Thursday, September 5, 2013

Remembering Daddy

"Wind blowing on my face
Sidewalk flying beneath my bike
A five-year old's first taste
Of what freedom's really like.."

I am the eldest of 4 children. My dad was a doctor, employed as a company physician in a large textile manufacturing plant. I guess my dad wanted a son for a first born, and had no second thoughts of buying boy stuff for me. When I was little, I had the best toys - a big pedal car, a special hand made slingshot, toy soldiers, and battery operated trains and trucks. 

"He was running right beside me
His hand holding on the seat
I took a deep breath and hollered
As I headed for the street.."

The best gift I received as a child was a shiny red bicycle! I was lucky enough to have grown up in a large house, with a long 4 car garage where I learned to balance on my new bike. I have lost count of how many scrapes, bruises and bumps I got in my desire to learn to ride a bike on my own. One Saturday afternoon, Daddy was right there beside me, giving me tips, cheering me on and yet scared to let go of the seat for fear that I might fall (again). How exhilarating it was to finally be able to ride my shiny red bike all by myself. My dad's eyes could not conceal how proud he was of me that day.

"You can let go now, Daddy, you can let go
Oh, I think I'm ready to do this on my own
Its still a little bit scary but I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy. You can let go.."

I eventually learned to ride the bike. No more wobbling, no more sudden stops. I would ride my bike around the driveway and the backyard for hours until my butt was sore. I loved that bike. I was confident enough to go biking to the store, to a classmate's house, to the bakery. I hated running errands, but when I earned my parents' trust to ride the bike outside the house, I was already volunteering to do it for every member of the family.  When I got to that age when girls have that growth spurt, my Dad decided it was time to get me a bigger bike. I loved the new one even more! Daddy would watch me from the front porch as I circled around and around. He loved me. I am sure of that.

"I was standing at the altar
Between the two loves of my life
To one I've been a daughter
To one I soon would be a wife.."

The phase of teenage rebelliousness was the norm. I felt how much my parents resented my partying, my sleep-overs with friends. I explained that I was not doing anything that I would regret later on. I needed my parents' trust. In exchange, I breezed through college and handed them my diploma - a degree in Zoology. Done and over with in 7 semesters. I was more than ready to get into medical school.

But fate had its way. A few months after graduation from pre-med, I got pregnant. I could not even dare to look Daddy in the eyes. He was hurt. I hurt him. All I did was cry. I was so guilty. Daddy's words pierced my very being - "What have I done to deserve this?"

Despite his reluctance, Daddy needed to set the path straight for me again. He continued to send me through medical school. He took care of the expenses for my baby. He paid for the entire wedding and reception. He still believed in me. 

"When the preacher asked
'Who gives this woman?'
Daddy's eyes filled up with tears
He kept holding tightly to my arm
Till I whispered in his ear

You can let go now Daddy, you can let go
Its still feels a little bit scary
But I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy. You can let go.."

Years passed. I was a junior in med school, had two kids and lived in a small apartment, several blocks away from my parents. I spent one weekend at my parents' house when Daddy called me in his room. He told me to sit down beside him on the bed. "What's up, Dad?" I asked. Daddy took a deep breath and said.. "I have cancer. I know I do. I am a doctor. I am sure of this" 

My whole body went numb. My dad who was strong and healthy, so fun loving and always after the welfare of my mom and my siblings is sick with cancer? It can't be true. No! Its not true. I sat there in silence. I finally found some words to say..."Does mom know?" 

"It was killing me to see the strongest man I ever knew
Wasting away to nothing in that hospital room
You know he's only hanging on for you
That's what the night nurse said
My voice and heart were breaking
As I crawled up on his bed and said...

You can let go now, Daddy. You can let go
Your little girl is ready to do this own my own
Its gonna be a little bit scary but I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy. You can let go..
You can let go."

My father died on the 26th of April, 1992. We were at his bedside until his heart beat its last. Daddy finally let go. 

"You can let go now, Daddy"
Artist: Crystal Shawanda

Thank you to Larry Lan, the artist who uploaded this wonderful video.


  1. Sigh......crying out loud here many parts of your story I could relate taught me how to bike...I broke his heart when I got pregnant second semester in med school....he cried infront of me saying it was only the second time he cried in his lifetime...first time was when his mom died... that phrase your dad said...mine said dad died without me knowing what his final diagnosis this day I do not have the courage to look at his biopsy result...I feel it too was have a beautiful childhood sis and was raised very well....uour dad is proud of you wherever he is and I wish he has met my dad up in the clouds....see you in December soul sis? P.S. you write so beautifully....noticed some typos....:) love yah...

  2. Thanks, sis. We must have been twins in a past life!

    Sorry for the typos. There were so many distractions last night when I was doing this. Edited them all. I guess its good to go now.


  3. OMG! this is such an emotional post! Simply beautiful!

  4. What a wonderful tribute to your dad. I'm so sorry that you lost him so early, though I am glad you have many fond memories of him.

  5. Thanks for sharing this post. It's beautiful! It's great to have such wonderful memories of your loved ones!

  6. I could totally relate! Makes me wanna run to my dad and hug him so tight! :)

    Pauchee C.

  7. This post made me cry :-( I lost my dad to Cancer in March, he fought a long and hard battle.

  8. Sorry to hear about your Dad, im sure you miss him terribly. He is probably around watching over you. This is a sad and heartwarming story.

  9. This is beautiful, you have me crying here. I hope I am never without my daddy

  10. Aww. Your dad died on my year. I'm a daddy's girl too and this made me sad. sigh*

  11. ano ba yan...basa basa ko to while watching my legal wife yung kay nichole na nag so heavy in my heart...teary eye aketch..hahaha..
    never experience a father-daughter relationship..never seen my biological father..but its not bitter.

  12. This is such a tearjerker. I'm still lucky to have my Dad around. Fathers are the pillars of our home that strengthen the foundation but may weaken once they are gone.

  13. Your post made me cry. I lost my father in 2003, I still wish that he's here but I know he is happy now and peaceful!

  14. such a very emotional post indeed! my dad is a religious person. but never he asked me to stop things like a normal teenager would do but he was always straight to the point to give me reminders everytime.

  15. I'm out of words to describe this emotionally-filled post. For a father like me, saying goodbye for the last time to your children is a hard pill to swallow. Great tributr to your loving father. Ay, out of words pa yan.

  16. You write beautifully, with the message so clear I can feel it through the words.

  17. Your post reminds me to honor my father more. You were so lucky to have a very supportive and loving Dad.

  18. this is a very wonderful remembrance of your father, of how amazing he was to you and how memories still fresh in your mind. i'm sure that he will always be a proud father to you.

  19. awwwwwwww...what a wonderful sure he is happy of what you have accomplished in life.

  20. Very well written Eileen. I can feel you, I had tears while reading your post. It made me missed my Dad all the more. You were lucky to have a Dad like him. I'm sure he's happy seeing you and your kids' accomplishments.

    My Dad didn't allow me to ride a bike, all four of us (all girls) - we can't ride the bike, it was a no-no for him :-) My only brother is the only one in the family that knows to ride a bike.

  21. Oh how I miss my Papa as well, he was such a caring and loving dad for me and my siblings :) He loved my mom very much too :)

  22. Grabeng iyak ko! Waaaa. I'll treasure every moment that I have with my Papa.


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