My father was supposed to have a knee-replacement surgery the next morning, November 7. He was very nervous, very anxious about the whole thing that he keeps telling us that he just wants to have it massaged and skip the surgery. Us, who understood his condition more than he did, tried to explain to him over and over that without the surgery, he won’t be able to keep walking for long.
Yes, we understood it more than he does for he was deaf and mute. As I once mentioned in my article Saying I Love You Without Saying I Love You, he was the most stubborn person I knew, but he was deeply loved and cared for. We did what we could, me, my uncle and my aunt who all lived under the same roof.
We served him food every day, sometimes to the point of cutting it up into small, bite-sized pieces for him. We would come whenever he called. We tried to explain to him that there is no cause of worry about the surgery he was having, and that he would be allowed to go back home to his wife, my mother, once he is all healed up and fully recovered.
Still, no amount of service and explaining would be enough to cure his anxiety. Funny thing about him is he knows we care about him and he uses it against us. He would refuse to eat the food we serve him, only to eat alone when nobody’s around to see him eat. We know this for sure because we would sometimes catch him on the act and his face turns into that of a kid caught stealing cookies.
I would admit though that as human as I am, I sometimes lost patience with him and complained about his behavior. I was mad at him for making it hard for us to take care of him. Whether I was wrong for being mad at him or not, I leave it to your judgement and I accept any reaction whatsoever.
The night before he died, I went to my cousins’ place to hangout. We had plans to hangout that day, but had to postpone it because my other cousin was sick. But because I was mad and needed to vent, I opted to go to their place and just get pizza. I complained about him. I felt like I didn’t want to see him that night. I left him alone.
I had so much fun and shared laughs with my two cousins. It was so much fun that I stayed there until about two in the morning and got home around two thirty. I felt a bit hungry so I cooked something in the kitchen and ate. After that I went upstairs to sleep at around three. I wanted to check on him, but I did not to my eternal regret.
About five in the morning, my uncle woke me up yelling loudly. I was irritated of course but something must be up so I slowly got up and went downstairs and the first thing my uncle told me was “your dad may be dead” and I looked behind him, and my dad was there, lying down by the kitchen door as if asleep.
He was still warm and soft. I checked his pulse on his wrist and nothing. Then I checked his pulse on the neck and nothing. I listened to his heart placing my ear on his chest and nothing. My father was dead. I was frozen. Should I cry? Should I shake him up until he wakes up? Should I pinch myself to wake up from this nightmare? Thoughts raced to my head so fast I couldn’t catch up.
We moved him back to his bed. My uncle didn’t know what to do either so he called an aunt who told him to call 911. He did, and the person on the other line instructed me to lay him back on the floor and provide CPR. I know how to do CPR as a registered nurse, but I somehow became dumb that moment. The police and firemen came minutes later, asked questions, and pronounced him dead.
It was a storm of thoughts. I know I had to call my mother whom I have ignored for so long and tell her what happened, but I didn’t want to call of a sudden in months only to tell her that the love of her life is dead. I did not until my uncles and aunts told me to. It was painful to just dial the number. In fact, I didn’t even have her number and had to look through old Facebook messages. I was a bad son.
I didn’t want to deal with the pain. It was something I never felt my entire life. If I could describe it, I’d say it’s like having a body part taken away that you can’t ever take back. It’s like a sinking, stabbing pain in the chest that cannot be healed. I had to go out. I had to have fun. I had to cover the hole with something, somehow. The days after my father’s death may also be the most fun days of my life.
I asked cousins to take me to places. I spent the most money I ever spent in my life and did things and bought things. I wanted to make myself happy. But the funny thing is, no amount of fun could seal the hole in my heart. It all comes back to me time and time again, reminding me that it’s never gonna be better, that it’s never gonna be the same again.
Fast forward to yesterday at his viewing. He looked great. The mortuary people did a good job. The person who led the prayers did it so well that even a non-believer such as myself felt it. He got the best service any dead person could have, with what his siblings could afford and for that I am thankful. Still, he would have looked better alive than dead.
I regret being mad at him that night. I regret not wanting to see him that night. I regret not checking on him when I got home. I regret ever leaving that night. I wish I could have done better. I wish I could have done more. I wish I should have, I wish I could have, I wish I would have. But no amount of regret and wishing would ever bring him back. My pain will never disappear.
I will never see him again. As a true Pantheist I know and accept that he is gone as a person and all that is left is the shell of what he once was. I believe that he will be recycled in nature, that his components aren’t lost but merely dispersed throughout the universe to be reused. The old must eventually give way to the new. It is no consolation at all, but it’s what I believe to be true.
All I have to do is move forward and do the most good I can in this world, keeping in mind that everyone including me will one day leave the realm of the living. Humans can choose how they want to live their lives, and I choose to live my life knowing that everyone has a limit. We do not get to live forever. We do not get a second chance at life. This is it so we have to live it to the fullest.
I am patching things up with my mother. I am living a healthy life. And, if given an opportunity, I wish to take part in Thanatology research. Thanatology, for those who don’t know, is the science of death. I wish to understand and possibly help humans deal with this kind pain because losing someone forever gives pain beyond compare. Whether it happens or not is up to time and fate.
Everything has and end. Everyone has an end. Rather than running away from it, we should embrace it. In my opinion, knowing that you and everything you ever loved will one day disappear will let you think of how you should live your life. I am embracing my own mortality and I only wish to do the most good I can in this world.
Thank you so much for reading. This is in honor of Raul Fernando. Father, Husband, Brother, Uncle, Friend, Human.