53 weeks

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A week ago we gathered with our family and friends to mark Dad’s first year of passing. Tradition would have us consider it as the ‘official’ end of the mourning period. Anyone who has lost a loved one however knows that it is mostly optimism that makes one call it as such. Anyone who has lost a loved one would know that the emptiness, the silent longing, and the sadness must interminably remain integral parts of one’s life.

Rather, the first year after a loved one’s ‘departure’ simply provides one with an arbitrary time frame to ‘be done with grief’ and to get on with life. It is simply a goal which we aspire to, for without it the prospect of proceeding with however many months, years or decades we may be ‘blessed‘ with in a loved one’s absence would seem too sad and almost unbearable.

So thus we marked Dad’s first year.

It would be brazen of me to claim that time has completely failed to act as the balm to my wounds. It would however be inaccurate to say that time has allowed the pain to become less acute or the emptiness to be filled. Instead, with the passage of time I have been taught how to live with the void, to avoid the cues that trigger memories and with it, heartache, and to block out thoughts of how it had been when we had Dad with us. Yes, time has taught me how to survive.

But today, a year and a week since Dad’s passing, the lessons learned must give way to feelings that cannot be held back for periods too long. Today, I affirm the grief that remains much too real. Today, I think of you Dad and miss you dearly.

There are moments that I still find the events much too surreal; akin to an episode of a show I would rather I had missed. Awakening from slumber, for fractions of a time I can almost believe they had been dreams. But reality is quick to douse cold water to my reveries. They have occurred and I know that.

But comfort, however slow, comes in the form of visions that tell me Dad has ensured he will continue to live on – in visions of my mom who, in spending 46 years with him, is now keeping him alive through the anecdotes borne from lifetime together; in my brother Ef, the ‘favorite’ son who continues to strive to give pride to the name that was his; in Vey whose determination to now teach is a testament to Dad’s love for the profession; Bryn, the quiet, unassuming mathematical ‘great’ who much impressed Dad; Guido, his ‘junior’ in a lot of ways from his ultimate choice to come home and teach at U. P. to his ability to find humor in situations where most of us would be hard put to; Xenia, who seems to have gotten most of Dad’s gift for writing and art; in Avi, whose ability to make Dad laugh far surpassed any of ours; in Cyril, who reminds me of Dad in his attempts to project a quiet, brooding demeanor but is often belied by the inability to suppress a grin, cheekbones and all; and even in Nina, my baby, whose lovely chinky eyes beckons one to recall that of her Lolo whom she was sadly unable to meet. Yes, Dad survives in all of us in our own little ways.

It is through these visions we cannot but affirm that there was such a man as fg david, a vibrant, dynamic man who made the most of each and every single day of his 69 odd years; a man who has left enough footprints in this world to ensure that he will always continue to live on.