Sunset. The sun was setting as I pained long Friday traffic jams, on the way to your house from Manila, only to find you not there anymore. Only to find wet eyes, and a very well-lit pavilion waiting for your lifeless body.
It’s been twenty freaking four hours since we left Tatay’s body in his final resting place. It hurts more now, and it’ll hurt more tomorrow, but there is joy in sorrow, the Lord promised that death is not the end. He said in John 11:25 ,“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”.
People have always tagged me as that spoiled brat who gets whatever she wants in a good kind of way. From dolls when I was younger, to booze now that I am older, my Tatay Frankie never said “NO” to whatever I ask of him. My dad, my other grandfather and Tatay Frankie (my Mom’s stepfather) would always give me the things I want, and they will let me do whatever I want to do in life because they trust me. Last Friday, I lost my Tatay Frankie to cardiac arrest. I asked questions as I cried my eyes out.
You could’ve prevented this, Lord. Why? In the past three years, Tatay gets his annual vacation at St. Lukes Medical Center – Global City. He’ll stay there for at least a month, in the Intensive Care Unit, battling numerous complications and heart attacks. And in the past three years, I’d pray. I’d tell the Lord to save him, and spare him from possible death. I’d sleep in waiting areas, and spend sleepless nights looking after him. I was never tired, and I never got tired of looking after Tatay. I’d tell the Lord not to take him away from me, and the Lord answered “yes”. He survived 3 years of severe organ complications, the last was 2016, was when his kidney failed and he had to undergo dialysis a few times a day.
You could’ve at least allowed me to come home before taking Tatay away, Lord. Why? Last Friday, God finally gave me the most painful “NO” in my life. I was at the bank, fixing some glitches at the bank and left my phone in the office. I went back to get my phone, and sat down while my boss and colleagues were having a meeting. My mom sent me an FB message, asking me to pick up her call. I still did not, instead asked her “why?”. She was annoyed, I know. But she told me through chat to come home quick, because Tatay is gone. I cried, immediately, in denial of that message. I was crying so hard, I was crying so bad. I prayed, I told the Lord to spare him of death again, that I want to be home, with Tatay alive, and I even bargained, I asked the Lord to at least keep Tatay breathing until I’m home, but he said NO. I was on the line to board the bus when my cousin told me “Ako nga hindi naintay ni Tatay, uwi ka na ate”. I did not know what to feel. I was hurting, and angry, and confused. Why now? Why not wait for me? Why didn’t you say good-bye first, Tatay? But then the sunset on my way home reminded me that endings can be beautiful, too.
I could’ve prayed for Tatay to get well soon, but I prayed on his funeral instead, Lord. Why? While Tatay was in the hospital for the past years, I’d pray to God. I’d pray hard every night, or just whenever I want to. Everytime he’d stop responding to medicines, or won’t wake up, I’d pray for Tatay. Yesterday, I never imagined that the last prayer I’ll ever give Tatay is a prayer during his funeral services. I prayed for him and for all the people he left behind, and I prayed for me, because I know that it’ll be harder each day, and the only thing that could make me and family strong, is the promises of the Lord.
You took Tatay away, and now I am not sure of my emotions, Lord. Why? Death is a painfully beautiful thing. It’s the end of a journey and a start of another. It’s the body leaving the earth, and the spirit entering heaven. It’s the end of earthly pain and agony, and the start of eternal joy and peace. Death is hard to accept, but the promises of the Lord aren’t, because He is a faithful God who knows how to keep His word. The past few days were hard, and I have been crying my eyes out since the day the Lord decided to welcome Tatay in His arms. However, my emotions were never stable throughout the wake til’ the burial. I was grieving for his body, but my heart was rejoicing for his soul. I miss him, but I also do not want him to continually have needles and tubes and cords inserted to his body. I was even asking him yesterday, during his wake, to come home with us again, and tell me that this isn’t real, but I remembered that you are now in our true Home, with the Father, who loves him more than we do.
I have questions and I can’t seem to find the answers, Lord. Why? One of my favorite songs comfort me at this moment of grieving. I told the Lord what I wanted for Tatay, I wanted Tatay to be okay, and be alive, and be healthy again, but the Lord knows better than I. Facing the death of a loved one, most especially someone you love most is painful and hard, but faith is making it easy for me. I have questions I do not know the answers to, and I am starting to accept the fact that maybe knowing I don’t know is part of getting through. I realized that surrendering Tatay to the Lord while he was weak and full of pokes and holes and needles in St. Lukes, is the same as surrendering him now that his body is laid to rest.
Our family loves Tatay Frankie so much. I do, I still do, and I will always do. But Jesus loves him more, more than most, completely. And that love which Tatay is being showered with in Heaven right now, is the same love that is embracing my breaking heart with serenity.