Tribute for Papa
My father is an extraordinary person. Extraordinary not just because he is my Dad, but it is because this is the truth.
A fighter ‘til the end. In May 2015, he went through colon surgery. Survived it despite the major mistake by his gastroenterologist. Instead of marking his descending colon, the doctor marked his ascending colon for incision. For a supposedly quick surgery of less than an hour, he went through more than 3 hours of procedure. Instead of cutting his colon by less than a foot, his surgeon ended up cutting more than a third of his intestines. Of course recovery was hard for him, he went through delirium not to mention the physical and emotional pain. His will power was so strong. He fought even harder so he can continue to stay with us. During this fight, knowing that we, his children may have this same cancer gene, he was at the same time remorseful that he had us, not because he does not love us, but because he loved us so much that he does not wish that we experience this same ordeal as he did. Many times, I saw him fought back tears. Maybe, as was always true with his life, God and luck always follow him. He not only survived and recovered from the surgery, he also rid himself of colon cancer. God gave him a new lease in life…until when… he had to meet another cancer, that of the lung.
In June of this year, he was scheduled for his second major surgery. This time, to take out the cancer from his lung. After waking up and learning that surgery was aborted, he insisted: “We must take out the cancer.” Unfortunately, cancer had already spread and surgery was of no use. We were told, the next step was chemotherapy. Being a fighter, father agreed.
During his first day of chemotherapy, Walter asked how he was feeling. My father replied: “Great! Superman is my best friend.” Even with such adversity, he still found humor and cheer. His fighting spirit never fading.
When he was already under hospice care, no longer able to stand on his own, memory already fading away, when the nurse came to visit him and asked him he how he felt, he replied: “Happy!”
One day, I had to take off from work as there was no caretaker. I had a chance to ask him about the calligraphy hanged on their living room wall. I asked him whether he wrote them. He said yes. And I asked him what they meant. I know the first and third words were his Chinese name. I could clearly see, the dim of his eyes lit up and said: “Summer Sun, Summer Star, brightly shining to million miles away.” This is exactly how he lived his life. He started from nothing. He arrived the Philippines an orphan…and homeless. Through perseverance, hard work, luck and God’s help, he achieved so much more than any ordinary person could. He was alone and yet he now has us, children and grandchildren.
He had always said. There are 5 blessings in life. Longetivity, prosperity, good health, nobility and lastly, peaceful passing… When we learned that his cancer was spreading very rapidly and so aggressively, and treatments were no longer working, his hope and sense of purpose started fading. I had to remind him how lucky he was for having achieved all 4 lucks. Now, he just needed to get that fifth luck. A week before he passed away, I told him I am going to run some errands, he held my hand and said, “I am going.” I asked: “Where to?” “To Heaven.” He replied. He was saying goodbye to me. On the day he passed away, we said farewell to him before he passed. I told him if he would like to go, it is okay. God is there. Just follow the light. Think of God. Ankong, Ama, Ako and Ape are all waiting for him. Not to worry about us as we are all fine here…With God’s help, he received his fifth blessing on Nov 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm. 4:40 pm (think about 4, 4 means death), how he timed it to 4:40 is just so him. Just like when he celebrated his birthday in 2008. He had to time it at 8:08pm on Aug 8 of 2008.
I thank God for giving him such a long life, and for giving him to us. Through him, I get to appreciate God’s purpose. I saw so many times, how things just fall into its place. Events that seem to have no purpose in the past, they just fall into place and show their purpose later on. I realized: I am a Pharmacist because one of God’s purpose was for me to be there for him. Walter has a hospice business, Dad eventually needed it. I am certain, under God’s guidance, we were able to persuade Valerie (his granddaughter) to go back to school to become a doctor. She came here to study for the medical board exam, not knowing she was really here just in time to help release Dad from his failing body.
Today, in this gathering, we are not really here for his funeral. We are here to celebrate the amazing life of my father, an extraordinary person. We are here to thank God’s everlasting graciousness.