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Today we visit Dad (my father-in-law) in the graveyard. We tidy up his gravestone, pull some weeds and grass. We throw some of the old flowers and pots. We will get new flowers for him. I missed this man so much.
You know, when I first came here to Northern Ireland from the Philippines, I don't know what to expect. Being a foreigner here made me worried about what my life would be or how will I cope up but I take the chance, left work and fly to Northern Ireland with my daughter and soon after my son. And how grateful I am to meet nice and kind people. My in-laws treat me well just like how they treat other people. They were the nicest.
Dad loves gardening. He just loves moving about. He and Mum will wake up at 7:30 in the morning every day. And every morning Dad will shave and make sure he is neat looking. He used to cut the hedge and me and Mum do the cleaning up in the lane and that makes things faster. Tia when she was young always with Dad in the garden planting and watering the plants. She's a Lolo's girl.
And every day at 10:00 am I will be shouting to Dad, "Dad tea time!" and he will reply, "Right!" with a big smile and thumbs up!
They were constantly on their feet. You will not see them in bed unless it's half 11 then it's bed time. They always out doing something.
Dad, even he had strokes didn't stop him from living life. Even his hands are shaking terribly, you will never hear him complaining. He will ask for help if he needs it. And every occasion he makes sure we get something. He is full of humour and easy to please. Whatever Mum cooks, he will eat. And he loves dessert!
Then one day he was working in the shed using the circular saw and cut his fingernails. We even thought he cut the finger as it's too bloody. But he cut the whole top of the fingernail. He was treated and went home but he was bad the next week and we took him to the hospital. We were in hospital almost every day when he was there. He's always excited to see Tia and tell the nurses that this is his "Ba".
And as we go to the hospital the next time they said the dreadful news of Dad got cancer and will not live for too long. That's in September 2018.
We all cried after knowing that and how are we meant to tell Mum and knowing how she will feel about it. But we accept it as Dad tells us not to cry. We look after Dad despite having carers coming to the house. I learned to use the shaver and razor because he can't shave anymore. And I love to give him a manicure and pedicure. He has lovely legs like a woman. Mum always says too. Dad used to tell me, I will be a good nurse or carer. He is very sweet and loving.
25 December 2018
Everyone is excited, it's Christmas. We are looking forward to opening our gifts and see what we got. Mum and Dad are excited to see Tia, as to which gifts she will go to first. And we make our bet.
Early morning of 25th
The carers arrived to check out Dad. He was diagnosed with cancer but he doesn't seem to have one. Dad wasn't feeling well and told the carer he will have a lie on and stay in the bed in the meantime. Mum gave them a box of sweets each and greeted Merry Christmas.
Then Dad asks Mum if Tia is awake. Dad gathered up his strength and told Mum to help him get up and change. He should be ready for her "ba". Then I came and help Dad. Dad keeps asking about Tia. It was past 11 and Dad said to get her up.
And so Tia came to the door and when she saw all the gifts her eyes went big. And which one does she go first? The tellytuby on the pram. Dad guess it right!
We open our gifts. Dad was very happy when he got our gift which he always complains that he is cold. This will keep him warm. I remember the exact word he says, "This is the best gift I've got, this will keep me warm."
Mum got a grandfather's clock. She was crying coz she loves clocks and always wanted a grandfather clock.
Then I took photos of everyone and told Dad to smile, and Dad said "I cannot smile."
And that's when we noticed the change in his face. Dad said he is hungry so I run to the fridge and got him yoghurt and as I gave a spoon in his mouth his tongue-twisting and was not able to eat the yoghurt. I told my husband to phone for an ambulance. Dad's having a bad turn. He looks as if he's having a stroke.
The ambulance came and ask too many questions when dad is not in good condition. When they took Dad in the ambulance Tia cried. And that's the last time she saw Dad alive.
It's only me and Mum at the table. Tears falling in her eyes. She's shaking. I hold her hand. I hug her tight. I wasn't able to say a word. Mum said, he didn't even have his Christmas dinner. We didn't eat together.
That night we receive a call from the hospital. We have to go to the hospital because Dad is deteriorating. I didn't know that that's the word they say if they want to tell you that the patient is dying. It's too late when the brothers went to the hospital. Dad is already dead.
After the funeral Mum, sort Dads things and send them to the charity shops. All the clothes and shoes, old and new. Nothing was left. Mum cut the trees in the garden. All the apple and pear and the maple tree.
Mum never want to show when she's sad and crying. Mum said Dad told him when he dies Mum shouldn't be crying. Mum said she's glad that we were here. That Tia was here. She can bear losing Dad because Tia put a smile on her face.
Now, every time I see an ambulance it reminds me of Dad and him not coming back after the ambulance took him. I don't like to see an ambulance again. And Tia still talks about him up to this day. She never forgets him. One day we are in the car and Tia said, are we going to the hospital to visit Lolo? Are we going to bring him home coz I missed him so much?
She keeps asking when he's coming back. And we cry every time she cries for her Lolo. And today, Mum had a bad turn. We have to phone the ambulance as we cannot just watch Mum suffer.
When they took Mum, Tia said,
"Bring back my Lola, please. You took my Lolo and he never comes back."
Hearing that makes us all sad. She still remembers. She never forgets.
Dad left a hole in our hearts but he filled our memories with smiles, laughs and love.