“Nag-field trip kami nun dati sa Corregidor.. tapos me tunnel dun sobrang dilim na sa loob na pinasukan namin.. tapos me isang lugar dun, parang labas yata ng gubat, me camera case; di namin alam kanino yun o bakit nandoon yun..”
That was the last story I’d tell my father. He passed away that morning, and as I desperately tried to revive him, all my untold stories were replaced with unanswered questions. There was no sense in fighting the tears that flowed; I was hoping against hope that he was just sleeping. There was no feeling in the doctor’s words when he told me that the slight movement I saw at the morgue was just rigor mortis. It was as if the sliver of hope that I was clinging to was cruelly snatched from me.
I close my eyes, and I listen to the sounds made by the rain as it falls on the roof. My mother is listening to a radio broadcast, but the words are just a buzz of incomprehensible chatter to me; I’m currently lost in my thoughts.
Today, the country celebrates Father’s Day. Back then, I would always grin in amusement when my father would be irritated by the commercialism involved with such events. “Pakana lang ng SM yan,” he’d say. And how could I blame him; I felt the same way. Just another ploy to get everyone to spend their money on the ‘most wonderful dad’ in the world. It may be just me, but if I’m going to spend anything, I’d rather spend more time being with the reason why we celebrate this day. Especially now, more than ever.
More than five years have passed, and I admit that I still have a long way to go. I feel like I’m still half the man my father was. I still have much I want to accomplish, and much more that I have to learn. The only conversations we’ll have will be the ones I have in my head; the only stories he’ll hear will be the ones I whisper to the wind. I struggle, and at times I fall down, but every time that I do, I can hear his words inside me urging me to continue walking. Just like when I was in first or second grade, it was like we were in a three-legged race. The journey was bound to be difficult, but we were going to face it together, bound side by side.
My father may have passed from this world, but the torch he ignited will always be with me. It is a heavy torch to carry, but I will be strong and persevere.
The leader of the band is tired
And his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs thru’ my instrument
And his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy To the leader of the band
-Dan Fogelberg, “Leader Of The Band”