A story of one night (2 years ago, July 2014)
We were watching a a TV show, The Voice Kids (Ph)– a singing contest aired at nights during the weekends when a particular contestant, Lyca Gairanod, stood in the middle of the ring and started singing Dance with my father in her Tagalog version
I felt body tense as I did not know how to feel about it when I had my father laying in bed beside me watch the same thing.
The song, at that moment, felt like a song for when he is gone and done fighting his battle against cancer. And somehow, it twisted something in my chest as I took a deep breath and exhaled nervously.
Nevertherless, I glanced beside me and saw him just mindlessly watching the show. Or if he is thinking of something else, I do not know. But my mother was another case. She was sobbing beside my father – silent tears streaming down her face. And her expression – God, how can such a strong woman break down silently like that. It broke my heart so much I, too, felt like crying. But I held it in and took another deep breath to steady myself.
It was a painful thing that night. Well, somehow it is still a painful thing today. But who knew that that same song, the original by Luther Vandross actually, will remain as a remembrance of the father we once have.
Who knew that that song will actually last me a lifetime of wistful thinking and prayers of another moment for my father and mother – just one moment that my mother can actually see him once again. To ease her loneliness, her sorrow, and see her smile that one smile she always has when she’s with him. God, how it still clenches my heart when I think about it.
And yet images and wistful thinking did not end with that wish and prayer for my mother as I, too, had my fair share of wistful thinking for myself and for my brother.
Nights when missing him is the only thing in my mind, I see him in the future I might have had if only he lived through his battle. Nights like tonight I imagine him watching me march as I finish off college and finally get that diploma he worked so hard to provide for, watch me get my first job, watch me finally reach my dream of going abroad, and even more so, watch as finally, my brother – his son, too gets on the stage and finish of college – that maybe, somehow, if fate had permitted, father and son had spent more time together.
My mother and father – they could have had grown old together and fulfilled their life long promises. So many dreams, so many promises.
And yet all we can have at this moment in time are those wistful thinking we had whenever that song plays.
That song, so beautiful yet still so heartbreaking simply because of all the unsaid promises and glimpses of the the future we could have had if he were still with us.
So, as we hear the song, whenever, wherever – there you’ll find us three looking up in the sky, on the road, or somewhere else with longing and distant looks in our eyes, faint smiles, and silent prayers in our head.