Remembering Tatay

When I rode the Jeepney the other day, there was a father and his daughter sitting directly opposite me. I noticed how the girl was clutching at her daddy’s arm and the father holding one of his daughter’s hands while they sat companionably in silence.

Suddenly I missed my own dad terribly. He passed away almost four years ago and yet, there are times like these when I would miss him so much it makes tears come surging on the surface of my eyes.

I remember how we would watch movies together at home. He enjoys those action and period movies so much that my husband and I wouldn’t rent videos without finding something Tatay would like.

Now that VCDs and DVDs make movie-watching easier (no more time-consuming rewinds!), I would find myself thinking in the middle of a good movie that “Tatay would have enjoyed this one too.”

My father was a good-natured guy. He joked a lot and was such a friendly and helpful person that his funeral was said to have one of the longest processions in our town’s history, made up of people from our community and most of his relatives and friends from far away. That large number of people who paid their respects affirmed how much he was loved and appreciated by many.

Until now, there are times somebody would suddenly blurt out “I wish your dad is still here. He was such fun to be with.” Or whenever election times come around, I would hear comments like “Mang Romy would have made a good barangay captain unlike those people running now.” As it was, Tatay died while he was still a barangay councilor but people then were already urging him to run for captain. As his daughter, caring comments like those really warms my heart. It also shows that other people aside from our family missed him a lot too.

I also long for Tatay’s presence acutely whenever my youngest son would receive awards or have school activities where he would perform to the delight of everyone. I bet Daniel would have made his Tatay Lolo very proud. Daniel was still a baby when my dad retired from work. He would “sun” his apo in the early mornings, walking all over town and stopping by to chat with a lot of neighbors and friends. No wonder my son became more popular than I or my husband whenever we were out for a stroll. People we don’t even know would greet Daniel with indulgent smiles and my son would respond enthusiastically with waves and toothless grins.

I’m so glad we still have those home video footages I took of Daniel and his lolo. Amazingly, up to now, my already five-year-old son hasn’t forgotten his grandfather but would happily browse through photo albums now and then to look for pictures of Tatay Lolo.

I believe with my heart that somehow, my dad is still here watching over us. And that proves that much of his memories stayed to comfort and cheer us. It’s an affirmation that even though somebody went on to “the other side”, he will never be forgotten by people he loved and who have loved him the most in his lifetime.
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