Once again, I just realized something last night. After I put the kids to sleep, I sat down on the couch to have a little quiet time. My eyes gazed upon the pictures of these men from the little corner of our room.
From the left is my father-in-law and then my dad. It was just last night that I realized that I was the last family member to see them before they both passed away. So it feels weird and more sad to know that I witnessed their last moments.
It was afternoon. I was home with my father-in-law, and my husband was still at work. I was in the living room and he told me that he was going out to get those gallons of water from a nearby store. He had a little pushing cart with him. It was passed 2pm so I told him why not wait for his son so he did not have to walk? It was April 24, 2007. He said it was fine and besides, he needed to exercise. He told me he was going to go through the back door, and then he left. And at passed 3pm, he had an accident on the road and that was his end.
As for my Dad, for those of you who have not read my recent blogs, he just passed away two months ago. And with his passing, I wrote quite a few things about the experience and about him (you can check this entry: 14 day journey). Last August 4, 2015 (Tuesday) he had to undergo Tracheostomy. A tracheostomy is a surgery to make a hole in your neck that goes into your windpipe. He needed a tracheostomy since he was on a breathing machine (ventilator) for a long time. They needed to remove the intubator that was attached to him for two weeks to prevent further infections. I was informed that I should follow down to the operating room. I was there waiting outside. I was praying and thinking about him that finally, he would be relieved to get that thing off him. I waited and finally the doctor called me in to tell me that the procedure was done and everything was fine. I was so relieved. I waited until I saw him and the nurses pushing his bed. They had to give him Oxygen since he was depending on the breathing machine. They took the elevator and I took the stairs to meet them at the Intensive Care Unit. He was unconscious and I was watching him. The nurse was checking everything. She told me to rest and everything is stable with my dad. I sent text messages to my siblings to tell them that the procedure was successful and we can all go to sleep. I think it was around 10:30pm. Then after one hour, it was the end of his dear life.
Exactly a week ago, we physically said goodbye to our father. It was his interment. Everyday, sadness is a constant feeling in my heart. Mommy Eve and my siblings also feel the same way. We have to deal with it everyday. Memories flood me. I look at his pictures everyday…
I was at the park last Tuesday morning at 8:30 am. While I was looking at the beautiful view, the trees, the magnificent skies, I was remembering that it was the time last week that I was at the Intensive Care Unit watching my father die.
Sometimes it still feels very surreal, how the present time suddenly becomes a past. I close my eyes and I see I was crying at the airport. Next I see my Tatay suffering everyday. Then I see myself looking at his lifeless body. Followed by the wake and then the burial. Now I am back to my life here in the US carrying all these memories in my heart.
This morning I organized my closet. I set aside all my colorful clothes and put out the black, white, and greys. It is part of the culture/tradition in the Philippines when mourning to wear these colors for a year. So for this remaining year and until August 5, 2016 I shall have my new “wardrobe”. I love wearing bright colors but this time, the black, white and grey completely describe how I feel about losing my father.
I know things will get better in time. I will just have to go through this. This is part of living, part of being alive. To experience loss of a loved one.
“The Filipino practices for mourning have influences from Chinese, Japanese and folk Catholic beliefs. People may wear white or black. The color red is frowned upon in the time of mourning, it is believed that those who wear red within 9–40 days will die or suffer illness. The consumption of chicken during the wake and funeral is also believed to bring death among the relatives. There is an initial 9-day mourning practice called Pasiyam, a novena is to be prayed by those who are mourning. During those 9 days the spirit of the deceased is believed to be roaming. 40 Days, similar to the Buddhist practice of 49 days, is a folk Filipino Catholic practice of commemorating the dead after 40 days from their death date. A Mass and a small feast are held to commemorate the dead during the 40-day period, the 40th day as their judgment day. The immediate family wear black and when the one-year period is over, the first death anniversary will signal the end of mourning – celebrated by a feast.”