11 Memories Of My Father That Have Made Me Who I Am Now

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One

“1984. My father dragged 3-year old me with him in Yacapin Street, Cagayan de Oro City to run after his crazy wife who suddenly had the crazy idea of packing her bags and leaving everything behind because she had enough.”

Run. Run after the things that are important to you, no matter how crazy they may be. Run as fast as you can, as hard as your little feet can muster because you will eventually be able to catch up with it at some point, somewhere.

Two

“1986. My father, alongside several of our neighbors, killed a cobra which ended up crawling in our front yard. I saw him chop the cobra’s head before ramming it in a sack.”

Be weary of a snake for it is a dangerous creature. It cannot be trusted. It will quietly crawl into your home without an invitation and hiss malicious lies to anyone who will listen. Kill it before it attacks, but remember that you cannot kill it alone.

Three

“1987.  I received my first spanking (well, one that I can remember distinctly the least) after my father saw his chickens and roosters flapping about in frenzy because I was forcing them to fly, thinking that they were birds.”

Some things may have similar attributes, may even look the same, but this does not mean that they really are. Chickens and roosters may have feathers but they are not like the birds that fly magnificently in the sky. It is wrong to force things to become what they are not or coerce those to evolve into something that will only make them unhappy.

Four

“1989. I watched my father’s back after we – my brother, sister, and I – were dropped off at our grandparents’ house in Tagum City, Davao. I remembered my grandfather, the Judge, digging his fingers on my right shoulder to stop me from running after my father. I was glued where I was standing and held back tears. My grandfather said, “Ayaw og hilak.” (Do not cry.)

Sometimes you have to walk away from the things you love most if it was the best thing that you can do for the time being because sacrifices have to be made. Stand your ground, stand firm, and stand strong because tough love requires strength not tears.

Five

“1990. The whole story is here.”

Clean your own mess because no one else will clean it for you. Flush your own shit because it is ill-mannered to let someone else do that for you, even if that someone else was family or someone you always expected assistance from.

Six

“1992. My grades were low (somewhere in the line of 7) and report cards were being distributed to be shown to parents. My brother and sister had great grades and did not have problems showing off. I hid my report card and before returning it to my class adviser, I forged my father’s signature. A day after, my father was called for a meeting and he discovered what I did. He punished me by removing my school allowance indefinitely. I ended up eating the lunch pack prepared for me every time I went to school while my siblings enjoyed buying whatever they wanted in school.”

Everything you do has consequences. These consequences create ripples and we do not know how far the ripples of our actions will go but in every bad decision you make, expect punishment in one form or another because lessons need to be learned in order for growth to take place.

Seven

1996. Summoned by the school principal, my parents were scheduled for a meeting to discuss the plan of removing me. No one came – not my mother, nor my father. I ended up defending myself and begging for one more chance to improve my grades and to stop cutting classes.”

Even your own parents will fail you but this is not reason enough for you to destroy yourself. If you do, no one else takes the blame but you. At some point in our lives, we have to stop pointing fingers at other people for our misfortunes. We had that excuse when we were children, back when our choices were confined; but not when we became older and knew the difference between right and wrong. Every challenge is an opportunity to test what you are made of and when a challenge is thrown at your face, learn to stand on your own feet and prove your worth. What does not kill you will only make you stronger.

Eight

“1998. My father re-appeared in our lives and after passing UPCAT, I asked my father what course I should take as it was said in the permit that I can take any course I wanted and he responded, “Ikaw, unsa man imung gusto?” (You, what do you want?) which was so unlike the tactic he used with my brother and sister.

Know what you want. Do not borrow someone else’s idea, nor follow someone just because you were pressured into doing so. Decide on what makes you happy and choose that over everything else. No one should make your decisions for you.

Nine

“2010. While in the patio, my father and I had a heart-to-heart talk about what happened to me in Cebu, largely about how my (ex)boyfriend broke my heart and threw away our years together. He simply said, “Unya lugar, hilakan nimu ng way ikatungod og wa nay pulos sa imung kinabuhi?” (So then, are you going to cry over that person who has nothing to offer nor have any purpose in your life?”)

Do no waste your tears on things that you cannot change nor on people who have fulfilled what they needed to fulfill in your life. One must move on, write a new chapter, and accept the truth that the seasons are changing and both of you need different things which neither one can give to each other anymore. Save your tears for happy moments and for people who truly deserve them.

Ten

“2013. My father was two hours early in picking me up at the airport but he just said that it was better that he was early as he might miss me or something important. He added that he wanted that it was his face I saw first when the glass door opened.”

Always be early or at least be on time, do not be late. You might just miss a moment or an opportunity that would have added to your collection of happy thoughts.

Eleven

“2015. My father died.”

What the good Lord giveth, He too taketh away and just as everything is paired – light and darkness, night and day, beginning and end, life too has death as its partner. When one’s purpose has been fulfilled, there is no reason to linger. Stop knocking, close that door and open another one. It is part of the cycle and painful as it may be, we have to continue living without the loved ones we have lost and remember them with gladness. We will go through the same journey one day and while that day is yet to come, live.

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