Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pop Goes My Heart

I miss your comforting presence. I miss how you’d just be seated at your favorite chair in the sala. I miss seeing you wearing any one of your numerous caps. I miss the way you shake your head in bemusement. I miss how you’d always fall asleep even before halfway into any movie. I know you said a couple of times before that you were just waiting for God to take you, but even though I’m happy you’re already at rest and at peace, and I go through most of my daily life with nary a thought of you, I still miss you sometimes. Yesterday was one of those times. Daddy, rest easy.

* * * * *

Aside from April Fools Day, April 1 is also my dad’s 3rd death anniversary. Three years ago he sat in his favorite sofa to wait for my mom to finish dressing up. They were on their way to the 6am daily mass, as always. He closed his eyes and had a massive heart attack. He never opened his eyes again. I remember the weight of his body as my brother and I carried him into the car to bring to the hospital. Days after my brother and I would agree—the way his body was so limp, we expected the worst.

I had to call my boss to tell her I wasn’t coming to work. I had to preface my announcement with, “Um, this isn’t a bad April Fools joke, ma’am.” Well, it was but the joke was on us. My dad must have been giggling at us that morning; our family always had an absurd sense of humor.

* * * * *

My mom cried over his body as the clinic attendants covered it with a blanket. I was wondering if I should comfort her, but decided not to. She wasn’t distraught. She was just saying, “Dee, Dee” over and over (“Dee” was short for both daddy—which she used whenever she’d address him in front of us kids—and Doodie, his nickname, which she used whenever she was mad at him, to hell if we were in front of them.) I suppose she knew that day would come. I decided to give my parents their personal space for the last time.

* * * * *

Too bad I only said “I love you, Daddy” once, and it was even a bit forced—heck, we were being released from the Days With The Lord retreat, and we were commanded to hug our parents and tell them, “I love you!” or else we’d look like ungrateful children in the eyes of the retreat masters and the Lord Himself. Talk about fear pressure. But I realized you were not the type who said things. You did things. And towards the last remaining years of your life I was able to show, not tell, you that I loved you.

Well. That got me off the hook.

Still: I love you, Daddy.


Ernesto said...

I wish I had the chance to tell my mom I loved her before she passed away. Although its been over a decade, I think about her all the time.

migs, the manila gay guy said...

Very touching, Joel.

Raymond said...

Thank you for sharing this, Joel. I too remember the Days With The Lord retreat and being ordered to say those three words. We thought it was corny then, but the older we get, the more we understand.

josh said...

This story made my eyes teary... I feel lucky to still have both parents alive, what irony, april fools

joelmcvie said...

JOSH: Appreciate your parents. Just show them your love in any way or form that you guys are comfortable with. I'm sure parents and children have a built-in sincerity detector. And you guys will feel the love. :-)