What I Wished I Told Him: A Father’s Day Tribute

Another year without you, Pa.

Photo from Pexels

My father was one of the few typewriter technicians in Cebu. He loved his job; you could feel his passion for it every single day as he carried each broken typewriter to our home and brought it back to his loyal customers once it was fixed. His dedication was inspiring, and his commitment to his craft was something to look up to.

We lived in the heart of Cebu, but that did not stop him from traveling to far places to attend to customers’ concerns. He reached the farthest points of the north and south via commute, sometimes sustaining himself with just juice and bread for a day of travel. Despite his long and exhausting travels, he never failed to bring home bags of groceries for us.

Photo of my father carrying his grandchild before cancer took him

I was in my late teens when I realized that Papa always had something to bring home. He would arrive sweaty wearing his ball cap, checked polo, belted stiff slacks, and shiny black leather shoes. On his arms were bags from Carbon Market filled with different ingredients to cook humba, inun-unan, kinilaw, and many more. Every meal was a feast when Papa arrived, little did I know that he ate the total opposite when he traveled.

As I look back, I wish I had told him a few things before he passed away:

“I see your sacrifice, Pa”

Papa, I now understand the lengths you went to for our family. Your long days and thrifty meals on the road were acts of love and sacrifice. Thank you for always putting us first.

“I strive to have the same passion as yours, Pa”

I grew up watching you work with such dedication and enthusiasm; you even let me help you sometimes. Now that I’m an adult, it taught me the value of hard work and passion. You showed me that true fulfillment comes from doing what you love and doing it well.

“I miss our meals together, Pa”

The effort you put into bringing home fresh ingredients and cooking delicious meals made every dinner feel like a celebration. Those meals weren’t just food; they were expressions of your love for us. And guess what, I still love eating chorizo for breakfast because that’s how it was back then with you. Now, Mama does the cooking and sometimes when we eat, we talk about you.

“I wanna be as strong as you, Papa”

 Your ability to face long journeys and tough days without complaint was a testament to your strength and resilience. You were our rock, and Mama’s rock, too. You were stern, but it was for our good in the end; if only I knew.

“I miss you everyday, Pa, every single day and I don’t tell anyone about it”

Your absence leaves this space that can never be filled. I miss your presence, your strong wisdom, your traditional thoughts, and your love. Thinking of you can trigger tears, be it happy or sad memories. And, I know that Mama still cries for you, too. You’ve been together for more than 30 years, and you loved her fully; you loved us fully. I just wish I can still see you, even in my dreams.

Photo from Pexels

This Father’s Day, I honor my father and all fathers who went through life thinking that their love and sacrifices were unseen. To the dads who worked tirelessly, who traveled long distances, and who made countless sacrifices, know that YOU ARE SEEN. 

To all fathers, past and present, thank you for your endless support, for your silent sacrifices, and for your unending love. We might have shown our appreciation in weird, childish ways, but every action, every smile, and every moment was our way of saying we love you. Thank you for everything. We love you more than words can express. Happy Father’s Day!

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Lenie Lañojan
Lenie Lañojan

"Everyone deserves a chance to fly" - WICKED
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