Thursday, December 03, 2009

My Father

He was a seaman for most of his life. It was what he was born to do, I believe. He was most comfortable at sea than land.

His contract, mostly overseas, left us, his family, alone months at a time. We'd receive mails (no mobile phones then), postcards of beautiful places, greeting cards from him and the occasional phone call when they dock.

I grew so used to him not being at home that when he was there, I felt slightly shy and ill at ease at his company. A price, I believe, that all OFW's and their family share in exchange of the better paying work abroad.

He was a good father, really easy-going. I have never felt any demands from him. He left the disciplining to my mother. In fact, he never once laid a hand or even scolded me.

He was loving but not showy. I just knew, without a doubt that he loved each and all of us with all his heart. He would usually just pat me on the head everytime he'd leave. And call me Anak in that loving way of his.

I was his eldest and what my mother would say, the favorite. I certainly felt like a princess with my Father. The times he was at home from sea, he'd bring me to his office and proudly show me off to his co-workers. He'd bring me to the park and watch me play and we'd eat at his and my favorite restaurant afterwards. And, since I contracted polio when I was six years old, he'd usually me carry me on his back so I won't get tired.

Father always looked so strong and invincible to me then. Aside from his strong and compact build, he had this aura of confidence. As if nothing can faze him. That he can do everything. That he can always make things right for me and my mother.

I felt so secure with my Father. As a child I have never known fear because of him. That is why, even my having polio did not hinder me in any way. Because of his trust and confidence in me, I felt I, too, can do anything as long as it's right and in God's will.

Father, as in most things, was not showy when it comes to religion. We'd sometimes go to Church on a Sunday but it was not a regular practice. Although unsaid, I came to adopt his principle of practicing religion not by strictly following Catholic practices but by trying to live an upright and honest life.

Father was diagnosed with kidney failure January of 2007. It was a shock and though he rallied against it and even went against the doctor's advise of having dialysis, he slowly came to weaken. His weight dropped and it was painful to see him go from my big and healthy father, to the sick and thin one.

He didn't want us to worry and tried hard to hide any pain that he was feeling. He refused to take his meds after a few months saying it only made him feel worse.

He died April of 2009. The two years after he was diagnosed were still a blessing. He was able to finally spend time with us. He and my Mother became almost newlyweds. They got to talk more and spent time with each other.

And, he was able to enjoy being a full time Grandfather to my daughter. He took care of her and spent more time than he was able to do with us, his children, since he was working abroad then.

I thank God for my Father. For blessing us with him. I do not discount his shortcomings but it is only after a loved one is gone that one realizes that those shortcomings were not important after all. That you'd wish you understood them more, hugged them tighter, and loved them better.

Nearly a year has passed since Father died but I still cry most times. We all miss him and pray for him always. He may be gone, but in our hearts, Luisito "Chito" Sabordo, husband to my mother, father to us his children, grandfather to his grandchildren, friend, colleague, he will always remain.

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