My dad will die tomorrow.
If only I had this thought three years ago, I would have flown home in a heartbeat. Maybe not that fast but fast enough to at least be with him before he took his last breath.
I still remember that fateful day.
My father had been in a hospital for about a week. The night before, I spoke to my mom and asked her of his condition and she said that he still felt weak.
I woke up the next day gearing for a full-day meeting. Somehow, I felt a little bit down and I told myself it was just due to worrying about my dad. Even my colleagues thought so as well.
Later on, I began to feel cold. Cold enough to facilitate a session in the meeting fully-wrapped in a huge colored scarf.
I called my mom again and she informed that my dad's siblings were all there. I figured that there was not really anything weird with that for it had always been the case that whenever he called for his brothers and sisters, they always came to him.
The meeting ended at around 8:00 pm. I tried to reach my mom again but she did not answer my call. I went back to the office and logged on to my YM but no one among my own siblings was online.
The agonizing minutes, hours, passed. I was quiet or rather, too quiet even for my own taste. I thought that I should go home and rest but somehow, I remained in the office surfing the web, playing online games and just waiting for any news back home.
At 11:00 pm, the call came. It was my eldest brother in Dubai who informed me that my mom went out of the hospital to look for a priest.
This is it, I thought so.
I did not know what to feel. I just went numb. Though I managed to inform my friends what was happening, I could not bring myself to get emotional and all. I thought it ungrateful and unfair of me not to even shed a tear now that he is dying.
And then it happened. At 12:05 am, my Dad died.
I did not go to sleep anymore. I made calls after calls – to Philippines, Dubai and to Qatar where my two other siblings were – informing them what happened and planning how we were to go about with the funeral. Maybe I was compensating for my stubborn tears that refused to fall. Or for my disregard of the gut-feel that something bad was going to happen.
Or maybe just for the fact that I was not there. I was too late.
Of course I know that my experience of being absent when a loved one died was not unique. Countless more overseas Filipinos had suffered the same. But knowing so does not lessen the regret and sometimes even the guilt.
Eventually I did cry. At the third day of the wake, the dam just broke and I couldn't help myself but cling to my mom. She was the strongest of all of us. Maybe, caring for my dad in health and in sickness had somewhat prepared her for the inevitable.
I still miss my Dad. It will not really go away.
Even if I could have foreseen his death.