Today supposedly is your 63rd birthday on earth but reality wanted you to spend it in somewhere else — your 4th birthday in heaven, actually.
Five years after, it’s still the same yet so different. Back then, I would literally feel my heart twitch just at the thought of him never coming back. I would regret not permitting myself to celebrate a debut. Had I known he wouldn’t reach my wedding day, I could have pushed for it just so we could have our first (and unknowingly last) dance. I would ask the Lord several times to calm my mind and give me peace for not knowing what happened in his last few hours in that Russian hospital. I could not stop thinking if knowing it earlier would make a difference. What happened five years ago changed a lot of things in my life. It changed the way I dreamt for myself, the way where my plans were headed and the things I envisioned myself. And if there was anything constant in my life then, it was nothing but fear. It paralyzed me — crippled me — from the moment I woke up til the second I went to bed.
To be honest, one of the first things I had to learn about being on the receiving end of the loss is having no choice but to move on. I’m sure you’ve felt pain. Whether it was a heartbreak, failure, or like in my case, losing someone, the reality is after going through the numbing pain, you got no choice but to move past it. Yep, no choice. (Well, the other option is to stay sad and cry but one day, you will get tired of doing that too.) You have to wake up one day and decide not for anyone else, but for yourself.
It took me three years. A hard three years. I did not feel regret over not saying how much I love my dad or spending more time with him given that he worked overseas, what I regret about is not being able to spoil him the way he spoiled me. He wasn’t able to experience my first treat from my first job, he wasn’t able to see my college diploma and he wasn’t able to see the fruits of his labor in my life. There were so many things that could have happened…but it did not. I got bruised real bad and there was no aid. Especially since the bruise came from a really deep trauma.
Five years after, it’s still the same yet so different. I still miss you everyday and I still remember you for a lot of reasons. I know I would no longer have that first and last dance. I would no longer be able to spoil you and slip you a little piece of chocolate. There are a lot of things that wouldn’t happen anymore but that’s okay, and I write that with a smile. I wouldn’t let this be another sad post of how much painful the loss was or a sad story about a daddy’s girl who lost the first love of her life. I know things will never be the same but I have chosen grace. Grace to restore my whole heart, grace to step onto new beginnings and grace that had let me create new dreams for myself and my family.
Everyday I carry in me something that I will never forget. Because of you I am able to enjoy a lot of things today. Because of you I became stronger than I thought I was. Because of you I learned true hard work and resilience. A big chunk of my life, I really owe to you.
And just like all bruises, it heals — and becomes a scar. You are my favorite scar, dad. It’s a deep, long and noticeable one but still my favorite. I love you forever and happy birthday. 💛
Love, your baby girl. ♡⚓