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My Father died in July last year. His death changed my life. Even more so for my mother. My parents were due to celebrate their golden wedding early next year. My sister and brother abroad had been looking forward to this. So was I. It is understandable that in the family, it is my mother who misses my father the most. They lived together for more than forty-eight years. In their retirement years, they would always do things together. They were often seen by my friends enjoying a sandwich together or just walking together in the malls to fulfill the doctor’s orders for regular exercise. They lived a quiet life together. My mother misses him a lot. We have accepted the reality of his death. We find it hard to accept the consequences of his passing away.

A few days before he passed to the next life in the silence of his dimly lit room, I was standing by his bedside when he relayed a message so profound. He touched my face. He touched it, not just to know for sure that it was me. He slowly moved his fingers, tracing my eyes, my nose, my lips, and my cheeks. It was as if he was telling me, “My son, I want to be a true part of you. I want to see and appreciate the beauty of what you see. I want to smell what you smell, savor life with you, and breathe in and out all its beauty. I want to continue to live in you and through you.” All this was done in silence. That moment was sacred. That was his wish. That was his life.

We only miss our friends and loved ones. We do not miss our enemies and those who make us feel miserable. When our enemies are away, we hope they will stay where they are longer. We only miss those we love. Perhaps, the intensity of our longing for absent loved ones will show the depth of our love for them. If we do not miss them anymore, could it mean that love has diminished.?

When we miss a loved one, we can wish to go and be with the one we love. Many times, this is possible. We can bring them home on the telephone. We can make a trip and be with the one we love. The heavy traffic or the expensive fare will be overlooked because the desire to be united is so intense and so strong.

We can also ask the loved one we miss to come and visit us. We can host a dinner or walk or watch a movie together. Among friends, even water becomes sweet. It is not the hearty meal or the clever conversation that we need. Sometimes, the coming together can happen in silence. Yes, indeed, we can talk without talking.

When I miss my father, I cannot visit him; neither can he visit me. When I go to the memorial park, I know that it is not him that I visit but his remains. The marble tomb is not my father, and he is not inside. He is somewhere beyond time and space. I cannot reach him anymore with a visit, a phone call, or a plane ride.

Tatay said the night before he passed away “Bukas uuwi na tayo.” He had made up his mind. He had talked it over with God, and like the good head of the family he was, he decided it was time to go home. The following morning, the Cardinal came to see him. In silence, hand-in-hand, they reached out to God. Quite peacefully, at about the time our Lord expired the hour of great mercy, God slipped into Tatay’s room, a few hours before regular visiting hours, and quietly took him to his home where Tatay is now free from tubes and all other things that obstructed his simple living. “Umuwi na sila. Nguni’t susunod tayo.”

When I miss my father, I pray to God.

I pray to God not to bring him back to earth. I do not pray that I die so that I can go where he is. My own death is God’s decision. When I miss my father, I pray to God to give me a heart big enough to let in everybody I love and to carry all whom I love everywhere in my heart.

When you miss a loved one, you do not have to go to him or ask him to go and be with you. The human heart is big enough to contain all our loved ones, and we can carry them with us everywhere.

That somewhere beyond space and time where our loved ones are is actually right within you. If your heart is big enough, you will not even have to experience the anguish of missing them. Love conquers all. The heart can carry all.

REMEMBERING MY FATHER
Jesus Our Light

Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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