Losing Your First Love

I’ve always been a daddy’s girl. Ever since I was a child, my dad used to spoil me with everything I ever wanted. That’s probably why he and my mom always fight.

I wasn’t really that close to my mom when I was little. She has so little patience with me so I always get beaten up growing up. My only safe place was when my dad comes home every night. No matter how mad my mom gets, my dad was always there to protect me.

I remembered, we went to the mall one time… And I fell in love with this one particular Barbie Doll with a purple gown. Purple is my favorite color :). As usual, my mom got mad at me for wanting it. And I just kept crying while my dad was trying to calm me down. Yeah, I didn’t get that doll that night, and I was so broken hearted. The next morning, I left a note to my dad’s pocket, begging him to buy the doll for me. When arrived home that night, I thought he didn’t get my note so I prepared another one to put in his pocket. But then he handed me a box wrapped in newspaper and asked me to open it. It was the Barbie Doll with a purple dress. I jumped to my dad and gave him a huge hug and a kiss!

Every time my dad leaves in the morning, he’d ask me what I want, and get it all for me when he gets back in the evening. I’d ask for some Moo (Chocolate Drink), then he’d come home with a box full of it. Sometimes, I’d ask him for a can of Pringles, then he’ll get a full pack of 6. Anything I ask, he gives in one full box or pack. Every Christmas, he’d ask me to hang a sock on the Christmas tree and put a note of what I want as a gift. Then the next day, I will be seeing my gifts waiting for me at the bottom of the tree. He made me believe that Santa Claus exists. That’s how my dad is to me. And I know, I was a spoiled little brat.

We used to be one of those families who had enough to support whatever it is we need, or want. Until one day, we lost everything. Well not everything. We still have our house. But financially, we lost all of it. Everyday, I saw my dad struggle and it breaks my heart. I was a teenager when it happened and of course, I had my fair share of being a “teenager” but my dad was always my reason not to do drugs, or smoke, or drink, or go out all night. I’ve never been like that because of my dad.

Then I remember going to college and my dad had to provide at least PHP 80.00/day just so I can go to school. There were even times that I had to go with only PHP 20.00 in my pocket. I needed to finish my studies so I can find a job and help him. That was my goal.

My mom has always been strict with me, even after college. And that’s one thing I didn’t really wanna deal with. So a few months after I graduated, I did the most stupid mistake ever! I ran away.

This was the most difficult decision that I had to make because I could not stop thinking about my dad. I was so worried because I know that what I did will definitely break his heart. But I did it anyway.

I was so scared to look at my phone that day because I know that they were going to try to contact me. And there they were. Few hours after I left, my phone started ringing. Calls from my mom, and then my dad. I didn’t care answering my mom’s call at the time, but I was so scared to pick up my dad’s call because I know I wasn’t gonna be able to say no when he ask me to come back home. A few minutes later, my dad decided to send me a text. He didn’t try to make me come home at all. I could still remember what he said. And it makes me cry to this day just thinking about it. He asked me if I still have some money left. Because if I don’t, he said he still has some left, and that he wants to give it to me so I have some money to spend. Of course I didn’t take it. I told him that I’m okay. And that he just spend it for my mom and my sister instead.

A month after I left, I finally had the courage to visit them and see my dad. Kept visiting them after that.

Four months after, I got pregnant. The time I gave birth, everyone was there for me. My dad came and visits me everyday at the hospital. He was so happy and so excited to meet my son. They’ve become best buds!

Then, he started to age and his Alzheimer’s slowly progressed. He usually goes to Manila every morning, and comes back to us in Parañaque every night. But when he started getting sick, my mom told him to just stay in Manila so he wouldn’t have a hard time coming home to us. He always gets lost and ending up spending all his money finding his way back to us.

It breaks my heart every time my dad tells stories about how he falls on his feet on the street trying to catch a cab. Or someone trying to steal a cab from him. He’s old and couldn’t really fight for it, so imagining it actually brings me to tears. Of course I didn’t show it.

Finally, my dad stopped coming. But we knew he’s okay because we were in contact with our aunts and they’ve been updating us about what’s going on with dad.

Two years have passed, I got a job offer to work in Dubai. Still hasn’t seen him. I thought it was for the better as I don’t think I can handle it pretty well to see him weak and doesn’t even know me at all.

I came home twice for a vacation but I never had the courage to see him. I got news that he’s very weak. I didn’t want to see him like that. I was so stupid. That was so selfish of me. All I ever thought about is what “I” was going to feel. But what about him??

Few months after I flew back to Dubai, my sister decided to give him a visit. Of course I asked them to send me a picture. I was waited for that day but I was so scared to see my dad. Then finally, they uploaded it on facebook and tagged me. Very first time I saw him in more than 5 years. Broke my heart how thin and weak he looks.

I told my sister to take a video next time they visit. She suggested that we video-chat instead. I was hesitant to go on Skype because I knew what exactly was going to happen. But I finally got the need to see my dad. So we did it. The moment I heard his voice, I broke down. I was in the office when we did that. Was trying to talk to him, but I was just sobbing and couldn’t really say anything.


Yeah, he can’t really remember everyone anymore. But… for a few seconds, he remembered me and called my name a few times. I’m just so happy I have this video. This is one thing I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

I couldn’t stop thinking about him after this. I cried for several nights. It’s actually worse than getting your heart broken by some guy.

I was waiting for them come back and visit dad again, but they were busy. Few months have passed, still hasn’t seen him.

Then January 2nd, 2017. I got a message from my sister. My dad’s gone. Said he passed away on new year’s eve.

I guess I was in shock. I think it didn’t really sink in that fast. I didn’t really feel anything. I went to the bathroom, took a shower and was actually about to get ready for work. Still nothing.

Finally, took my phone and texted my colleagues and say I won’t be able to go to work. I explained what happened, and THEN, I started breaking down. I was trying to keep it down as someone was still sleeping in the room.

A few hours later, I started getting messages from my colleagues asking me what happened and I just couldn’t respond. Sent an email to the HR requesting for a week off work so I can go home and see my family. I immediately looked for flights back to the Philippines and flew in the next night.

My mom, sister, and my son picked me up at the airport but we never mentioned anything about dad. It was just like a normal night. No one mentioned my dad. Not even I opened that topic.

The next day early morning, my sister, my son and I got ready to go to my dad’s wake. God, I was freaking out. Again, I didn’t show it.

Met my aunt on the way, and finally arrived at the place. The moment I saw the tarp with my dad’s name hand-written on it, it’s like I’ve been shot in the chest. I only used to see my dad’s name hand-written when I write it on forms and on papers in school.

My family never saw me cry. Not my mom, not my sister. I was always this tough girl who just joke around about everything. But not this time! I didn’t care if they see me cry. That’s my dad laying down there. My first love. My everything.

A few days later, we took him to his final resting place. They opened the coffin so we can say goodbye one last time. Gave my dad one last kiss on his forehead and whispered how much I love him and how sorry I am for everything I did and didn’t do. So many people mourned for my dad. He was a good man. A very good man.

I wish I could go back to those moments when I was just a little kid. My dad loves to fish and I’d just sit there beside him. Yeah, I’m a huge daddy’s girl! No man can ever replace him in my heart that’s for sure.

Though my family is now closer than ever, without my dad, it’ll always never ever feel whole again.


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