Father’s Day is just around the corner and Papa celebrated what would have been his 86th birthday 2 days ago. I guess rather than let this giant void left by his passing consume me, I’d rather reminisce the happy memories I’ve had with him. I just realized how little pictures I had with Papa. In this age of selfies, oh my! I would’ve probably taken hundreds with Mama and Papa, be it candid or posed, artful or themed. If only I could convert my memories into jpeg files and repost it all over, so it would be like they were still around. That they haven’t really left, that they still remain to be, larger than life, the lessons and impact they impressed upon so many lives, still rings. Oh where to begin! All I know is that my Papa is still probably one of the smartest, fearless, kindest people I have ever met. It was from him that I learned that everything one does in life should be with passion, with gusto, with the best of their being, otherwise, not at all. It was from him I learned the value of sharing with others, that charity begins at home, what it’s like to be selfless for the ones you love, how important it is to learn to laugh at yourself sometimes and be silly because life is so serious as it is… and so much more. Each day, I strive to be able to live out all these life gems he effortlessly demonstrated all throughout his life. I fervently wish that I could see them one more time, even in dreams. Just so I could feel the safety and security of his love. He was my true north. With him, life made sense.
My sister, Pia, was lamenting how Max, my 19 year old nephew, was so immature, like he was a kid trapped in a teenager’s body. How he seems so lost and confused. Heck, I’m a kid trapped in a 40 year old body. And even at this age, I still don’t have the answers, and am just as lost and confused. Often, I wonder if I’ve really made any progress in this life. Or is it just the glorification of the “busy”. I feel sometimes that I just act, but am not really getting anywhere that sometimes I wake up with the thought “Why bother”. They say that it’s counterproductive to live in the past since it then leads to a vacuous existence. I’d rather enmesh myself in the vibrant memories of my past. At least it still there’s some living done. Because sometimes, every moment spent in the present seems to be a deadening experience. (I should probably rewrite this when I’m not in such a dark mood.)
And then I think of my parents. I don’t think there ever was a time when I saw them unsure of themselves or falter in any decision. Whatever they said, they stood by it, even if it turned out to be wrong or a mistake later on. They would own up to it, and then move on. But they always had a quiet confidence, a certainty that they were doing what they were meant to be doing, the circumstances they were in were there as it should be. I’m reminded of Papa when I was younger, there was no question he couldn’t seem to answer or know. Well, my Dad was very well-read and always kept abreast of current events and on-goings. I was always amazed how when I asked him what a word meant from a book I was reading, he wouldn’t end with just giving me the meaning, but would go to give the etymology of the word, down to the latin root in which it was based. I asked Mama sometime when I was in my teens, how they seem to be unfazed at being “parentless”…. how they didn’t have anyone to run to if they had questions on how to do things or needed a second opinion on whether something was ok or not. She replied, “Why would I need anyone else when I can always pray. When I don’t know anything, I pray”. At the time, I was irked at her for having such a nebulous answer to what I thought needed a concrete and categorical response. It’s only now, that I got to fully understand what she meant. There are some questions that can only be arrived at through meditation and self-reflection.
And now I guess, this is what growing up is about. It’s not so much as knowing a whole lot or having all the answers. It’s more about knowing your principles, knowing what you believe to be true and sticking by them, not second-guessing yourself.
In as much as I would like to believe that I am a grown-up, lots of times, I still am no different than I was back then. Still unsure of what’s up or down, left or right, stay or go. I’m still trying to get the hang of defining what’s what and more so, sticking by them. But as ostensibly slow-paced is my evolution to full-fledged “adulthood”, I’m getting there. One day, I hope not too late, I will be.
Everyday, I am thankful for the memories that I had with my parents. I may have not appreciated them as much back then (oh, so much wisdom in hindsight!), I cherish each one of them. They may not have made sense back then but looking back at the events after they unfolded, they now paint a definitely interesting picture. Each memory, like a piece of glass, slowly coming together, to form the window to my soul.