Cherish each moment with your parents

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

The pain brought about by the death of a loved one will always be unfathomable. In fact, according to the gospel of John in the Bible, no less than Jesus Christ wept when his friend Lazarus died.

Hence, we must understand the feelings of those left behind. It can help when friends visit the wake, express their sympathy, and offer comforting words to the bereaved family.

I had my share of this experience when my father, Ruperto Bañoc, died last April 6 of this year. That’s after almost three years of battling myelodysplastic syndrome, an illness that has something to do with the blood and bone marrow and eventually affects the platelet count.

My mother died when I was four years old. At that time, my younger sister was one year old, and my youngest sibling was two weeks old. So, my father took on the role of a mother and a father. He never married again.

He was deeply religious. He was not rich, but he led a decent life.

Frankly, it was my prayer --more particularly when he was fighting for his life-- that God would allow him to live longer. I prayed that since my mother passed away when I was still very young, I wished that God would give him a chance to live more years.

From the time he was admitted at the hospital to the time he breathed his last, it was a long, tough, and painful journey. I had to make difficult decisions when doctors required my consent to particular procedures, which could go both ways, without any assurance that my father would survive the next day.

When the situation proved to be too heavy, I had to be absent from my daily commentary programs. In fact I ceased submitting my column for more than a quarter of this year.

Now that my father has reported back to his creator and his mission has been accomplished, I still have difficulty recovering from the painful experience. I can only analyze that this is because I was the one taking care of him for the last three years of his life. Second, I made him my anchor and inspiration in striving hard to become a lawyer. Third, it seems that I lost both my father and mother at the same time because he both served the two roles and, fourth, I feel that I have not served him enough.

Like many children, I wanted to give my father the best that life could offer. I wanted to have more time with him to return the love and sacrifices he made for us, his children. How I wish there was a rewind of his life. I could have done more.

To the children who are fortunate enough to have still their father and/or mother: spend time with them as often as possible. Time lost can never be found again. They may not say it, but they want more time with you.

Some thoughts occur in one’s mind during the death of a loved one, not least of which is the thought of whether you have done enough for your loved one or the wish that you had more time. But the referee already signaled, “Time is up”.

I still wrestle with the disbelief that my father is gone --forever! And I will not be able to tell when I’d be able to get over this painful fact. I pray that I will.

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