The biggest regret in my life is the way I treated my father when he was alive. I grew up with so much hate for him. Remembering this makes me so sad right now. When he went to Saudi Arabia to work I was 9 years old. He seldom send us money and there were rumors that he has other woman there. When he came back I was already 19 and he was different. He was always angry and causing trouble wherever we go. He always shout at my mom and our home was like a living hell, there was no peace. I was so angry with him that there was one time I was so furious I cursed at him.
My brother and my sister remained respectful to him, but not me. I rebelled. I hated him to my bones that I prayed that he would die. We had no face to show to our neighbors and relatives because he would always bring them trouble.
My brother and my sister told me that he might be suffering from some mental illness. But in my mind I thought he was just really a terrible, selfish father who doesn’t care if his family is embarrassed because of how he behaves. When we brought him to a psychiatrist, he was diagnosed with Bipolar. He was given some meds and for the first time, he was calm and quiet in his room. And it remained like that for some years. When he show signs of hyperactivity again we would bring him to the doctor to check on him. It was the time I started caring for my father.
My father was already calm and quiet but he would always seek attention from us. There was one time, he would complain his knees because they hurt and that he couldn’t walk. So I would always assist him in going to the bathroom. But there was one time I found out he was faking it. When he knew I was not looking, he would walk normally. This became so annoying for me and when he complains that something hurts, I don’t pay attention anymore. I thought he was a burden to us.
But I know my father loves me, there were times he would try to make a conversation with me, but I would ignore him and go to my room. Sometimes, he would knock on my door with food that he bought but I won’t accept it and I would say I’m full.
2 years ago, he was hospitalized for a month, when he came back from the hospital, I suddenly changed. This time my heart became soft for him. Maybe God had touched my heart because he was going to take my father already. One night, I checked on him and see if he was able to sleep with stomach ache. I went to his room and got some oil to rub on his stomach. He was so happy when I did it. I couldn’t forget his face. He said “God, thank you for my daughter.” That night I prayed that God would heal my father.
We thought he already recovered but after a month he complained that his scrotum was painful. We brought him to the hospital. The doctor said he needs operation. The day he was about to be operated, he was so strong. He asked my mom to accompany him and walk by the corridor while waiting for his operation. He went back to his bed and asked my mom and my brother to pray for him. When my mom finished praying, she noticed that my dad’s face changed. There were tears in his eyes and there was water that came out from his ears. He was not breathing. The doctor and the nurses tried to revive him, but he was not revived.
My brother called me on the phone crying and said that dad had already died. I didn’t know what to feel. I went immediately to the hospital. And there I saw him, on the bed lifeless.
I hugged my father and placed my head on his chest, and I cried. I said “Father, forgive me.”
I remembered those times that I treated him with coldness, disrespect, and rebellion. I never understood that he was emotionally and mentally ill. I could’ve been more patient with him. My heart was full of hatred for my father that it blinded me of my love for him. How I wish I could turn back time and change how I treated my father. I didn’t know how much I love him. When I did, he was gone.
Tay, tomorrow is your birthday. How I wish I could walk you in the park and listen to what you have to say. They say I look like you and I got most of your attitude. I’m hot-tempered like you and I’m easily overwhelmed with problems like you. And I remembered what you said before that you loved me the most because we are the same. I’m sorry Tay for all the things that I’ve done. I remember you now and though I didn’t have enough time to express my love for you, I will always treasure those moments that you felt my love. I want to see and hug you in my dreams. I love you Tay…