Via Enriquez's Album: Wall Photos

Photo 2 of 2 in Wall Photos

Hi, Papa, it’s me, your Colot.

I can’t believe that I am here, preparing for your 40th Day Mass, and speaking to you "remotely" - as "in" as it is these days. Nearly a month ago, we were all so eagerly preparing your discharge from the hospital and arranging for your return home. What was unbeknownst to us is that God, too, must have been expecting and preparing for your homecoming to Him, to your “forever home” in Heaven.

Yes, we have known of your illness for sometime. Some might even say that Mama, Ate, and I were lucky to be gifted with the many years, days and hours of being together despite your condition.

Sleeping (not sleeping at all) and waking up to our first morning without you was the hardest thing to overcome. I have not stopped crying and praying, and being just overwhelmed. I can’t even bring myself to respond to the outpour of love and sympathy for me and my family. Nothing could have prepared us for this heart ache.

I have been dreading these days of your absence in our lives since I was young enough to have a concept of death.

As I was thinking of what to say to you, I remembered that I wrote you a birthday letter in 2015, as I remembered to consciously say enough "I love you's" to all my loved ones. So, whenever I felt it in my heart, whenever I remembered you during the day, whenever I felt your love through your many messages, letters, and songs - I said "I love you, Papa". So, this was the letter I wrote you in 2015, on your 68th birthday...


To my dearest Papa,

I did the math this morning and realized "my Papa is getting older". I felt a painful tug at my heart, recognizing the niggling presence of my biggest fear and nightmare: losing the two people who brought me and Ate into this world.

Searching my phone to do another PicCollage for your birthday, memories filled my heart with much happiness. And I thought to myself how much I love these people who smile back at me. This is my home - my family. My world, my everything.

All of these remembrances of moments in time that have come and gone, made me remember the unfortunate reality that most people do not get to hear or know about how much they are loved, until they too, are gone, only to be a memory.

I refuse to be one of those people.

So, Papa, this is how I've come to know and love you...

Walking to fetch Izzie a few days back, with you looking on as I took every step away from you, I could not help but be reminded on how you and Mama have been like this in my life, as well as Ate's. Always looking on, watching out for us, and always at a respectful distance, enough to just "be there" when we need you to be. We will forever be thankful that you and Mama nurtured and nourished all the things we love, went on with our whims and cheer for us through every step. Did you know that many of our friends in school thought we had the coolest, most supportive parents ever? We were (and still are, I think) the envy of many of our friends and classmates.

I relish the fact that you still see me as this little girl and call me your "Little Turtle", and all of us women in your life your "Darling Treasures".

You are the smartest man I know. And many people remember you for your academic feats achieved by your astounding intellect and self-discipline. But what many don't know is that you have a ginormous heart of gold - one of the most upright, just, and moral people I look up to. All I know about being fair, truthful, and doing what is right at all times, I learned from you and Mama. All I know about marriage - the necessary ingredients of trust, love, and respect - I learned and saw through your example. Now, your little quips of wisdom have been the words I conscientiously choose to live my life by. I find myself amused to be mouthing these to your apos, happy to be passing these on to Izzie and Enzo.

You taught and influenced me to love how the world works. I am not sure if I've said this to you but one reason I took and loved Political Economics is that it gave us many things to talk about. Your love for this country, its history, and its people astounds me, and your work to make big changes happen makes me proud. Thank you for being the spark to the many realizations I, and so many others, needed to see. Thank you for taking the time and effort to shape my heart and mind (as well as other's) to remember and appreciate being a Filipino.

I heard Ben E. King's song, "Stand By Me" and remembered you with a smile. One of my best memories of you was singing this at the top of your lungs as we happily packed our stuff to move to our new home. So, that song, as well as many other tunes, melodies and lyrics are part of the treasure chest of memories that Ate and I always love to hear and hear again. Music was always our thing - another bond - I hold close to my heart. My playlist "Papa's Songs" is a testament to the huge repertoire of music and memories that filled our childhood. I will, of course, have a special place in my heart for "our song": "The Way You Look Tonight", which we danced at my wedding. ❤️

On your birthday Papa, apart from wishes and prayers for continued good health, much happiness and more memories to cherish, I wish for you more periods of contentment and peace. To live and love in the moment, especially to take the time to appreciate (and show it) the people who love you so much.