Today is your birthday, Dad. A day away from Valentines’ Day. And I don’t have a nice picture of you to post here. They always say I look so much like you. That’s because I’ve been a Daddy’s Girl all my life.
Imagine me today, a photographer. And I didn’t have the chance to take a beautiful portrait of you. All I have in my wallet is a teeny weeny ID picture of you. To think I have taken portraits of so many fathers and their families.
Then again, you left too soon and never found out that your daughter was going to be a darn photographer someday (and I say that because you are going to say darn for it’s the last thing you would think I wanted to be).
You succumbed to a stroke on your birthday 14 years ago. We were preparing a special family dinner. You couldn’t breathe. We had to take you to the hospital. You ended up in a coma with a life-sustaining apparatus, while we sat by your side until the morning.
I kept whispering, holding your hand, telling you how much I loved you over and over. I got a feeble nod with eyes closed, and barely a squeeze from your hand.
The next day, on Valentines’ Day, you left us.
Today, I remember the goodness of your heart, your presence that I missed so much, and I don’t know whether to greet you with a Happy Birthday or Happy Valentines’ Day.
Each year, the pain comes and goes, in between remembering fun moments with you, or the sad ones.
I wish you could see me now, how much your little girl has grown to become a toughie, a fearless woman (well, sometimes a bit reckless already). You would have been so proud.
Though I got the spunk and fierceness that Mommy has, I owe you the coolness in me, the quiet composure in moments of distress and tension (well, not always). The voice of reason. The gentle spirit. I love you so much for sharing with me those awesome genes and sharp sense of humor! I got your love for writing, Dad. I found my small mark in this world and I wasn’t able to share with you a piece of my achievements because you left too soon.
On this Valentines’ Day, my heart will always leave a space only you can fill, Dad. I love and miss you so much it still hurts.
~ Jojie Alcantara, Feb. 13, 2012
No words I write can ever say
How much I miss you every day.
As time goes by, the loneliness grows;
How I miss you, nobody knows!
I think of you in silence,
I often speak your name,
But all I have are memories
And photos in a frame.
No one knows my sorrow,
No one sees me weep,
But the love I have for you
Is in my heart to keep.
I’ve never stopped loving you
I’m sure I never will;
Deep inside my heart,
You are with me still.
Heartaches in this world are many
But mine is worse than any.
My heart still aches as I whisper low,
“I need you and I miss you so.”
The things we feel so deeply
Are often the hardest to say,
But I just can’t keep quiet any more,
So I’ll tell you anyway.
There is a place in my heart
That no one else can fill;
I love you so, Dad,
And I always will.