First and foremost, I just want to share my love & gratitude towards you for taking time out of your day to read my first blog post. Let’s just say that after several years of feeling that I needed to share my experiences and struggles, I can finally say I’m doing just that! At first, I was skeptical about what others might think and I had no idea of what sharing my story even looked like. Whether it was writing music, re-making covers into my own style, writing poems, or, the thought of writing a novel. I then came across the thought of hey, remember Tumblr? I used to blog religiously on there and I loved it… But, let’s just say that I’d like to think that my content now is more mature and relatable.
My story really starts at the point of which I lost my Dad – at the young age of 17. I remember not being able to tell this story without breaking down but I guess it really does show how time can heal. So, before diving into this pivotal and painful part of my life, I think it’s important to note that I could have never imagined publically sharing my story or being utterly raw and transparent online. But here I am, with only the best intentions in mind, sharing my story so that others can relate and maybe gather the courage to share their’s one day.
Where It All Began…
I will never forget the day that my family and I were gathered around our dinner table, accompanied by family friends, enjoying a normal meal together until one of our guests noticed that something was very wrong. My Dad, Edwin, looked off as his face drooped to the left side, along with his mouth and left eye. His speech was choppy and he couldn’t explain what he was feeling. At this point, our family friend asked if he could stand up and do some simple balance and coordination actions. He failed. That’s when we all stopped eating and knew that we had to rush him to the hospital.
Once we got him to the ER, he was automatically admitted and I felt like my life went into a full b l u r .
After years of struggling with Parkinson’s (at such a young age), my Dad was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour. An inoperable one. Not knowing what to expect, I remember the doctor sat my Ma and I down in a small uncomfortable room. He told us what they had found. All I could remember was that my Ma looked like she was hit by a train and silent tears ran down her face as she looked at the doctor in great confusion. The weird part is that I can’t remember my own reactions but I remember feeling as if my world had just shattered and turned upside down.
From then on, my Dad was admitted to a permanent hospital bed. At the time, I was in my last year of High School and we all know the kind of stresses a 12th-grader felt thinking about graduation alone and applying to Universities. For 3 months straight, we were in and out of the hospital and I can barely remember even talking to my Ma as we took turns being with him, making sure we eat, going home to change, and then making time to do homework. Looking back, I still can’t fathom how 17-year-old-me coped with all of this.
After many trials and tests, the doctors decided to move my Dad to a Cancer Centre Hospital where they could do more research and see what could be done about his Brain Tumour. We drove him in our own vehicle as he requested but when we got there, the nurse was shocked as his oxygen levels dropped drastically during the drive there. She said, “This could have been fatal for him”. Nurses then grabbed him and hooked him up to oxygen tanks. I was terrified. Thankfully that night, my Dad became stable and he was able to say “I love you Anak (I love you my child in Tagalog)“. He promised that he wasn’t in pain but that he was just having a hard time breathing and most of all, putting my Ma and I through this. We were assured by the nurse that I could go home and rest, then return the next day. That night was the night I blindly registered for University and one that I will never forget.
After submitting all the documents needed to apply for my top 3 Universities, we got a call that it was urgent for us to be back at the hospital. I’ve never felt my heart drop any lower than at that moment. The drive there was horrendous and long. When we got there, we found out that they had moved my Dad to the ICU unit due to his deteriorating condition. From then on, we waited patiently and never left his side. School was on pause. Work was on pause. E v e r y t h i n g was on pause. Then the day came when I realized those words he said to me were the last words I’d ever hear him say. The Doctor pulled my Ma and I aside to tell us that there was no more hope for him getting any better. He was literally dying. All I remember was running out of the ICU crying in anger and fear. My best friend at the time found me in a random hall bawling my eyes out. We bawled together.
The day came where we had to make the decision to take my Dad off of life support. I remember saying why do WE have to make the decision? Because MY decision is to wait patiently until he gets better. Sadly, that wasn’t an option. Since we obviously loved him too much to let him suffer any more than he already did, we came to accept what we had to do. I mean, the only thing keeping him alive at that moment were those machines. Thankfully, even though he was pretty much in a coma, he could hear. I remember spending the last few moments with only him, Me and my Ma. We jokingly asked him to stop kidding around and get better already. We wanted to make sure that we were all on the same page by telling him to squeeze our hands if he agreed. We asked him the question that I hope no one EVER has to ask someone they love. “Are you ready to go?”, we asked. He squeezed our hand. We cried. We asked again. And again. And again. To the point where my Dad ended up opening his eyes to look at us, telling us that this is what he wants and that he is ready. We laughed while sobbing as we knew we were getting really annoying. That’s when we had our final moments with him and told him if he is able, please stay a little longer before he fully lets go. Then the doctor came in and told us that as soon as we pull out all the tubes and remove him from life support, he would be gone pretty much instantly. So we exited the room and waited. We waited, we cried, we prayed. The doctor then let us back in and our whole family that was there gathered around him. My Ma and I were on either side of him, holding his hands. And after a minute, my Dad opened both of his eyes and looked around the room. We were all in utter and complete shock. We were witnessing a miracle. Even the Doctor couldn’t believe it. But knowing God’s goodness, I did. He took a gander around the room as we said our goodbyes, making his own final impressions. He then finished looking around the room and looked at me. He tried to move his hand and I squeezed. I ugly cried. I fell into him more. Hugging him as if I could keep him here. I then took a moment to really look at him. And that’s the moment I knew that it was his time to go home and be with the Lord. His eyes closed slowly as he stared at me. And then all you could hear was a long beep. He was gone.
Now I know that this was an intense and very detailed story as to what had happened and how I lost my Dad but I think it plays a huge role in my personal Healing Journey. All I can say is that I will always be grateful for the time we had with him before he had to go and the love I felt even in those last moments. This was a story where I couldn’t see any kind of light at the end of the tunnel but… here we are 6 years later, sharing what I thought was the end of my story when it actually became the beginning of my story.