March 9, 2009, Monday. We got a forwarded text message from my sister in law sent by David's brother requesting her to go to the hospital since dad in law is having difficulty breathing. Dad, having given full confidence in her (she is a doctor) wanted her to be there to check on him. Dad has been in the hospital for almost a month now. What was diagnosed as pneumonia several weeks ago has brought more complications than what we expected. All the siblings (except one who was still in the US at that time) were there. Each with a nervous , hopeful and prayerful heart that dad's condition is not as serious as what we all feared it was. Everyone is somewhat ready that he will be taken back from us anytime. Afterall, 13 long loving years were lent to us by The ONE greatest and we could not ask for more. Two years of agonizing dialysis and donor search, and eleven years of post kidney transplant fruitful encounters.
He is a man of strength – It's something that we would always remember. Up to this very moment, the thought lingers. Maybe he was even surprised we were all there early in the morning. If I were the one sick, and I see everyone there I would be afraid. But him – he was happy. He felt stronger. We were the ones more afraid. For a month, the siblings take turns in being the hospital companion. For some reasons, I accepted just a few weddings for February and March and we were able to make it there. Our hospital schedule fell on weekends when dad and I would talk about anything at night ( his life at the farm when he was still a boy, his 1st bicycle ride, his 3 month full dialysis confinement before while searching for a donor, his favorite ulam, his experience in vegetable trade, his family, me and David, the siblings. Every single weekend night, while David sleeps ( he took care of dad in the morning), we talk. Dad had difficulty sleeping. His lungs were congested and most of the time, his fever goes on and off. After a sputum culture on the first week, a rare strain was found but the doctors could not give just one kind of high dose antibiotic because of the condition of his kidney. They took it really slow and after three weeks, a very minimal result was observed. Nevertheless, his fever went off. His appetite slightly improved, he still cant sleep at nights but we never heard a single complaint. For us, any simple improvement meant a lot. We know he just wants to be with us. Just like the previous hospitalizations when his legs were amputated- yes they were one after the other on separate occasions ( he was diabetic ). He just said " Ok lang yan, at least makakasama ko pa kayo". Everyone was hopeful yet afraid for we really do not know the day nor the hour. The last weekend we were together, he had difficulty urinating as well. He had edema on Sunday morning which signifies that his kidney is slowly failing. We were contemplating on another dialysis but each is preparing for we are certain of one thing – dad's condition is getting worse.
On that Monday morning, he was listening to the stories of mom and David's siblings as he continues to gasp for breath. I even left at 11 AM to attend to a meeting since he seems fine and better with everyone around. As I alight the vehicle in Greenbelt, I got a text from David saying that Dad is being revived but still fighting. It was way too fast. I'm very thankful for clients who understood and even pushed me to go back to the hospital. Dad was revived after 29 minutes. When I got back to the hospital, dad experienced a second arrest and was revived after 9 minutes. The doctors said that prognosis is really bad. But we decided to submit him to another dialysis since we know he has been waiting for it. Back in the dialysis room, no one let go of both of his hands ( if one has to go, someone else will take his place). We wanted to assure him that he was never alone. Three hours after dialysis, he can answer yes or no, has voluntary movements ( he signals pain in his chest), can quantify pain ( he drew 6 on air when asked how painful was his chest), and it lasted for 2 hours. Nevertheless, dialysis was stopped on the fourth hour, since his chest pain got worse and his blood pressure was dropping. We realized that he came back just to bid goodbye. He was lent to us for a few more hours to say goodbye. Exactly 12 hours and 15 minutes after that Monday morning when we all gathered in the private room, we all gathered in the dialysis room to kiss him goodbye and say thank you. Maybe he stayed long enough when we say "Laban pa dad".. Maybe he stayed to receive the final sacrament, which he did, or maybe he waited for the voice of Kuya Jojo (whish he heard) as I know he missed him too. Maybe he came back for a few hours and God allowed him to reassure us of his love . He passed away on his third arrest and this time , after several minutes of revival and he finally surrendered himself to our creator, we set him free.
It was painful to see him like that. Yet we were all at peace. Our tears were more of gratitude and love than that of pain. We know he is in the best hands now, can feel no more pain, can laugh more, can even walk J, can travel at the farm, can play with animals without fear of amputation of any other part of his body , can freely do whatever pleases him- whatever pleases him and not us this time. If you were there inside the dialysis room, you would feel the love. As we enveloped him with a prayer and assured him that things are going to be ok. This time I'm sure he feels comfort.
The way that we handle weddings was given back to us as my dad in law had the most organized and elegant burial. It's more than what we could ask for, It's something that he truly deserves.
That longest day led the family to become more of what dad wanted us to be, intact, solid, prayerful and thankful to God more than anything else.
To those who sympathized with us in our time of bereavement, we can never thank you enough.
Please continue praying for a great man – who in our hearts will live forever.
Thank you dad. We let you go now not because we love you less. We let you go now because we know that someone else can ease all the pain that you had when you were here. Someone who never failed us and kept us together. Nonetheless, we want to let you know that we will never forget your Love -Your great love for us. Thank you for holding on no matter how painful and hard it was. Thank you for letting us believe. And yes, we will always believe you- that things will be ok. We love you always.