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Archive for the ‘…of A Broken Heart’ Category

I loved him. He needed time to think and that was ok- he was worth waiting for… and waiting for… and waiting for. Finally I realized I had waited away my life for an answer he had already given me: Had he loved me back, I would not have had to wait.

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Or Why I Can’t Talk About My Dad without Feeling Conflicted.

When I went back to the Philippines in March, it was to accompany my grandmother back home so she could see her oldest son sworn in as he took command of the Philippine Navy.

This also meant days upon days of ceremonies, parades, luncheons, dinners, and general hob-knobbing. It also meant that I would tag along and be introduced by my uncle as “Alex T’s daughter,”…”Yes, that Alex T, Class of ’77.”

It was odd and awkward.

Most of the current Generals of the Military, the Admirals of the Navy, and the Chief of Staff of the Philippines were Class of ’77. They all knew my father. They all told me stories.

Some stories I had heard before from years long past. The same stories that made me look up to my father and idolize him completely. Stories about how he stood up for a fellow “plebe” during “hazing” and ended up being beaten by a steel pipe. A few broken ribs later, that fellow classmate became his friend for life. Some stories were funny, like using spit as a quick shoe-shine during inspections. Others told about his slightly reckless, often brave acts during guerrilla fights in the South. Still, there would be a few officers who would just smile, shake their heads and say, “He was so young when he died, wasn’t he?” I would nod and confirm, “44, sir.” A hand would be placed on my shoulder. “He would have been up here with us, no doubt. He was on the fast-track to Five Stars.”

In moments like those, I would hold my head up, smile, nod and be proud that I was his daughter.

But no one ever tells stories about the darker side of a person. No one ever goes to someone’s kid and tells them what an awful father she had. No. But I know. And it is because of that knowledge that I cannot simply smile and be proud. Instead, I feel ashamed that he was such a good man in some contexts, and such a terrible one in another.

I know we cannot expect our idols to be forever perfect. We cannot expect to grow up and not find out some terrible things that our parents did when they were young. But my mom once told me that it was my father’s sins and the secrets that he kept that ultimately killed him.

Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s just my mom being hurt. But I do know that I cannot talk about my father without that double edged sword sliding in between my ribs and stabbing me.

I loved my father. He was my hero.

He also ultimately fell from grace, and yet despite that, I still remember being a seven-year-old, watching wide-eyed with pride as my father suited up and pinned all those medals of honor on his uniform.

A fallen hero is still once a hero. That doesn’t change.

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Yesterday, my uncle passed away.

It’s so sad because last week, he just gave away his youngest daughter in marriage.

Later, he went to the doctor for further testing. They gave him a year to live. He didn’t quite make it.

His passing comes less than a year after my grandmother passed away. Less than two years after another uncle passed; less than five when still another uncle fell ill and died. 13 years after my father died. It’s great having a big family, but only tragic when you have to count them out one by one. I remember how it felt to lose my father and it hurts so much to know that so many of my cousins have felt the same way–have seen and lived through the same kind of loss.

I don’t know how I feel about the news. Almost numb. An almost-careless, self-protective sense of “well, it was inevitable, I guess.” But that feeling is coupled with a bone-deep sadness that I just don’t have the strength to express and tap into again right now. It will come to me, eventually.

The sadness that comes with the death of a loved one takes a huge toll. My family has been steam-rollered by it. It’s almost scary to let myself feel that much pain again. But in time, I will. I have to. Because he deserves my mourning, my reflection and my love.

He was one of those quiet men who was the support, the backbone of a family. He never took on the spotlight, but he was always there. He raised amazing children, and those are some of the cousins that I absolutely looked up to when we were kids playing tag through our grandma’s gardens. I still look up to them to this day. He suffered quietly through his illness. He always had a gentle smile and kindness in his eyes. That’s what I will always remember.

Rest in Peace, Tito JR.

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…and this is why I lost faith…

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Do you have some kind of emo(tional) ESP or something? Every time that I’m starting to move on you somehow pop back into my life making me stumble on my way. Just when I was starting to feel the tingles and the butterflies again. Just when I’m starting to feel like those text messages I get are welcome and wanted (instead of annoying and time-consuming), you send your own text that sends me on a loop.

I don’t want a loop.

I want to move forward.

What’s going on here? How do you always know?

Last time, I was starting over with someone else, thinking that I could really like this guy, that in the time we’re spending with each other, I could really fall for him. And then you come and bum rush that progress. It took me a couple months of soul-searching to finally reach this phase again.

At the very heels of me actually telling one of my good friends that I’m really excited about someone new…that I actually really like this guy…you come around. And it feels like someone just pulled the rug straight from under me.

Sigh.

What am I supposed to do?

I wish I had emo ESP.

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When I looked at you, my life made sense. Even the bad things made sense. They were necessary to make you possible.
-Jonathan Safran Foer

I wonder if there really are people out there that come into your life and throw everything into complete disarray…and yet you accept the disarray because, well…because it made sense.  Maybe part of it is because you allowed everything to happen the way it did. You turned a blind eye, told yourself you’d deal with the consequences later on, or worse–you believed that it was okay that things were bad because it was just how they were. It was the only way to make that person a possibility in your life.

How does someone like that make sense?

Maybe if only to show us that it doesn’t.

A person’s life can’t all be made up of good things. It’s part of the theory of relativity. Each person is tested by their own fire. Each person has their own demons. Each one has that one person that only exists to remind them of how things can be so good…and how things can be so bad. Each one has their polarizing person. Or two. Or three. Who knows? Maybe as many as it takes to learn your lesson.

Maybe it stays painful for as long as it takes to learn what’s good for you.

You’ll keep seeing this person, keep feeling this person because…well, it just makes sense and still does.

I don’t get it, and I can’t possibly explain how I feel. Except that…the quote above reminded me of you. And maybe who you’re supposed to be in my life.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

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