Mourning the death of a loved one takes a lifetime of getting used to

IT’S been more than eight months now since Daddy passed away, and there’s not a waking hour on any given day that I don’t think of him.


The only time I don’t is whenever I’m asleep, as I have yet to dream of him or experience any sign assuring me that he’s all right. Well, perhaps he is. But as weeks turn to months, I will probably never find out for sure.


Come to think of it, there’s really no way for the bereaved to know what has happened to their deceased loved ones. But I’ve come across friends who were assured through signs, mostly in their dreams, supposedly from their departed relatives that they’re now indeed in a better, happier place.


Am I missing the forest from the trees here, or am I simply devoid of any ounce of sensitivity when it comes to such matters?


Whatever the reason is, I hope Dad does find what he so fervently wished for and believed in while he was still alive—a place in heaven presided over by a merciful God he so faithfully served, especially during the twilight of his life.


Grieving may come in layers, but over the months, I’ve also learned that there’s no chronological way of dealing with and experiencing it. Grief comes and goes and comes back again in varying forms and degrees.


For instance, I thought I was all over the regret part only to catch myself on certain days thinking of what might have been. Having done everything humanly possible to save my father, once in a while I still ask myself what would have happened if I had done things differently. Would he still be here with us today?


Then there’s regret that comes in the form of guilt. I might have been helpless to alter the course of things, but I could have dealt with it differently by, say, spending more time with Daddy and being more involved with his care. Instead of being so task-oriented about it, I could have simply allowed things and events to simply flow.


Such a change of attitude, I believe, would have made me kinder and more empathetic with my father’s plight. It would have probably made me a better, more sensitive person.


The last few months have also been a series of firsts for me. Since I knew no housemates except my parents, it comes as no surprise that I’m reminded of my father wherever I turn at home. But it’s the little things he did, which I seemed to have taken for granted, that now serve as constant reminders of him.


I remember calling home to check on my mother a few weeks after my father died half expecting him to answer the phone with his soothing voice like he always did. Of course, I knew I would never hear his voice again. And that one single phone call sort of confirmed it—Daddy’s gone, and he’s never going to come back again.


The hours I spend working as a journalist are long and unpredictable. When Dad was a wee bit younger, he would always open the gate for me even during the wee hours before I park my car in the garage after a long, tiring day.


As he grew older, such instances became more rare. But whenever he was still up, he would open the gate, welcome me and ask how my day was without fail.


My mother, who takes all sorts of medications to manage every imaginable disease, would be knocked out by then. But my Dad was different. He could stay up all night if the occasion called for it, and will himself to sleep in short intervals the next day.


Now, I’m starting to get used to opening the gate by myself. But every time I do, I can’t help myself from pining for a far better, less complicated time barely a year ago when my father was still up and about with a ready answer and solution to almost every issue at home, which I was either incapable or didn’t want to deal with.


I may have legally reached adulthood some 30 years ago, but with my father’s recent passing, it’s only now that I feel the weight of being a real adult who call the shots at home.


It would take some getting used to, but I’m in no hurry, as I have the rest of my life to learn how to face up to the situation alone. My only wish is for Daddy to be there in spirit to help guide me every step of the way.









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