laundry therapy, musings

when my dad passed away

my father passed away august 23 last year from complications due to prostate cancer and we recently marked his first death anniversary. he was diagnosed stage 4 around 2008 or 2007. there have been photos posted online (mostly in facebook, which im reposting here) but some i didnt or wouldnt have posted until now. some intimate moments with the family. all were taken with a phone camera.

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above was my dad’s cocktail of meds. before the end of my birthday vacation in 2012, i saw my dad come in and out of the hospital once. he would eventually check in again around the time of the sisters’ birthday around the end of july.

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this was in july. he was still up and about and in this photo below, the kids have invaded the hospital bed while my dad sat and watched the national geographic channel.

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my dad was confined again at the end of july and then in august. this time, my sister tearfully called me up while i was in the middle of meetings for a shoot project. they have already cut into my dad’s bladder to insert a tube to drain it but the fluids havent cleared up and proceeded to grow darker in color. that very night i packed up my bag to leave for CDO and took the 1st flight out the next morning.

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my dad was in high spirits when i arrived from the airport, not expecting me to be back in mindanao so soon. i stayed with him in the hospital for maybe 2 days before he checked out and rested for his last weekend at home. i took a photo of him basking in the morning sun in our living room and coaxed him to eat a bit more oatmeal for breakfast. after this, he never got out of bed.

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at the end of the weekend, he would have gone through crazy chills every 6 hours. his temperature would shoot up and he’d be freezing like crazy so i had to cover him with blankets and heaters until his temperature normalized only then would he be able to sleep. the doctor explained they were caused by his body’s infections and also his cancer pains. by monday we brought him back to the hospital and went straight to the ICU. this was monday.

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early visitors were my dad’s sisters, who also helped bring him in. that’s my mom in blue.

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my nephew lucas stands watch looking at the machines monitoring my dad’s vital signs.

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the youngest of dad’s siblings adjusts his oxygen mask.

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a cousin nurse comes over to visit. also in the photo is my godmother and aunt.

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although i am the youngest of 3 kids, i am also the only male child, hence i get paternal duties since my dad is currently incapable of such. one of the hardest things i had to do was sign the DNR (do not resuscitate) form. my dad has already gone through a lot and his trusted doctor already warned us that things are looking bleak and my dad this time would really not make it. my mom, sisters and i have already decided that if my dad passed on, then that would be it. but still i had to do the signing.

2012-08-22 16.02.02

after signing the DNR, i called up my dad’s sister in manila at 1AM, informing her of dad’s condition and the DNR.  she decides to also pack up and fly to CDO on the next available flight.  she arrived on the morning of my dad’s last day on earth. here she shares a light moment with my mom and an uncle.

2012-08-23 14.19.13

the day before this, his heart rate was pretty fast. in the morning it normalized. i feared that his heart rate was already slowing down. our church’s pastor was still able to visit and pray over him in the afternoon. when they left, my dad’s heart slowly stopped.

in the DNR, there were instructions for nurses to do CPR first. if the patient wont be revived, then he would be declared dead. i was in the pharmacy buying meds when this was happening. they called me up and we started to contact nearby family members to rush to the hospital. my sisters and close relatives already made it to the ICU room by then and we waited until my dad’s vital signs finally flatlined.

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we said our final goodbyes. in moments like this, families take comfort with last moments with the deceased. above, my niece holds on to my father until he turned cold. each of us in the room took time to acknowledge his passing and help comfort each other.

arrangements had to be made with the funeral home and the cemetery. my cousins and some friends accompanied us to the morgue where my dad was cleaned and dressed. we first picked out a nice coffin and the chapel before signing the deal. while i tended to my dad’s embalming, my cousins look on from the other room.

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i prodded to give my dad a haircut when he was still alive. this time i finally got to do it.

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my dad’s passing was free of any cinematic melodrama. no wailing or bawling. it was very quiet, and everyone was at peace. the events that followed were relaxed, and i suppose that would be how my father would have preferred. he hated loud noises when he was asleep.

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smile, chi.

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a short rosary prayer before people headed for home.

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my mom also went through a long ordeal, taking care of my dad throughout his sickness and seeing him in pain and all.  tears may have been shed but my mom need not cry a river.  she’s been strong for dad and for us and now my mom finally got to let go as well. here she sits with my cousins an hour after my dad’s body was wheeled into the chapel.

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here’s a photo taken by cuzin ej of me resting on the last night before my father’s burial.

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the temporary grave marker at the cemetery with the mispelled family name. but that’s how my grandmother would sometimes joke about pronouncing our name. padiro. my dad had a sense of humor.

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one of my favorite photos with my dad taken years back. in the same cemetery. now we visit his remains there. but the Lord has been kind and my dad’s passing just made the universe a lot bigger. nothing like the death of a loved one to make us realize everything is on borrowed time. everything is fleeting and temporary. and we should always make the most of it. cheers and Godbless you all.

2012-08-24 03.10.28

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3 thoughts on “when my dad passed away

  1. thanks for sharing this,Ben.( naghuot man akong dughan)yet we all find comfort in this, knowing you have honored your father (Papayong n God our Father) with your courage and loving service. Remembering that last year as I read txt msgs n listened to mamati’s updates all I could do was pray and grieve in His comforting presence. The pictures bring memories that assures us all:DEATH HAS BEEN DEFEATED!
    as the Psalmist taunts: “O, death where is your sting?” Jesus did it all for us and we live with Him in the LIfe He gives us. Take care and God bless the “Padiro” family.

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