I wrote this blog March 1, 2009.
Last February 27, was my father’s birthday. He was born in 1952 and died April 7,1995 I was 15 years old when he died. We usually go to the cemetery not to pray for him but a time for me and my brother to talk and catch up on our lives. It’s been 13 years and as time goes by I realized that little by little we are losing our memories of him. So today I decided to go back to memory lane, on the things that I remember about my dad. I don’t know if I can still trust my memory, partly because of age, but also because of selective amnesia to numb the sadness of loosing him.
My dad’s name is Sulpicio B. Dela Paz Jr. But a lot of people family, and friends knew him as Tony. He was a mining engineer in Palawan where he met my mom.He was from Basilan and my mom was from Isabela. That’s where my brother Siegfrid and I came from.
Papa holding me when I was a baby
He was fond of orchids, butterflies, birds and can spend the whole day with them. He liked to wake up early and in fact be an hour early for work. He seldom took sick leaves because he was always healthy or doesn’t really want to be absent from work. On his 15 years of service in their company, people said that he hasn’t received any complain about his work ethics. He also lead the First aid and Safety department in their mining company because he was always calm and sound when there’s an emergency. Now that I know about personality types I guess he is a C (Conscientious-Cautious, Compliant, Correct, Calculating, Concerned, Careful, Contemplative) and an I (Influential -Inducement, Inspiring, Impressive, Interacting, Interesting) at the same time. Pretty odd huh these personalities seldom go together. ‘C’ because he likes to read manuals of appliances, solves puzzles and brain teasers. In my parent’s bedroom was two beds. One single and one queen size bed. The single bed was for him to use when he wants to rest after work but because he came from the mining site, he will be dirty, tired and can’t take a shower right away. After resting, then he would take a shower and then transfer to the bigger bed with my mom. He’s into following instructions. Instead of giving me toys or let me watch TV, our games for leisure was that he will give a instructions written on paper and test me how well I follow them. I guess he saw how clumsy and compulsive I am growing up. When I was in grade school he encouraged me to read books and newspaper because he said it will broaden my knowledge about the world and other people. At grade 3 I was already reading novels like ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, ‘Catcher and the Rye’, ‘Star Wars’, Michael Crichton and Robert Ludlum’s books. I can’t understand a lot of them but it trained me to read and look for words that I don’t understand in the dictionary.
He always made sure that we always believed in our selves and be the best that we can be. From grade school to high school I struggled with numbers—math, physics, geometry it’s all Greek to me. But I never felt that it’s a weakness, because whenever I will get a grade of 75 (75-100 is the passing grade) he will take me and my brother out for dinner to celebrate because he said I really did a great job. Whenever I get frustrated solving math problems and complain why am I not smart enough like my classmates. He will always tell me that it’s ok not to be the best but will tell me just to give my best in everything. He also taught us not to be afraid to fail. That’s why maybe I am like this always full of confidence to reach for my dreams even if I ‘ll fail. hehehe.
He was also a people person. He loves to invite his subordinates at our house during their birthdays and tell a lot of funny stories that made people laugh so hard. But the C in him will always be there because when the clock stikes at 8pm (his sleeping time), he doesn’t care who’s with him even if he’s the president of the company he will go home and sleep.
One thing that I didn’t like him doing is whenever we will be in a restaurant in Manila, he would always refer to the waiters as ‘Dong’ or ‘Day’ short for Dodong and Inday because he is from Mindanao. I felt embarrassed to let people know that my dad is from Mindanao. On our way to Manila from Palawan, I will always remind and beg him to please say Miss, Sir, Ate or Kuya to the people he will talk to in Manila.
My Brother and I
My brother and I look forward to Sundays. He would wake up very early to go to the pier to get the best fish and seafood, making sure that we will eat the best catch for lunch. He also believed that Sundays should be a no work day for everybody in the house. He doesn’t like my mom and our helper to clean or do the laundry during Sundays. Though he is not that religious he just wants us to wake up late, watch TV, feel lazy and eat. For him Sundays should be a rest day. My brother and I liked the idea because it means that our mom can’t require us to clean our room.
I also admire how he loved my mom’s relatives. When my mom’s sister and her husband went to Saudi he agreed to take care of my cousins. Because of that my cousin looked to him as their second father. He also loved my grandmother so much that he encouraged my grandma’s perks on shopping and traveling. He lets her travel from Palawan to Manila twice a month by airplane.
Throwback of Mama and Papa
Though my mom’s personality is a D (dominant) I was able to see how he can get my mother submit to his authority. In fact we never saw them fight in front of us.
There are a lot of things that I want to write about him but as time goes by, little by little my memories are fading. I just wish I have enough memory to store everything and still remember it until I have my own children. So I can tell them how blessed I am to have a loving father. Now I know why it was easy for me relating to God as a Father during my early years as a Christian because of my papa. He gave his best to be a good father to us. I am also recognizing God’s sovereignty on my dad’s death. Two years before he died, God gave me the opportunity to spend time with him alone in Palawan because my mom and brother were in Manila. Through his death instead of going to the school that I was planning to go to for college I went to UP Baguio and there I met Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
My heart, also, really goes out to my mom who became a single parent after his death (there will be another blog dedicated for her ). She had a large space to fill in when we lost him. But God has been faithful to us. For thirteen years God made sure that we were taken care of.
I just wish that my dad is still here to witness how I and my brother have become. I wish that he was there on my wedding to see how blessed I am to found a man whom I will be spending the rest of my life with.I wish that he had a chance to meet Carlo, there are a lot of things that they have in common.
I became a Christian one year after his death. I don’t know if he has met Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior in his lifetime. That’s why whenever people would talk about rewards in heaven to me it doesn’t excite me that much. For me, aside from the treasures in heaven and being with my heavenly Father forever, one of the best rewards that I am looking forward to is to see my dad reunited with us.