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I couldn’t have said it better.  Even though as each year renews, I am fully aware that this day and that day will come, it is never any easier.  It is always a shock, like a jolt to the body, an unexpected swing to the head.  And I wish that my maturity can catch up to my age, but it doesn’t, at least not yet.

It’s not even halfway through the year and already, someone joined the Dead Daddy Club.  Yes, my friends and I have a sick twisted sense of humor, simply because it is easier than actually acknowledging the loneliness of not having them walk you down the aisle.  Still, I have to remind myself that while it does feel lonely here, I am not alone.

And maybe he isn’t too.  Maybe his space now is the space he needs.  Maybe he didn’t need to see how far we’ve all come because he found his peace in what he’s already seen.  Maybe — just maybe — this is all meant to be so I can be where I am now.  After all, if it weren’t for that day, I wouldn’t have gained clarity.  I would have been too scared to make the choices that brought me here, that afforded me the happiness I feel today.

So I hope maybe — said in a tone drenched in melancholy with a pinch of regret — one day, I can find a way to be happy about this day.  Because all I can think of is the day when I got married and he wasn’t in the family picture.  And the day when I packed my bags and he didn’t tape up my luggage.  And the day I got engaged and he wasn’t there to hug my then-fiancé.  And the take-care-of-my-daughter speech he never gave.  And the father-daughter dance we never got to do.

And that there are so much more ahead, and he won’t be there for any of it.

Maybe one day, I could find some sort of happiness that the peace he needed was not within the space I could have shared with him.

Happy birthday, Tatay.

The Taste of Home

My first taste of spring was optimistic, to put it lightly.  I was welcomed by Blizzard Jonas, and while my husband was slaving around shovelling snow, I was jumping in them.  Spring, though, looked exactly how I pictured it:  a true rebirth.  Everything that was dull and grey suddenly became bright and green, full of life and bloom.  So that only meant one thing:  it was time to fire up the grill.

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I meant it when I said that I miss my father’s cooking.  A part of me always struggles to bring that to the table, whenever I cook for our family or for a gathering.  In a way, I’m making sure that my father was not forgotten, and he was always known for being a good cook.  He’s a mechanic by the way, like my husband, but when he starts working in the kitchen, he will blow you away.

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My father always loved to grill… and I never liked it.  I found it difficult tempering the fire (especially back in my country where we do it in coals), it was too hot to keep cooking (since our normal day temperature was at least 95ºF), the food either cooked too fast or too slow, and you always ended up smelling like smoke.  But grilling was my father’s forte.

Imagine my joy when I heard from family members that my husband’s grilled pork belly tasted so closely to my father’s.  Since moving here, I requested for that pork belly every other month or so, and he would make it the same way, and it would taste the same way.  And it would always be perfect.

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Each time there’d be a gathering here, I try to volunteer his cooking.  Most of the time though, they’d request for it, just like when people requested my father to grill.  I feel blessed and fortunate to have the past, the present and the future all existing in the person I chose to spend my life with.

I truly am living the dream.

One of the things that I genuinely miss in this life is my father's cooking. For those who met him, they would say that #sirboy's cooking was warm, savory and inviting. It tasted like you're cared for and loved. When he passed, that was one of my first thoughts: I will never taste my father's cooking ever again. Then, this man came along. I'd like to believe it's a confirmation that I truly am meant to be with him. His grilled dishes never fail to make me think of my Tatay, especially his liempo. And it makes sense too, that my husband would be the one person I'd leave my home for, only for him to bring back to me — laid perfectly on my table, hot and seared to perfection — the meals that would make me feel like I never left. I love you, Allan. #carlallan #love #blessmyheart #foodforthought

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Four years today

It’s been four years today, and it still feels like first.  Migrating to a completely new place is not enough to keep me from remembering that on this day, four years ago, at 5 in the morning, my father passed without me by his side.

Four years ago, my brothers experienced the worst kind of sorrow and the highest level of despair, and I was not present to comfort them.

Four years ago, my mother had to witness the love of her life be torn away from her, quite instantaneously, without my arms around her.

Four years ago, I failed my family because I was too self-indulgent to be home for the weekend.

Four years ago.  Feels like first.

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MUSIC MONDAY: See Me Now by The Kooks

This song hit home.  Really really hit home.

It has been a while since I hit random play on Spotify and thanks to the new ‘Discover Weekly’ tab, I get to have a taste of new music that’s right up my alley.

I don’t know why it took me this long to showcase The Kooks.  But I’m happy that this is the first song I’ll feature.

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Frontman Luke Pritchard wrote this song to his father that passed away when he was so young.

I guess that pretty much sums up everything there is to know about this morning’s selection.

If you could see me now
If you could see my smile
See your little boy
Oh, would you be proud?

Hope all is well with you.  Have a great week ahead.

It was a while

It’s been a while since I last wrote about you.  A long while actually.  I think my mind is actively avoiding it because — let’s be honest — there’s no getting over you.

I always repeat it to myself.  It doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it.  I say it to people who keep asking if we’re okay.  It doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it.  I say it to friends that ask how Nanay is doing.  It doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it.  I’ve said it so many times, they had stopped asking.

This is a crappy club.  Two of my childhood friends belong to this club.  This no getting over club.  This forever taking a leave on your birthday club.  This no walk down the aisle club.  It’s a fucking crappy club.  More and more milestones are coming, and this is an absolute worldsuck crappy club to be a part of.

It doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it.

I want to blame everything on you so bad.  I really do.  I remember the times when you are just so hard headed and refused to visit the doctor.  I even threatened to not come home until you see a doctor; you countered you won’t see one until I came home.

I came home.  You didn’t go anywhere.

And now, I have to marry the love of my life without you.  I am attending weddings left and right, and I am pestered with everyone’s thank you speeches and father-daughter dances.  They are all lined up, wall to wall, all the things that I am now missing because you didn’t visit the fucking doctor.

I so want to blame everything on you.

It doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it.

But was it really your fault?  Or was it just time running out?  I am so over blaming myself for not being there because in my head, I would not be required there if you didn’t bring yourself there.  Or did you?  Did you really bring this upon yourself or was it just your time to checkout?

I don’t fucking know.

I am so angry.  I am livid.  I can’t believe I am here again.  It’s your birthday this Saturday and instead of going to a good buffet, we’ll have to set up camp on damp grass where a slab of stone bears your name and dine on takeout.

It doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it.

I don’t even know if the latter part of that statement is true.

Do I have to pray now to be more accepting?  Do I have to will myself to be more open and embrace your fate as your fate, not a mere circumstance of decisions that were not made?  Do I have to do all that just to get past this huge crap load of baggage?

I am marrying the love of my life, and my issues hound me at night.  I can’t even sleep unless the lights are on.  My dreams are sometimes dreams, often nightmares.  My mind is hardly empty and my head is going 60 miles a minute.

I am so tired of finding reason and being angry.  But right now, I’m just angry.  No reason, no rhyme.  I just want to be angry.

Because it doesn’t get any easier.

Because I have to get used to it.