The Day When You Left

I choked up as I thought about it. I felt sick.  I went to church at 8:00 am this morning. I was standing there with a heavy heart. It was the very same time when he died. Everything happened around 11:00 pm to midnight (Manila time) two years ago.

I remember on that day, I just stayed beside him. He really loved listening to me and my siblings sing. So I sang any song that came to mind. All songs I could ever think of. We kept singing and talking to him despite that he was unconscious. Sometimes he was awake but we knew he was not the same. It was always just a blank stare.  I held his hands as if it was the last time.

It was 11:00 pm  when I received a message to proceed to the Intensive Care Unit. I had a bad feeling. I just left him 30 minutes ago and everything was fine. His operation (Tracheotomy) was a success. He was finally relieved from the tube he had for two weeks.

The nurse told me that he was stable. I could go and rest. I sent my good news to my siblings and everyone was pleased. We were all holding on to HOPE.

Everything quickly changed in just an hour.

I was walking towards the ICU and from afar I could see what was happening. His room was packed with nurses and a doctor. The room was very busy. They were all trying to revive him.  I could hear them. I was just less than 10 feet away. I sat on a chair and I had to lay my  head down on the table. I knew it was the end. I was so numb. I cried quietly. The doctor approached me and told me that they had to stop reviving him.

I had to make calls to tell the family. They all came and we did what we had to do. Then for the very first time, I went home. I fell asleep on his bed. We were all so very very tired emotionally and physically. I had no more strength.

Sometimes I would ask why did I have to see all that. It really broke my heart. I know that every time this day comes, I would feel the same way and I will remember EVERYTHING. For the rest of my life.

 

 

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On Its Second Year

 

It is true what they say. In time you will no longer feel much pain. You will keep moving. You’ll finally get used to the absence.

As much as I love him,  I try not to dwell on the thought that we lost him. I try to see it in a different perspective. He lives in us, we carry him in our hearts.

I still cry but not as much as I did. When he crosses my mind I feel sad but I feel much stronger now.

Although there are moments when I can’t help the tears especially when things around me bring vivid memories of him.

Like last night my kids were playing with their Dad. My little girl was walking on his back and saying that she’s giving him a massage. I remembered during our younger days when we would do the same. Tears fell from my eyes.

Just a while ago when we were watching one of our favorite comedy shows, if featured the 1980 something show called Knight Rider. I remembered the talking black car called KITT, that drove super fast, was bulletproof, fireproof, and helped Michael fought injustices in the world. It brought up some childhood memories. My siblings and I were fond of the super powered car that we named our family car, Kit. If I remember it right, our father even put up a moving light in front of our car pretending that we’re really driving Kit! Something like this:

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Every morning, to wake up my kids, I put up the curtain and let the sunlight into our bedroom. I talk to them or sing to them just the way our old man did.

I know there will be more reminders along the way. One clear proof that our love ones continue to live…

 

 

A Tribute To The Man

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.

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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!

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