Á Bientô, Great Man

Nonfiction by | May 24, 2009

It is not everyday that one gets the chance to grieve the loss of a great man. Great men come in too little a supply, and often, they leave without so much as a warning to lessen, if not completely halt, any pain that naturally comes from goodbyes. Yes, it is a pain to part, and even more painful to part with great men. Hence the natural order of things where great men are few, and to part with them an even rarer circumstance. My family, however, grieves the loss of a great man once or twice a year. And once again, the time has come for us to swallow the bitter pill that is goodbye.

A great man is one who loses himself in the service of others, including those he loves the most. A great man takes time to make up for lost time, despite knowing the futility of such an act. A great man braves the seven seas and the cruelty of the world, sometimes even literally, for someone other than himself. A great man is my dad.

Yesterday, I was at the kitchen with my mom while she was preparing dinner. Throughout the years, I have come to understand my mother’s emotions as though they were my own. I witnessed a hint of sadness in her movements, and asked her why it is so.

She gave me a simple reply of “You know.”

Close to tears, I went up to my room to compose myself before dinner. Throughout dinner, she was a bit cold towards my dad. She even snapped at him for having worked, again, when he was supposed to be resting for the long trip ahead of him. I could never understand, and I don’t think I ever will. Maybe that’s how love is. If we feel the pending goodbyes and months ahead without so much as a touch from the one we love, we become hostile. And we rarely fail to show it.

I slept last night not without shedding a handful of tears for them. And a couple for me, as well.

I woke up early to make sure that he was prepared for the months ahead. I knew he didn’t have as much entertainment when he was gone as when he was home. So I tried to do things to compensate for that. I knew nothing can ever match the fun of sitting in the den with a crazy wife and with kids laughing and playfully pissing each other off. But a few movies and songs, and some TV series episodes ought to do for the next half year for him. Hopefully, 150GB worth of data would be enough to keep him happy at least a couple of hours each day.

Great man, I doubt you might be reading this, but still I write so as to proclaim to the world my gratitude for everything you have done and loved for everything that you are. You might not have noticed it, but the moment I started missing you when you left was the moment I started speaking less or slept in during the morning you left. It’s not to stop you from going, but to stop me from crying. We have lost all those years. But still, every time you are here, I feel like you have been here all along. Maybe, just maybe, your love is a powerful enough thing to overcome the futility of using time to make up for time after all.

See you soon, great man.

—-
Andie Albino is in the Medical Staff of Davao Light and Power Company. Ironically, she is a graduate of BS Industrial Engineering, batch 2009.

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