6 years is not long enough, but we have learned to move on.
It has been tough to unwillingly let go of a parent. But I believe it is more difficult to lose a child. Despite of my grief for the loss of my dad, I feel for those who have lost their little angels (most especially to the family of Given and to the innocent youth).
Nobody expects death. But in his last days, Papa shared a few words of what he saw after life.
It was October 22, 2005 (a Saturday) when I visited Papa in the hospital. He was recuperating from a spinal surgery earlier that month. I could not forget how Papa insisted on trying the wheelchair that day. We both knew I couldn't get him on it (I was 7 months on the way). Still, he asked that I help him sit and stand so he can try the wheelchair. He said he had to practice because he will be going home on Wednesday.
Oh that's good news, I said to him. But I doubted it because he could hardly move. He had visitors most of the weekend and we are so thankful that they came. It somehow amused him and took away his pain. And yes, he announced that he is going home on Wednesday. I can still remember his festive mood and how he said he can eat food that he was not allowed prior to the surgery.
After surgery, he started to see things that mom couldn't see. He felt pain and he would try to describe it to mom. He asked mom to indulge him with some of his favorite food. However, mom didn't oblige because he was on a strict diet. We felt bad that we couldn't give in to his requests but we wanted him to get well.
At unusual hours of the day, Papa would describe to mom what seemed like snapshots of a fuzzy dream. He told her that he dreamt of a strange parade. What made it strange was that people were parading him. And then another time, he woke up scared. He told mom that he was placed in a cold and dark room where he could barely move. Mom didn't want to offend Papa so she just went along but didn't take his stories seriously.
October 24 was my youngest sister's 9th birthday. As a treat, a family friend took her to Manila on the 25th so she can visit dad. Papa was so happy to see her. They haven't seen each other for 4 months. They have grown close because Papa mostly spent his time with her after his retirement. Since Papa had tubes in his nose and mouth, he wasn't able to talk to her, but we saw tears roll down his cheeks and felt how he had missed her.
At 4am, October 26, Papa succumbed to his call.
At first, mom thought Papa was hallucinating from the drugs given to him. Things only became clear to her and to us after we have laid him to rest in his new home. Mama realized that Papa was trying to show her the signs. Mama felt bad that she didn't understand him. The parade was actually the long walk we had to take him from the church to the cemetery. The cold and dark room could be his tomb. These prepared him to go home on Wednesday (October 26, 2005).
In November 17, I gave birth to my eldest and nicknamed him after my father. I always tell my son how Papa would have loved to play with him (Papa loved kids).
Someday and someplace, indeed, we will be together again. In the meantime, we have to have faith and believe that things happen for a reason.