i sit at the foot of my father’s hospital bed, watching in utter helplessness as he twists and turns in a restless sleep. every once in a while, he coughs, groans and mumbles, and with every move and sound he makes, my chest tightens. i am pained knowing i can’t do anything about it. if only it was me, not him, who was diagnosed with leukemia… if only it was me lying in that hospital bed… if only i could take away his pain… i have a lot of if-onlys in my life. i am practically drowning in a tormented sea of if-onlys. yet sometimes, all we can do is wish… and pray.
faith – – – this is what keeps me sane nowadays. just because i don’t go to church as often as i ought to does not mean i do not believe in God. faith is the only thing i could cling on to in times like this. it’s not tangible but having a firm grasp on my beliefs keeps my sanity in check.
there are days when i just want to scream my head off in complete frustration. there are nights when a choking sense of panic keeps me awake. sometimes, when i lie in bed, drifting between sleep and consciousness, an emotion so powerful suddenly seizes me and all i want to do is rip my hair off my scalp. helplessness is the one feeling i simply cannot tolerate.
but what can a daughter do?
wave my magic wand? click my heels three times and wish to live happily ever after? douse the cancer that is running thorugh my father’s bloodstream with a bucket of water?
what can you do to repay a man who has done so much for you? for the person who has sacrificed his own dreams and ambitions just so you could fulfill yours?
i sit and ponder… if only i knew the numbers to the winning lottery ticket, if only i could afford to send my father to the best doctors in the world to give him the best medication possible, if only i knew the cure… and once again, my musings become peppered with if-onlys.
no matter how much i try to detach myself from my current reality, my escapist world comes crashing down everytime i hear my dad’s hoarse cough. my mom’s jolted-awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night haggard look is a far cry from her highly stylizd office appearance. your world could turn 360 degrees in a blink of an eye.
i have always been the overdramatic daughter. the subdued serious-looking one compared to my vocal and boisterous sister. my lachrymal glands would overproduce tears with conjured thoughts of soap opera-like scenarios that i would end up wishing i could whip myself with a spiked leash. it’s scary living in this crazy, psychotic, mental world of mine.
never in my life had i imagined that hospitals would become our second home. i have become so acquainted with the leather couch that i know every intimate crack and tear in the upholstery. i realized that we had been in the hospital for quite some time already when doctors asked for the newspaper page containing the crossword puzzles and when the nurses would come and stay for a while to watch tv with us. as they say, it’s not the house that makes a home.
slapped with a situation like the one we have gone through, i’ve had a lot of introspective moments. most of my friends talk about buffoon boyfriends, contraceptives, weekend parties they have to attend, places they have to visit and shoes they have to buy. i envy them. but then again, i would forego all that in exchange for my family’s happiness. if i have to sacrifice my life for my parent’s sake then, without a doubt, i most certainly will. afterall, who am i without them?
june 20 is father’s day. funny. but the words ‘father’s day’ and even ‘mother’s day’ have now taken a whole new meaning. i don’t celebrate these only once a year. i thank God every single day for every single person in my life.
would it take to hear your father’s pained cries or see your mother’s silent tears for you to realize their worth?
( Cebu Daily News, June 20, 2004 )