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Good Bye Dad – A Father’s Day Story and My Leap of Faith
For Dad on Fathers Day
The traditions of celebrating Father’s Day brings out many memorable stories about our own Dad. Having lost my own Father due to his old age and withering condition just barely a month ago, the pain of losing him was my leap of faith…
October 27, 2012 found us happily gathered around Dad celebrating his 79th birthday as we usually do every year. Dad, being his usual self on his day, was ever so humble and cheerful despite being so frail and moving about on his wheel chair. At that point his voice was weak and barely audible but still he managed to share his smile with most of us especially among his grandchildren that were gathered beside him. It was a smile that said I’m alright, everything was ok and there is nothing to worry about.
Mom went through all the extent of making this day special as she knew deep down inside, Dad didn’t have much time left. True enough this was to be my Dad’s last birthday with us.
Being the youngest among my parent’s only 2 sons, it was only between Mom and I to physically care for my Dad as my elder brother was in the States because of his commitments.
A Summer to Remember
It was during the summer break when Dad’s final days truly gave us an experience that will forever be etched on us for the rest of our lives. And through all the crucial moments, my brother managed to come home to be with us.
During the months of April to May, 2013, Dad had to be confined at the hospital twice due to his deteriorating condition. Originally, he had a medical case known as polycythemia vera which gave him an over supply of red blood cells. But this was managed by monitoring his levels and extracting the excess blood on a regular basis. It was with his bout with pneumonia, which he somehow managed to contract, that made him weaker.
His doctor had told us that Dad’s situation was not a terminal case where one was not expected to live any much longer. The doctor added that the pneumonia was treatable but his chances of recovering his strength was doubtful due to his old age and that there was no guarantee of his longevity. In short, Dad was already at his prime age to pass away. This left us with an added burden to an already difficult situation as hospitalization and medical bills were surely to pile up.
Seeing him half-conscious laying at the ICU unit was unbearable for us. But the bond of our family kept us close together not leaving Dad during these crucial times. As much as we wanted Dad to live longer, the question on our mind was whether to have Dad treated and yet still see him in that condition or to just let him go where he may find peace with God. It was with the first option that we initially decided on.
Weeks had gone by. And after much effort to prolong Dad’s life, his situation had still remained the same if not for the worst. We could clearly see him in pain with all the medical procedures that he had undergone. But it was at this time that Dad had opened his eyes after weeks of being unresponsive.
We took the opportunity to communicate with him and asked him how he felt but only tears rolled from his eyes as if to say “I’ve had enough”. That somehow painfully made us realize that it was time to let Dad go. Mom then asked him if he just wanted to go home, Dad nodded his head which clearly meant that he did want to go home.
Arrangements were made to bring him home and just continue his medications away from the hospital. The doctors did allow what we wanted as they understood our situation provided that we signed a waiver. And so Dad was on his way home. Not just his physical home but eventually to his spiritual home in Heaven with God.
By this time Mom had been praying endlessly and had shed many tears day and night. I was worried about her medical condition too as she was diabetic. Even I had a case of hyperthyroid prior to these events which made me suffer from anxiety. With all the extreme pressure and stress we had to face, I had wondered how we would survive especially on the day Dad would finally leave us.
Time to Let Go
When we arrived home together with Dad, everything was set up so we could take care of him the best that we could. Dad seemed to be happy just being in an old familiar place, his bedroom. As we went through the night remaining vigil, Dad slept peacefully uneventful. But in the morning Dad had developed fever. Mom and I were in the process of nursing him when Dad finally left us. He eventually died while the both of us were literally holding on to him. As I witnessed his final breath, it was an experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life and I’m sure it was for Mom as well.
At that time, my instinct was to comfort Mom. Though I admit that I feared breaking down, I didn’t have any sense of panic but rather that of calmness. While Mom was still in a state of disbelief, I had to work through all of the arrangements that was needed to be done while comforting my mother. I knew this was the reason that I had to be strong for.
Source of Strength and A Leap of Faith
Anticipating the loss of a loved one is probably the most difficult circumstance one can ever face. While many seek for answers, we were no different from them. I knew I had to be strong not only for myself but for Mom as well. My brother, though being older than me, admitted that I had the much stronger will to face our circumstances than he does. I guess the reason for my strength was when I turned to the Bible.
I don’t consider myself as a very religious person although I try to read the Bible regularly and make efforts to understand what the Bible teaches. What served as an instrument for me to understand more about the Bible was the sermon of Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch.org . The sermon was about James 1: 1-12 - Wisdom for Life’s Trial. The passage teaches us to be able to see things through God’s Wisdom and to be able to respond according to the principles of the Scripture where we find strength to face any trial.
Most people view their problems as though they were victims of their circumstances. But the truth is we face trials in order to accomplish God’s purpose in our lives. Seeing it the way God sees it will provide you calmness and inner peace. And as we learn and gain strength from our trials, so to must we share what we have learned to others who are faced with problems in their lives. This is what I believed and held on to.
Dad died on the morning of May 20th, 2013 and was laid to rest on a Sunday afternoon. He was a very simple man whose priority was his family. Reflecting on my brothers word’s in dedication to our Dad “You made us reached goals that we could not have imagined achieving simply by saying - kaya mo yan (you can do it)”.
And on this Father’s Day Dad to you I say “Thank you for endlessly loving Mom. Thank you for being the best Grand Father to our kids. Thank you for being my friend and thank you for all that you’ve done for us... We love you and will always miss you…”
Among those who have read my story, treasure your Dad the most you can. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to let him hear the words “I Love You Dad” while he still lives.
Happy Father’s Day to all..