Written By: Mikee Pasaporte
My tribute this month is for all the fathers out there. I have three stories to share.
Just like a flashback scene from a telenovela, a man was left by his wife four years ago to join her lover. She abandoned their two kids and left them in the care of the father, who in this story is a patient of ours. The eldest is a 19-year old boy and the youngest, an 8-year old girl. Four years made a huge difference. Adjusting to life without a mother and having their father diagnosed two years after with Stage 4 Nasopharyngeal cancer, these kids discovered their own ways of coping. The eldest shows his detachment, a mix of fear of losing his father and anger since he was the most affected when his mother left. The youngest is still a kid. She still takes time to play with her father. Placing colorful rubber bands around his now thinning arms, picks on him with tickle fights when she sees that he isn’t in pain, and just acts as though everything else is normal.
Though sick, he finds ways to care for his young ones. He is currently getting weaker by the day. He is cared for by his aunt, who actually raised him, since he was actually abandoned by his mother as a he young child too. The cycle goes on, you may think. He promises that up until his last breath he wouldn’t abandon his own children.
He tries to be strong, despite his physical limitations. He is strong in their eyes and that’s all that matters.
Fathers are normally the bread winners of the family. Our next patient, confessed to be a workaholic for the longest time. Working late nights as an IT programmer, the late shifts and long working days got the best out of him year after year. Then something changed and though it was difficult for him to quit his job, he had to, since he was diagnosed with bone metastasis with an unknown primary etiology leaving him physically weak and eventually bedbound. (Definition: Bone metastasis occurs when cancer cells spread from their original site to a bone. In his case the original site of the cancer is unknown.)
With his condition, he stays at home with his family who had lived in the shadows all these years. He always thought that providing for his family’s financial needs was all that mattered. Only now has he really had the chance to get to know his family. He says that he sees his current condition as a blessing in disguise, since now he can spend more time with his 4 children. He says that at least, now he can help them with their homework. He could actually get to have those ‘talks’ with them. He now has the ‘time’ to show how much he really loves them. When asked if given the opportunity to have his strength back, he answers that he would honestly want to work, but this time balance his work and family life but definitely spend more time with his family.
This isn’t actually a story, but a poem I read sometime this week. A simple tribute to fathers who have already finished the race.
Father’s Day Poem
You never said “I’m leaving”, You never said “Goodbye”
You were gone before I knew it, And only God knew why
A million times I needed you, A million times I cried
If Love alone could have saved you, You never would have died
In life I loved you dearly, In death I love you still
In my heart you hold a place, That no one could ever fill
It broke my heart to lose you, But you didn’t go alone
For part of me went with you, The day God took you Home.