My Father

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Alzheimer's - Slipping Away, Fragments
Tags: , , , ,
photo credits:

photo credits:

When I was in grade school, it was mostly only me and my father at home. Both my sisters were working in another country, while my mom was, hmmm, let’s just say on “Absence Without Leave”. So my dad was left with no choice but to play the mother’s role as well, and this includes attending to my then long hair. To say the least, it was a painful struggle.

One day my dad arrived home from work with several newly purchased hair clips and ribbons in hand that were apparently recommended by a workmate. He would painstakingly try them on me, clueless on how to use them. It was bittersweet. We both managed to survive.

My grade school class pictures still haunt me to this day. My father – the resolute.

In grade school, being second best (academically) in my year wasn’t good enough for him, he made me suffer the wrath of his leather belt. In his eyes, I might be a hopeless child. He didn’t like me joining school activities. I have to focus on my academic grades, he tirelessly reminded me.

Having caused my dad too many visits to my school’s guidance office, he later decided to transfer me to an all-girl high school ran by nuns, in the hopes that this will tame me. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

On my second year in high school, he finally realized that there was no way I would give up my extracurricular activities to excel academically, he was resigned. Modesty aside though, I was one of the best, just not among the top five best. With no academic medal of honor to present him with when I graduated in high school, he didn’t bother to attend the graduation ceremony.

My butt didn’t suffer the whips from his leather belt, and I couldn’t ask for a better graduation gift. My father – the supportive one.

When I finished college, there was no celebration. I did not even get to wear a graduation gown, nor did I get to march my way to claim my diploma. It was just another ordinary day, except it wasn’t. On this day, my father knocked on my bedroom door with a thick stack of fastened paper in hand. And this may have changed my life forever.

I opened the door, and in came my father handing me a curious stack of paper. I asked what it was, and with these words he answered: “it’s a detailed list of all the money I spent for your college. Get a job and pay for it.” I stood there dumbfounded as he left a moment later.

True to his words, it was indeed a detailed list. On this so and so date I apparently asked for this so and so amount to buy some so and so requirements for a certain so and so project. On another date, he gave me money to buy new shoes. And on another date, he paid for my cab when I had nothing left from my allowance to get home with. The appalling list went on in great detail as halfway through my perusal the realization that I owe an immensely high amount of debt gradually sunk in. My father was not kidding; he was serious about collecting.

The way I saw it I had two options. Either I continue to feel hurt by this and pay up, or I focus on my father’s efforts at “inspiring” me to get a job quick and save up. I chose the latter. I have resolved to be grateful that he financially supported my college education, and that he actually went the extra mile of listing down his expenses to inspire me later on. I felt inspired.

I felt inspired and driven to get a job and move out of his house as soon as I can before he hands me another list of expenses that I will never pay.

I never paid. He mentioned it several times to my deaf ears. My father – the inspiration.

Today, I asked him if he remembers any of these. As expected, he said he doesn’t. The disease apparently has its benefits.

I found myself wishing I can forget all these too.

My father – the Alzheimer’s victim.


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