It was an emergency. Seven months ago, my father had an operation. His appendix already burst for days. So when they found out, he needed to undergo surgery right away. It was bad since it could cause infection to other organs of the body, besides the fact that he is diabetic, has kidney & heart concerns. The scariest for me was the delusions. He was acting confused, seeing things, slurred speech, his odd behaviors. He suffered from stroke in a particular area on his brain causing the symptoms mentioned. Concerning my parents, so far, this has been the most terrifying experience.
As I heard the updates from my brother and sisters, I was really affected. I was thousand miles away. Days passed by and he was still in the Intensive Care Unit. I spoke to my husband and I needed to come home to see him. When your love one is in pain, at least you want to be there physically to comfort them. I decided I had to fly with my kids. My husband had to stay for work. The travel was not easy. I just found out that my 2 year old has fear of heights. She was crying the whole time in the flight and she could not stand the altitude. I felt so sorry for my baby girl. It was really a sacrifice. Thank God my mom came with me to help me.
We arrived in Manila. That day I went to see my father in the hospital. He lost so much weight. He looked really bad. It was the first time I saw him so sick and weak, and it was totally heartbreaking. We prayed over him, we were visiting everyday. I brought my kids, and he saw my little girl for the first time. My son would sing to him and hold his hands. With lots of love and prayers, finally he was sent home. He was cleared by his doctors. I was glad that we still had three weeks to take care of him at home. Literally, he had too much medicines to take round the clock (around 30 kinds). I had to make a list of schedule. I was hands on. It was my honor to take care of him. I believe with the family’s love, support, and prayers, he survived and he got better. Before we left for the States, he was already walking (with support) and his speech was already clear.
Now, we keep in touch through texting, phone calls, video calls. I always ask God to grant my parents longer lives so we can still let them feel our love, our gratitude for giving us life. Surely, they are not perfect! They have flaws. Not all memories with parents are good (at least for me). But I know that they have done their best. They did what they can. And they will always be a part of me. I am an extension of them. They will live in me.
My Tatay (Filipino term for father) will celebrate his birthday two months from now. He is turning 82 years old. I thank God for giving him another chance to live. Another year. And more years to come. I just want to recognize him, while he is still around.
Recently, my father was acknowledged by our City. He was one of the recipients of the “Dangal ng Bacoor (Honor/Pride of Bacoor, our hometown in the Philippines). This is the second time he received the same award. I checked websites if there was an article written about it. There was one, but they only mentioned the famous celebrities who were recipients too. So here is my chance to include my father, Atty. Hermoso Tan Lazaro. “Dangal ng Bacoor” – an event that recognized the achievements of its local sons and daughters in various fields, among them Eric Buhain for sports, Diether Ocampo and Marian Rivera for the entertainment industry; former Supreme Court Chief Justice Manuel Pamaran; former Department of Justice Secretary Serafin Cuevas; and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Cesar Sarino.” (http://mbpublications.com/cruise/2008/11/11/bacoors-bounty/). My father is not famous. He is not a public figure, but he was chosen to be a recipient of this award. That makes it more special!
Hermoso Tan Lazaro was born on March 11, 1933 in Cavite, Philippines. Son of Atty. Dominador Guinto Lazaro and Tomasa Sanchez Tan. He is a younger brother to Dr. Lourdes Tan Zebell. His sister pursued her medical career in the United States in her early 20’s.
He went to FEU Law School and passed the bar exam. He was accepted in the National Bureau of Investigation (counterpart of FBI here in the States) and worked his way up the ladder. From being an agent chasing the bad guys, he became Assistant Director of the Bureau when he retired. He also got a training in Quantico Virginia (http://www.mocavo.com/Directory-of-Graduates-of-the-Fbi-National-Academy-and-Officers-of-the-Fbi-National-Academy-Associates-1997-98/121011/669). I believe he spent more than 50 years of his life serving in the Bureau (I will have to call them for exact details). I remember when I was little we would go on vacation in different provinces where he was assigned to work as Regional Director. In high school, he had his office in Manila. Sometimes I would come to visit after class.
Remembering my father, he was good looking, strong, mighty, tough, intimidating, dominant, powerful, dignified. Clearly, he was an achiever. Other than that, to us, he was a good father. He did a great job protecting us and providing everything that we need. I have funny memories of him too (particularly his corny jokes). Now that he is old, physically weak, he needs to know that his legacy will not be forgotten. He will look the same to us forever, and that we will always be proud of him!