Day 15

Exactly one month ago was the day dad took a drastic turn for the worse.

This was the day we had to rush him to the hospital because he had started losing overall muscular control.

We all thought he would just stay in the hospital for a few days to regain his strength.

Little did we know then that it would be his last car ride ever. And that he would never again leave the hospital alive.

I recall during the seemingly endless and painful ride going to the hospital while dad was gasping for breath, moaning with pain and trying to hold back his bladder — I couldn’t speak, couldn’t even think. All that existed at that point in time was how unbearably painful it was seeing and hearing him that way.

15 days after dad’s passing, little bits and pieces of images continue to flash in my head every now and then. Images come unbidden of those moments where my once strong and happy father was feeling his worst inside out. The moments when his desire to live had deserted him, and all that was left was despair and hopelessness.These were the moments when he would cry, weep or shed a tear wordlessly. The moments when he would ask permission to just pass away and leave us behind.

I wish I could just erase these memory flashes, take away all the horror and despair that surrounded our family during these times. And I wish to God that my memories of my father would be nothing but the good memories.

It’s not to be so.

Those who’ve grieved all tell me it will take some time for the painful memories to become a little less harsh. It will take an even longer time to start resurrecting happy memories that don’t leave an empty gaping hole in your heart.

Over the weekend, I told mom that one of the most difficult things I have to live with now is the fact that in his last few years, most of my interaction with dad was very unpleasant. The last few years of his life characterized the worst part of our relationship. At some point, we had not spoken to each other for several months because I was angry. Mom acknowledged this, saying that the sad part about our relationship is that the last few years, our relationship was all about money.

My birthday was a perfect example. On that day, (my birthday was the day before we rushed him to hospital), dad never even texted me or called me to greet me a happy birthday. True that maybe he was feeling extremely ill already. But my mom reminded me… he was strong enough to text to ask for money.

Dredging up good memories is harder for me than it is for the rest of my family.

The hard part about all this is realizing that while I couldn’t change the nature of our relationship, I could’ve spent more time with him so that we could create better and happier memories to offset the memories we don’t quite want to remember.

In the hopes that this blog, and this entry would resonate with one or some of my readers, here’s something I want you to remember.

All human relationships have imperfections. We can’t all always get along. The closer we are to someone, the bigger the chances of encountering conflicts, problems, and the better chances of getting hurt or angry along the way.

But really, if we take time to nourish those relationships that matter, investing more time and more in the relationship is bound to give both of you more memories to cherish. So much so that all the things you wish had never happened; all the negatives that surround your relationship — would pale in comparison to all the happier times.

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