In memory of the love my father left behind before leaving this world…………………………
A few months before his death,(June 11th,cannot remember the year, probably more than 30 years ago)I believe my father had a near death experience…….he was found unresponsive by my mother in bed….she panicked and woke up the whole household quite late into the night and called me( I lived not far away)so I ran all the way………when I arrived he came round,he seemed in a daze.I remember he said to us children…..”why are you all here around the bed,go back to sleep,its late!”.He went back to sleep and I went home thinking he was okay.Apparently,the next day, my father told my mother that he saw himself in a beautiful garden filled with bright light and that he had seen his parents and loved ones who had passed long before………………
Secretly I liked my father’s story,I did not disbelief him for I knew he wouldnt know how to make up stories like that and besides he used to yell at us children if he thought we were telling lies…..he constantly reminded us not to tell lies…the one thing he detested very strongly!
After that late night incident, my father seemed to be more subdued in his demeanor,almost like his personality changed overnight ….he became quieter,softer,reserved almost contemplative and he could be seen holding and reading a prayer book most of the time.
It seems that sides had been switched,my mother used to be the quiet one and my father was the ‘yeller’,always jumpy, concerned ,worried,scolding and trying to keep us children in order,yet I loved his good side of kindness,simplicity,prayerfulness and friendliness to all who came to the home.
But it appeared that mother now became the one to ‘jump’ and nagged at us children after father turned quiet…….one particular story to relate about the change in my father is………
The story of us two older rascals,my sister Nina, myself and my late ex husband Frank….we enjoyed very much to take short trips away to Tioman Island in Malaysia for snorkelling,sunbathing/swimming,fishing and hiking adventures.One time while we were having a snorkelling fiesta,all three of us almost drowned due to a strong current that came up suddenly,Frank and I managed to swim back to the boat but Nina could still be seen struggling for her life……a lady from the boat threw a buoy to her and jumped in to the water to rescue her….we came home and told each other that we better not tell daddy about this near drowning mishap….all too soon the truth came out……we were surprised to see that it was my mother who went raving mad about the near drowning incident and my father was cool and calm and he told my mother….”as long as they came back safe and sound,thats all that matters”……..wow! we saw the big change in my father,something spiritually mysterious happened to him that night for sure!
Another lovely thing I vividly remembered of my father before he was taken to the hospital ICU for congestive heart failure after the ‘near-death’ experience months before was that he began asking for forgiveness from almost everyone who came into his contact,family, friends,acquiantances ,practically anyone he met…….it was a very humbling gesture to witness from my perspective now,but at that time,I didnt see it as a time for him to be humble but saw it as some sort of foolishness on his part..…
I see it now as he must have known his time was ending and needed to make peace with everyone.As I write this,I can truly see his good and charitable heart and the legacy he left for us to learn from!
I remember while he was in hospital…..I would visit him,sit beside him quietly and we both would not say a word……the silence spoke of my quiet love for him and I believed he knew it!
Not long after his hospital discharge, he passed away very suddenly and very peacefully on my mother;s shoulder while preparing food for my brothers before their going to school.
He was very young…..62years,only one year older than me now.
Strangely,my father had a premonition that he was going leave us ….as the night before his death,he went round the dining table while we the family were having dinner….he went to each one,touched us on the shoulder and told us to take care of ourselves…to my mother he said to her “I will take care of you”…to which I do believe, my mother was well taken care of after his passing.To my sister in law,Coco,he asked for a dance, he liked to show off his skills at tap dancing.
That night he left us with a caring reminder of himself….. the last dinner I had with my father……….
I say thank you daddy for the love you left us, a silent love that was well meant .If there was one thing I would do with you if you were alive today will be to sit and say the rosary with you! I know you will definitely love that very much!
My father never did see his grandchildren or great-granchildren but knowing his tender heart he would have showered them all with love and spoilt them rotten!
He was a loving man!