One of my closest friends just lost her dad. The whole family migrated to the US just five months ago leaving behind her dad and mom, and her favorite dog. The 10 minutes that we talked on the phone seemed like one hour, during which she bawled most of the time and I could offer nothing except my full attention. Words are really not necessary at times like this. The loving comfort of a friend thousands of miles away could do a lot for someone whose heart is being torn apart by hurt. I could feel her pain and the sense of frustration that she can't do anything but accept reality. I was hurting while she was hurting.
This reality hit me hard, so very hard. At once, I thought of my own father. I said a prayer for God to still give me many years to spend with him. God, in His infinite wisdom, told me that it is perfectly all right to be worried about my father, but, it is also all right to start accepting the fact that death is inevitable for everyone.
My friend was very close to her dad. She was his shadow, everywhere her dad went, she was there. She took annual leaves from the office just to accompany her dad to his appointments. In fact, when she got the notice from the US Embassy that their papers are being processed, she felt quite sad with the thought of leaving behind her parents, aged 89 and 84 years old.
My friend, her husband and two children were living with her parents in a 2-storey townhouse in Mandaluyong City. She used to tell me that early in the morning when she hears her dad moving about in his room, she would practically grab her towel and rush to the bathroom downstairs. I was laughing hard when she told me that it takes her dad around 1o minutes to go down the flight of stairs leading to their sala, and waiting for her dad to reach the last step would mean that she's late for work. My friend and I spent a lot of time talking about how she came into this world. Her dad was working in the diplomatic community when her eldest sister was born in London, after which her dad was transfered to the USA where her brother was born. And finally, her parents relocated back to Manila where she was born. Her sister holds a UK passport, her brother a US passport, and how she made faces whenever she says that she's holding a Philippine passport. But don't get me wrong, my friend is proud to be Filipino. But this story on WHERE she was born never fails to amuse me.
Her dad was a traditional dad, he provided well for the family, watched them all grow up, get married and have families of their own. In all these years, her dad was a silent spectator of most of her joys and heartaches, never interfering in her sometimes complicated life. His constant presence in their home was like a soothing balm for my friend whose work involves dealing with humanitarian emergencies, and she was thankful every time she comes home to a place where she sees her parents up and about - reminds her of the blessing that she's living in a country that is not torn by war, or a place where disasters strike anytime of the day and take away all one's possessions and even loved ones.
With her dad now gone, my friend is still thankful that her dad passed away peacefully in his sleep. I bet he's now watching over her, with a twinkle in his eyes and wanting to tell her that she still looks beautiful in spite of bawling so much over his death, and that everything's all right in his world now. An unexpected visit to her dad by an unexpected guest, but then, the occasion is for her dad to celebrate a new life with our Creator. Cheers to my friend, Joanne! I love you!