home in Batangas, its him in his white coffin that made me felt weak and in grief.
I never thought about the time I would have to step into my own father's shoes. He was always there to fill them. Then suddenly, he wasn't. And now I have had to step into them. I didn't feel prepared for the role, but I have to. Now I clearly understand how it is to be the father. What it takes to be the head of the family. It is all about self-sacrifice. Sacrifice for the people you value and love the most. As the eldest, I need to show my Mom and my siblings how strong I am, even deep in my heart, I am totally broken and grieving.
Now, I need to show them the days of mourning is finally over. I don't know where to start for I still remember how easy it was when my father is still around. There is still a little doubt in my part, but I have to face the coming days with enough courage . The sleepless nights of thinking ends when I just realized that even though my father is gone, he still left me with something great. His advise and love is the best legacy he'd given me. I was never left alone or empty-handed. It is my inspiration to seize the days with pride. I am grateful to have been raised by a man who is so kindly predisposed to the wacky and the unexpected. My father is a testament to the great values of kindness, hard work and taking care of us. I will never forget the image of him among the crowd as I go up the stage to receive my awards in school, my first day in high school where he accompanied me in my first classroom, the happy moments we've shared near the lake and fishing, those days that we need to go up the mountain to get some guavas which I will sell in the school to have "baon", the times he took care of me when I was suffering from broncho pneumonia and holding my dextrose patiently as I play around when I was a kid. Thank you for encouraging me without being cloying and as a result, I felt supported but never pushed. Thank you Tay, for taking me in a real life adventure, where I learned the greatest lessons and experienced a different kind of excitement and fun.
Our life goes one. We need to move on. Everyday, all the best that I can do is dedicated for him. His happiness is the main priority of my existence. Without his best guidance and inspirations to me, I would not be where I am right now. I ought him every steps in the ladder of success and the achievements that I have.
*This picture was taken last January 2, during my father's 50th birthday. In the picture is my father, myself and my youngest sister. His last birthday celebration.
Someday, even if we do not have tons of picture together to reminisce, I would ask the Lord to retain my memories of my father, so that I can play back certain scenes in my head, moments that define him as my father and by extension, me.
Even if I am having trouble hearing your voice in my head the way I used to, even if your voice is getting fainter as time goes on, maybe this blog will keep the memories alive and is a way to keep your voice loud and clear. I want to pump up the volume more.
*Somehow I can say, I am successful enough, given the chance to work as an engineer, travel monthly, and esp. support my family all at the same time. Thanks Daduds!