Thinking about my dad – Lessons and values ​​I learned from him

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Thinking about dad

With Father’s Day happening recently, of course it made me miss and think about him more than usual. He passed away almost 18 years ago, but it seems like only yesterday. He’s just 68 years old. It was certainly way ahead of his time. His death was sudden and sudden. He died of cardiac arrest. It was one of the worst days of my life. I was his only daughter and grew up an only child. I have always been Dad’s daughter and losing him was devastating. Times like these – Father’s Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries and Holidays make me miss my dad even more. In this blog post, I will reminisce about the lessons and values ​​I learned from him.

I find myself thinking about my dad especially when I’m facing tough decisions or when I feel like I need some words of wisdom. My father was the patriarch of our family, where my aunts, uncles, cousins ​​and everyone would come to ask for advice or guidance. When the family came to visit, they would greet him by taking his hand and bringing it to their forehead as a sign of their respect, and in return a greeting from my father. This traditional Filipino gesture always reminds me of the movie Godfather with Marlon Brando, where the man (Bonasera) kisses the Godfather’s ring.

Dad and I at 6 months old

Several years ago, I had to make the really difficult decision to transfer my mother to a Memory Care Support Facility. She was 83 years old and was diagnosed with dementia and early Alzheimer’s disease. Her memory is getting worse and it’s getting harder and harder for my family to take care of her on their own. I do not know what to do. I was torn. In my culture, sending your parents to live in a nursing home is unprecedented. It is expected that the children will take care of their parents until they are gone. This is the mentality I grew up with. I find myself constantly looking up at the sky and talking to my dad, asking him, “please help me, tell me what I have to do” and telling him I wish he was still alive.

It’s hard not having him around. I mean, life goes on, I know, but of course in my mind I think life would be so much better if he was still alive. I tend to think about him more in certain situations or when I listen to a particular song. Anyone who knew my dad knew he loved to dance. Even certain smells, like his perfume or his pomade, trigger indelible memories. He wears a special brand called Brüte. I don’t even think they make it anymore, but every now and then I’ll smell it somewhere and I think to myself, that’s a sign that my dad’s trying to tell me he’s there. I. I know… crazy, right?

Dad in Tux

I learned a lot from my dad. He taught me the importance of family, faith and upbringing. He taught me the importance of hard work. However, at the same time do not take life and fun too seriously. He taught me that no matter where you go, you should always look your best (because you never know who you will meet).

Every night before my father went to bed, he would comb his hair. I would ask him, why does he brush his hair if he’s going to mess it up in his sleep, and he always tells me he’s ready for the date of his dreams ☺️.

I grew up in the 70s/80s. Once upon a time it was much simpler. We always do everything as a family. Just me, my mom and my dad. It seems like every weekend we do something fun. One of my fondest memories of growing up is when we went camping. I would wait for my mom and dad to get home from work on Friday night, then as soon as they got home we would get on the station wagon and drive to the campsite. The three of us would sleep in the back of the wagon, and in the morning I would be awakened by the smell of bacon cooking outdoors. THE BEST. SMELL. WHEN!!! We eventually upgraded to campers and were going camping with a large group of my mom and dad’s best friends. Good time! Soooo much fun!!!

I miss you dad

Growing up, we didn’t have much, but we did have each other. Family is very important. One of my fondest memories of growing up are family gatherings, especially during the holidays and birthdays. Our family party was huge! I’m talking about food for days! My dad and uncles would play poker or mahjong, drink wine and have a good time while my mom and aunts would cook, reminisce, sing, laugh and tell stories. My cousin and I would run around the house or go out and play hide and seek. For us, family is more than just blood relatives. My parents had really great friends that I grew up calling aunts and uncles, and their children, my cousins. It doesn’t matter if you’re related or not, if you’re considered family, my dad will do anything for you, even if it means he’ll give you an ao dai or his last coin.

Although my father was not an extremely religious person or a preacher, he made us all go to church every Sunday. Even if he stayed up all night playing poker and drinking with my uncles, he would still find a way to go to the gym. When I was in high school and started hanging out with my friends and coming home late, no matter how tired I was, my dad would make me get up and go to church. I remember him telling me I could go to bed after church, but we still needed to go to Mass. I would think what the problem would be if I zoned out and didn’t pay attention to what the priest was saying. Then I realized that going to church every Sunday is not so much about being able to hear or hear the gospel or the priest, it’s a faith, a ritual and it’s a family tradition.

Happy time with dad

Another important value I learned from my dad is the importance of an education. Growing up, I always knew I was going to college. It is not an option. That is an expectation. However, I was naive about my choices about what I thought I could be when I grow up. Ever since I was a little girl, my father told me that I could become a nurse, doctor or nun. Remember how I mentioned my dad as the patriarch of the family? Pretty much what he said, went. I never questioned him. My father is very old-fashioned. Asking him questions would be seen as backstabbing and disrespectful. Long story short, I became a nurse. I don’t want to be a doctor because it takes years to get my degree and I don’t want to be a nun because I like boys too much. Laugh out loud! Thank goodness I love being a nurse!

I had a boyfriend in my senior year of high school and we were together all through college. My dad doesn’t accept him at all and tries everything to get me away from him. After years of failure, my dad finally told me, if this is the guy I’m going to spend the rest of my life with, all he’s asking is for me to finish nursing school and get a job. good. That way, he knew I could at least take care of myself. My dad said I could have luxury cars or a big house, but all of that could be taken away. However, an education is here (pointing to his head) and no one can take your knowledge away from you.

Dad in Suit
This post is dedicated to my dad (March 17, 1932 – August 20, 2000)

Since his death, it’s really given me a new life and as a result, I’ve learned to try not to take things for granted. One of my favorite sayings right now is

Life is too short, live it to the fullest.

Although my dad’s life was short, he always knew how to have fun and make the best of everything. I like to think that my optimism and positive outlook on life comes from him.

We don’t have much money, but we are very comfortable. My parents worked hard for us to have what we needed. My mom actually worked 2 or 3 jobs sometimes especially while I was in college to help pay for my tuition and books. However, even in times when people thought it was difficult, my dad tried not to let it affect us. I say we don’t have much financially, but I feel that we are rich with many blessings.

What are some of the life lessons and values ​​you learned growing up? Please share and comment below. I would love to hear them 💕.


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