Today is the death anniversary of Tatang.
It is uncanny how the years has only made his presence in my life even stronger.
I can feel my father alive in me and my own sons.
His spirit. His moods. His talents. His wit and his mind. Even his mannerisms.
I remember and celebrate his life with love, gratitude
and happiness tinged with a certain amount of sadness.
Since he has been gone, I have grown to know, appreciate and love him even better.
I now understand his silences better:
like when the heart is so full with joy that words become superfluous;
or like when in the face of heated disagreements or deep hurts,
words could just cause more misunderstandings of deeper wounds.
I particularly remember his winsome smile:
disarming, child-like, reflective of an inner joy and pride
that was also tinged with a bit of melancholy.
His smile was his trademark which endeared him to people.
It reflected the joy and pride that were rightfully his for his achievements in life.
It was also came with a humility, sometimes much too self-negating,
since he was always aware of his humble beginnings in the barrio.
The melancholic tinge comes from his desire
that he could have done and given more to his family and loved ones.
Now, in being a father myself, I can feel the pain and aches,
the joys and triumphs that he must have felt as he brought us up.
Tatang, you are always remembered and even more deeply loved now.