Friday, November 22, 2013

My Daddy: A Eulogy

If there's one word that would best describe my Daddy, it would be Generous. My Dad was a very generous man.

Generous with his blessings. He was always ready to share his blessings with everyone who needed his help. A relative who needed to buy medicine or needed to be hospitalized. An employee who had a family emergency. A friend in a tight situation. The children being cared for by the Rotary. Hindi niya pinagdamot ang blessings niya. Daddy would tell us all the time to share, to give, to help, because God will give back everything a hundredfold.

Daddy generously gave good advice. During the first few days of his wake, some of the visitors would tell me - ang dami nilang natutunan kay Dad. They appreciate all the advice my Dad gave them, advice sa family, advice sa business. It was my Dad's way of showing people that he cared for them. Genuine concern. Genuine love. Hindi niya pinagdamot ang mga nalalaman niya. His knowledge and skills, the things he learned from many years of experience, all those he wholeheartedly shared.

One advice from Dad that I will always remember is this: sabi niya sa akin, always put God first above all else. Before heading for work, Dad would stop for a few minutes in front of the BF church to start his day with a prayer of thanks. If he wasn't in a hurry, he would even go inside the adoration chapel. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all shall be given to you." Yun ang turo ni Dad. And that's why everyday I would pass by the Church first before driving to work, and pray for guidance and protection.

Also another advice na hindi ko malilimutan is when he saw my credit card bills and discovered that I have a bit of a spending problem. He talked to me without judgment,  without making me feel small or terrible. Tinuro niya sa akin what to do, the meaning of miminum payment and finance charges. For me, honestly, it was like confessing my sins to God, and He listened and forgave without judgment or criticism. Yun ang pinaramdam sa akin ni Daddy during that time. And I will never forget that, Dad.

My Daddy is generous with his time. Every week, inspite of the weather or any circumstance, kahit puyat or pagod, he would drive to Pampanga for his weekly Rotary duties. You should see my Dad's daily schedule. It's packed with things to do and things to accomplish every single day. May alarm pa yun to remind him of important things or deadlines. But despite his very busy schedule, he finds time for important things outside AICS, like the Rotary. He joined all the meetings, the programs, the conventions, etc.

But most importantly, he always had time for family. I don't recall a single moment when he had no time for us. He was always there for me and my siblings, and especially for my mom. And I think, in order for one to become a really good husband and father, you give your family not a huge amount of material things, but a huge amount of time and attention.

Daddy was generous with his smiles and laughter. I think all who knew him would agree na laging naka smile si dad, always ready to crack a joke, always ready to do a funny face pag wacky shot. And pag nag joke siya, kahit corny, bentang benta pa rin kasi pag tumawa na siya, matatawa ka rin. His favorite lines - Whattaheck! Or Ketchup to you. Yung mga saleslady automatic ang tawag niya "Stephanie " or "Balbina." We were at Enchanted Kingdom once. Nakapila kami sa bump cars tapos may mga batang sumingit. He pointed at them and with his booming voice said, "Psst! Get out!" And takbuhan yung mga bata. And then nung pumipili sila ng colors ng bump cars, my husband said "wag yung yellow. Pambakla yan." My dad replied, "oo nga pambakla yan!"

Then when we rode the carousel and all our horses moved up and down except for his horse, siya na lang ang nag up and down movement with his arms wide open while shouting, "yahoooo!"

If you haven't seen that funny side of my Dad, sayang. Ang saya kaya kasama ni Daddy. His laugh was contagious.

And lastly, my Dad was very generous with his love. Ask anyone who knew my dad - people from Aics, people from the Rotary, relatives and friends - they would say ang bait sa kanila ni Sir Asis, ni Manny, ni Boy. Bakit? Kasi mahal niya kayo. He gave his love away without expecting anything in return. Kahit mga taong sinaktan siya, inaway siya, binetray siya, he lovingly forgave and embraced. Because my dad was full of love, not hate or resentment. Sa totoo lang, ako pa ang mas galit sa mga nanakit kay Dad. Napatawad na niya, ako hindi pa. I guess I have to work on that, Daddy.

But he is a man who radiates with love. And I cannot even begin to tell you how much he loved his family. There's a popular quote that goes, The Best thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother. And sobrang mahal ni Dad si Mommy. Even after four kids and one grandchild, HHWW pa rin sila. Holding hands while walking. You'll always see them holding hands, magkatabi, magkayakap, minsan nagsasapakan... but in a playful way of course. Minsan nagtatampuhan, pero laging nagmamahalan. Dad has painted for us a beautiful picture of how marriage should be, how a family should be. He was the perfect example of a really good family man. He loved my mom so very much, and when you love your wife incredibly, that already speaks volumes about how much he loved his children. He loved us so much, and raised us well. If you want proof, just look at me and my siblings. Ayan. Ang gaganda namin. :)

But seriously, as the Head of the Family, he built the foundation with love that is so strong it continues to stand the test of time. Our family is so close and tight-knit, not even death can shake the very core of this foundation that my Dad built. Our family is built on Love. Because my Daddy was full of love.

And that's why, kahit ngayong wala na siya physically with us, with you - he will forever live in our hearts and our memories because he has touched our lives in such beautiful ways. Napakaganda ng remembrance na iniwan niya sa ating lahat. And at the same time, we filled his photo album with happy memories that I'm sure he's sharing now with the angels there in heaven.

We will never forget the incredibly generous man that was Manny, your friend, your best friend, your boss, your mentor, your tito, your brother, your Kuya, Aria's most favorite lolo, my mommy's labiduds, and my Dad. We love you, Daddy! We will miss you every single day of our lives.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My birthday letter for Daddy

Dear Daddy,

I know you won’t be able to read this right now. But soon, when you finally do, I want you to know that I’m right here with my pom-poms as I write this, cheering you on with my incredibly loud voice that I think I got from you. I’m cheering for you because you’re doing such an awesome and inspiring job, fighting for life, fighting to live. And I will continue to cheer you on until that happy day you get up from your bed and walk out of that darn hospital, and prove all those pessimistic doctors wrong. Malapit na yun! God is on our side.

Happy birthday, Daddy! On this special day of yours, let me thank you for everything that you have done for me. I learned a lot from you all these years, Dad. When I was still working for you, you taught me very important things like the value of work and money, and how important it is to lead by example. I’ve had many other bosses after you, but truth be told, you are the BEST boss there is. I say this not because you’re my Dad, but because you really are the perfect example of a great and inspiring leader. All the other bosses out there should learn from you. You are amazing!

Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself and my capabilities by showing me that you yourself have faith in what I can do. You taught me that I can achieve anything, with hard work and perseverance. I love hearing your stories about how you started from the very bottom, and how you worked your way to the top. I followed your example, Dad, by working my way up the success ladder. I worked hard, showed initiative, accepted workload that weren’t even part of my job description without complaining, because you said that’s how we learn. And when I got promoted to Assistant Manager, I saw in your eyes how proud you were of me. Thank you, Dad. I learned from the best.

Thank you for teaching me to put God above all else in life. You would always tell me, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” I’m thankful because you’re the kind of father who made sure that Sundays were strictly for God and for family. You made sure that all of us would hear Sunday mass together, hindi pwedeng kanya-kanya. You would feel bad if one of us made plans with friends or accepted work on a Sunday, because Family Day was very sacred to you. I really appreciate that you raised us that way, Dad. Because look at us now – our family is so amazingly tight-knit. And this togetherness, this closeness, is what’s keeping the family very strong right now, as we face all these trials.

Thank you, Daddy. I am so very happy, proud and so incredibly grateful to have you in my life. You’re my hero. You're my idol. You’re my strongest and fiercest ally. There’s this huge space in my heart that is exclusively for you and no one can ever take that spot for as long as I live.

I’m praying for your recovery and healing, Dad. I look forward to the day you’ll walk out of St. Luke’s and come back home and carry Aria in your arms. She’s a little over 40 pounds now, you know. So you need to regain all your strength to be able to carry your “Baby Bubut” again. She misses you. Everytime I ask her, “Anong sasabihin kay Lolo?” She always answers, “I miss you.” I miss you, too, Dad. Palakas ka ha? Para kwentuhan ulit tayo. I’ll cook your favorite adobo, just the way you like it.

Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you forever.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Update on my Daddy's condition...

Daddy's been in the hospital for two months now. His condition isn't so good. He has myelofibrosis. And his leukemia is starting to come back. His body is no longer able to produce red and white blood cells. So he undergoes blood and platelet transfusion almost every day. Everytime we need to look for donors, we all panic because when he needs transfusion, it's always a serious situation, a matter of life and death.

But inspite of all this, my Dad's will to live never falters. He may be too weak to even sit up on his hospital bed without support and without his heart rate shooting up, but we all see him fighting, struggling, to live, holding on incredibly tight to what little strength he has left to make it through every single day without giving up.

A reflection of our unwavering faith in God. We firmly believe that God is far greater than any disease. He is a God who makes miracles happen everyday. He is the Great Healer. We know that the Lord's healing is already working in my dad's body. This is His promise of life and healing that we all believe in and will continue to believe until the very end. We know that my Dad will regain his strength and health, slowly but surely, so he can eventually go back to the US for continuous care. In fact, I even envision him sharing stories with a very animated 5-year-old Aria. With God, absolutely nothing is impossible.

Please pray for my Dad. And for those who are willing to donate (Type A) blood/platelets, you can drop by the blood bank of St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City. They are open 24 hours. Kindly mention that it's for patient Manuel Asis. Thank you and God bless your good heart.

To all those who have donated, who are regularly donating, and those who have helped us get platelets from other hospitals (Thank you, Chiqui and Dr. Lacson!), my family and I can never thank you enough.

A song that my heart sings endlessly is this: God will make a way when there seems to be no way... He works in ways we cannot see... He will make a way for me.

I believe. I love you, Daddy!