FOREST LAKE CEMETERY, General Santos City (MindaNews / 14 October) — I have been down with a flu since Wednesday and how I miss you, Pa. This is the first time that I am sick since you passed away and I must admit I cried my eyes out last Friday.
One of my friends is indeed right: While growing up (as a child, then as a teenager and finally an adult) she was looking forward to all the firsts in her life with joy; but all firsts after the death of her father were things that she definitely did not look forward to experiencing because it brought her sorrow that was difficult to shake off.
Waking up last Friday still with fever, aching muscles, headache and sore throat, I was transported back to the time when you were still alive. You could easily tell if I was not feeling well just by looking at me. The standard questions that you often asked me were “Nakainom ka na ba ng gamot?” or “May gamot ka na ba?” Before I could even answer, you would offer me whatever medicine you had that you thought would make me well.
Occasionally, I suffer from persistent nighttime cough. I cannot forget how you would give up your adjustable rattan chair so that I could sleep with my head elevated and have a good night’s rest. You liked sleeping on that rattan chair, but you did not mind giving it up for me during those few times when I needed it.
I will never be able to hear those words again from you, Pa. I will never be able to experience again how you would sacrifice for my comfort. As a father, I consider you as a man of few words. I do not have a memory of you saying you love me. However, I am very certain that you expressed your love in many other ways from the time I was born and even up to now that you are gone. Yes, I am very sure of that.
Still recovering from flu, the memories of how you looked after me when I was sick pale in comparison to all the verbal expressions that mean “I love you.”
I love you, too, Pa, to the moon and the back.
(Maria Margarita Diaz is the middle child among nine children of journalist Patricio P. Diaz. The 93-year old Diaz passed away on August 29, 2019 after declaring in his hospital bed “I am dying” followed by “I feel better.”)