Dang is an avionics maintenance specialist by profession, a woman of strength and passion.
Why So Soon?
It’s been months that I am enjoying my job. Almost every day, my dad was calling me after work, to ask me how I was and how my day has been. Even though it was tiring and pressured, I am glad that I was able to talk to my dad at the end of the day so I can feel relieved. I am always excited talking to him. As my first job, I want to give back to my parents and express my gratefulness through it. It was the month of November, the most tragic month of my life. November 5th when my mom died, celebrating her birthday on November 22nd, so I ask my dad to set something for my mom and I’m on it. I told him that I will be sending some of my salary for that and for him too, but my dad told me this, “I am just fine, you have to keep your money. You worked hard for it and save for yourself and your future”. Yet I insisted because it was the least I can do. I convinced him to accept it, and he thanked me for that very small thing. That means a lot to me already, that I can’t help myself and cried. I really want to make him feel that all his hard work for us were worthy. November 22nd, I was talking with my dad about how he was. He told me that he visited my mom in the memorial since it was her birthday and things were okay, at that moment I have a little jelly and sloppy feeling towards him, because of what I knew that he was dating someone already. Maybe I was not totally ready to have a stepmom, but it was fine with me. I respect that, and he deserves to be happy again.
Two days already that I haven’t heard anything from my dad. I just thought he was just busy. It never came to my senses that there could be something happened to him. Then, it was November 25, 2015, Wednesday around 9 in the morning, I received a message from our neighbor saying, I need to go home quick. I asked her why, but she kept on telling me to just go home as if it was that easy. I got so much nervous. Then I chatted my aunt what happened. She called me, and I know she was crying. I asked her again what happened, but it seems they don’t want to tell me directly, she just replied, “Your dad. Your dad”. I was freaking out already, I was on duty that time. I asked her, “Is he sick? Is he in the hospital? Tell me please.” I started crying and I’m so worried, because they don’t want to tell me. Until my brother messaged me that my dad is gone and he’s dead. “What gone? What are you talking about?”. I tried not to believe in him and hope he was just in the hospital and getting medications just to have some hope in me. Then he told me, “I am already fixing his funeral and please just go home safe.” I was blocked out when I heard it. I was trying to be hopeful that there were still chances that he was alive. At that moment, I can’t explain how I feel. Deeply broken, so much in pain, and shocked.
I packed up few of my things and quickly went to the airport. I just told my co-workers to cover-up for me and I will just send an email to my boss soon as I arrived home. It was 11 am when I reached the airport and look for the ticketing booth to book for the nearest available flight to Manila. I got the ticket and 1 pm was my flight, I seated on the waiting area while continuously crying. People look at me and asking if I’m okay. I just nod as a response. I was so broken. Tears won’t stop falling. When I arrived in Manila airport, I took a taxi and instructed him to bring me to Cubao bus station where I will meet up my aunt before we go straight home. At the station, my aunt hugged me while she was crying too. Along our way home, I was speechless and continuously crying. We reached home around 12 midnight, and my other aunts were there near the door and hugged me trying to comfort me. When I finally get inside our house, everything was set. But the most painful part is that I arrived to see a coffin completely closed that I am not able to see how my father looks like for the last time because they need to completely seal the body. The reason was that when they found the body, he was already two days dead in his room and locked up. It was already in the stage of decomposition. I totally get it, that’s why he was not able to call me for the past few days.
I tried to take a nap that night because I am so drained by crying and exhausted by travelling for almost the whole day. When I was about to get my sleep, I felt pressure on my hands as if someone was holding them tight and when I opened my eyes there was nobody. Maybe it was my dad, who’s trying to reach out for me. And I really felt it.
My dad died while he was asleep, and nobody was able to notice it soon. This gave me a feeling of regret and guilt that I was working far from home. It’s too painful.
My brother and I were living far from home because of the job we chose. That moment, I was thinking how sad he was, visiting my mom on her birthday, celebrating it alone, that we, his children were very busy with our lives. I have a huge regret that I missed the last days of his life on earth which I should be there for him. My brother feels the same way too. It was very hard to deal such situation in our life and only letting go of regrets and acceptance was the only way to keep going.
I miss my dad always. The way he always makes me feel better when I’m not in the mood, he knows how to comfort me. The times when he is seeing me pouting, he already knew I’m having a bad day. Preparing my favorite food, always supporting me in everything even though we usually fight before he agrees, still, he can’t stand it and just supports me with whatever I’m doing. Just like when I joined pageants, he will disagree at first but later, I know he was my number one fan even without even telling me directly. His friends told us that he was so proud with the two of us, my brother and I, that he always brags that we, his children, are already degree holders and have achieved a lot. He will not show us his soft side. He was very strict until I turned 18. My last dance with him was during my 18th birthday. That was very sentimental to me. He cried a little seeing that her princess is already a grown-up. I remember the moment that he was trying to teach me how to commute in Manila and he was so pissed that I can’t catch up the fast phase of vehicles and people in there, and ends up he was driving me to my job interviews and it’s either wait for me or pick me up after. And when I finally got the job, for two weeks, I was reporting duty in the main office in Manila before being sent outstation to Boracay Island. He was driving me to work and after, even if it is a late night, he picks me up. That is how supportive my dad was. All I can do now is reminisce those good times.
Sometimes, I was thinking, what’s the reason why my parents left so soon? What plans did God has set for me and why He have to do this? It has been years already and I am still longing for my parents so much, but again, only acceptance sets me free from the pains that I almost can’t bear in the past. I can say love your parents as long as they live and make time with them, because you’ll never know when they will be gone. Time will surely come that our chances will be over and all we can do is to reminisce the pieces in our treasured happy memories with them.
© 2021 Dang Zuniga
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 30, 2021:
So sorry to hear about the loss of your parents. It is good that there are other relatives around to support you in your grief. Please hang on the good memories of the happy times you shared with your mother and father.