I have created a list of everything that I need to accomplish this year. Mostly, these are the things you bugged me to do already, and I’m sorry you’re not here to see me finish them. You’ve always said that I am at my prime, and as much as I want to curl into a ball, bury my face in the scent of your clothes, I have so much time ahead of me. I would not be your daughter if I wasted around and not seize the opportunities presented to me.
Honestly, I only have three. I regret not having a better memory of the things you want me to do, but I believe these are the things that matter to you the most.
I promise to learn to swim. That’s one of the things that has constantly bothered you. You’re a seafood person and yet I, your only daughter, your eldest, have a hard time appreciating the sea. It is my fear of not breathing that prevents me from getting into the water. Never mind the fact that it can save my life, or the fact that I live in a tropical country. My fears have taken over me — and yours hardly ever took over you. So this year, I will learn how to swim. I will work hard to learn it as fast as I can, so I can go back to Coron, the one place you found yourself most at peace with, and feel the water you were in surround me and my being.
I promise to learn how to drive a stick. I know you’re not impressed with automatic transmission drivers. For city driving, that should bode well enough, but given the number of times our family go out of town, I want to be one of those people they can count on during long drives. They can always count on you, Tatay. Whenever we go out, they don’t have to worry about anything because we had you. Now that you’re gone, Ted, Daniel and I are scaling the wall to be your replacement. But just so we’re clear, we will never do. Nothing and no one can replace you. Nothing and no one will ever attempt to. It is with mere hope that we can continue your legacy… and for me, it starts with driving right.
Last and certainly not the least, I promise to continue studying. You see, when you passed, I stopped. I know that’s not really what you wanted, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of going through the motions without having you at the end of the day to tell you all about it. If there’s something you continuously encouraged us to do, it is to constantly find ways to improve ourselves. I promise I will finish my masters at the soonest possible time. I will relearn photography and send you postcards from earth. I will be on top of my class. This was always your goal, to provide us with the best education a father can ever give to his children. I will not fail.
I know these do not really matter as much as it should. It would matter more if you were here. But I know you’re guiding me. I know you will never leave me. You are under my skin. You will never go away.
You will always be my father and I, in turn, will do everything so that when people see me, they see you as clearly too.
I miss you.