4pm, in the middle of class, a young girl received a call that her dad was brought to the hospital very far from home because he collapsed going down the jeepney and was stroke. She had to leave school early, be with her family and visit her dad.
She saw her dad's eyes filled with tears and sadness as she and her two other sisters come in the room. She hugged her dad, thanking God that he was still alive. The youngest of the three hugged her dad as well and cried a little loud. The middle child remained silent. Sound of tears, thankful, sad teardrops surrounded the hospital room. The old man apologized for everything he has done and he said he might not make it.
Unlike any other days, the man lying on the bed, seemed to be a weak, frail version of the young girl's dad. "This is just a dream, a really, really bad dream", she said to herself. But reality slapped her in the face, when she realized she is waking up with her dad on the other room every day, no longer reporting for work, unable to move half of his body, cannot speak clearly and is stubborn than ever. He would be upset if he is not eating normally. He has therapy sessions weekly. And when he wants something and we cannot understand it, he will loudly cry in frustration.
It has been a tough 10 years for the family. He got better eventually. Better physically, as he grew strength from his regular sessions with the therapist. Though he still needed his cane, He became capable of walking straight from our home to the store on the other street. Even though his words are still tied up, people can understand his sentences better. More importantly, the old man seemed to be more expressive on his love and appreciation for his family. There was a time when the young girl got into a fight with an older man and when she came home crying, Dad was persistently pushing to go out and get back at the old man. There was also a time when he was sitting in front of our gate, seemingly waiting for someone or something to happen, and their neighbor's house was burning in fire. His family was still sleeping that time and he wanted to call their attention. Dad banged the gate for a lot of time to wake his family up and get their attention. He was shouting at the top of his lungs just to save his family and home from burning also.
Actions worked better with the old man, He made words unnecessary in communicating love and care to the people around him. Yes, he was stubborn at times but the family thought since then that everything will now be okay. Dad was getting better, The Mom's getting stronger and the young girl was getting wiser and older.
Seasons changed, years passed and there they are. Dad was joyfully spending his days at home, Mom was persistently working hard for the family, the younger sisters have grown to high school and college and that young girl from the beginning, the eldest in the family, is now on her senior year in college. She was the first granddaughter who will graduate in college that time. And though it has become somewhat a struggle, what the family then was doing was to wait until Graduation come and celebrate the first "victory" in the family.
Struggle in the waiting became misery when a call in August 24, 2009 was received by the young girl, 7 months and 7 days away from graduation, she got a call from her sister that Dad was not able to wake up from his siesta and that she needs to go home immediately after class because they need to fix the wake and everything.
It felt like a shooting star landing at the very bottom of her heart. Time stopped and world stood still. The young girl was shocked and didn't know what or how to feel. "Is this even real?" she said to herself. "Is this really happening? Because if this is just a dream, I would really like to wake up now." She couldn't bear it. Her feet was stucked in the position where she received the call. "What did I do to deserve this? I'm about to graduate without a father...One day I am going to marry someone I love, without my father."
And so she cried. Cried in the wake. Cried on the mass that was done before the burial. Cried before and after his cremation. Cried in the restroom of her school. Cried in the jeepney. Cried on her graduation. Cried on her way to her first job. Tears was uncontrollable. She felt like she was being miserable. And thought, "If i die now, I wouldn't want my mom or any of my love ones to be this miserable or sad when they think of me...I want them to smile and feel that I am still around. That death could not even surpass how much I love them." It had to stop, the sadness in her life. She had to move on.
One day, a good friend invited the young woman to a church named Victory. "Worship Night", her friend said and the young woman was okay with it. They entered a very clean and nice building, rode up to escalator. You can hear the singing of people from outside. Doors opened, colorful spotlights are everywhere, hands are raised, music was loud and lyrics was posted on a big screen.
"You are the whisper in my heart that speaks to me
And 'til I see You face to face
And grace amazing takes me home, I'll trust in You"
It will not come as a surprise if the young woman cried again that moment. This time with joy in her heart, knowing, feeling that she will see her dad again. Realizing that the key to happiness moving forward, is the fact that her dad was part of every good thing that is happening to her and for the greater things that await her.