Sometimes there are moments when I miss my Dad so much it hurts. When I watch Q, and see him the amazing person that he is, and glimpses of the man he will become, my heart breaks a little all over again at the thought that my dad isn’t here to see that.
We went to the movies with my mom last night, after a full day of Q-styled activities. He participated in an Easter egg hunt at a local community hall, then had a playdate with a friend, topped off with seeing Home again with my mom. I figured that he would be exhausted when we got home, but out of nowhere, he asked if he could play Gus on the Go on his iPad. Gus on the go is a kids language learning app, and he has a version that teaches him Tagalog. He hadn’t played it in ages, but all of a sudden, here he was, all fired up to play. As I puttered around in the kitchen, I could hear him happily repeating each word. He had improved so much since the last time I had heard him doing it, and I was so excited at his progress. I picked up my phone to take a sneaky video, thinking to myself “Oh Dad would love to hear how good he’s gotten!”
And then I remembered. In that moment, I felt like someone had whacked me with a sledge hammer in the gut. Dad isn’t here anymore to hear Q learning Tagalog. He isn’t here to correct him and teach him words that the app doesn’t, now that he is getting more proficient at it. He’s not here to provide that connection to his culture. I don’t know if Q was thinking of his Lolo, or if was something that was in his heart but he didn’t realize, but it was really special. He told me at bedtime that his destiny was to “become the next M (his dad) and then the next Lolo”. Those seem like good things to be to me.
I had a moment a couple weeks ago when I was driving Q to his first gymnastics competition too. My dad was always so proud of Q and his athletic abilities, and was really proud when he was accepted into the competitive program at our gym. Now here he was, 7 months later, competing. I know that he would have been absolutely beaming watching him, and it was really hard for me to think that he would never get to see Q compete. I know he was watching and smiling down on him, though.
These moments, they sneak up on you when you least expect it. They flood you with memories, or they make you forget, only to remember again with a thud. I took that video of Q anyways, as much for myself as to share with other people who might love to see it too . Maybe I will look for a new app and we can learn together. I want so badly to keep him connected to who my dad was. He is so young and I really don’t want him to forget but I don’t know how to do it. He struggled a lot after dad died, even though he wasn’t really able to express it. He’s just starting to get back to “normal” and I don’t want to stir up a lot of sadness for him. I think that right now, the best thing is to talk about Lolo once in a while and remember the happy times. We don’t talk about the end, because that is what my dad wanted. He told me that his wish was that Q remember the times they played and all the things they did together, and not the end when he was sick and not how he used to be. I will honour that wish.
I think that as time passes, Q will find his own way with his memories. For now, though, I will encourage him to do the things that make him happy, and that, in turn, will do the same for me. I know Dad is watching, and that he is with us even if we can’t see him. I see glimpses of him in my boy, a phrase, an expression, his love for the Vancouver Canucks. He’s here, and with us all. I know it.