Daddy is Home

It was a long day.

In reality, it had been a series of long days, and long weeks, of a long month. You see, I have been the ICU attending physician for the past 4 weeks, and the stress of work and taking care of very sick patients was like a dragon breathing down my neck. It was wearing me down.

I came home feeling depleted and defeated.

Even though it was late, my wife and kids were just happy to see me home. My wife has even waited for me to eat dinner, though I knew she was tired and hungry too. It felt good to be home after such an arduous day.

Before we went to bed, we had a family prayer, just like every night. My son led the prayer, and I heard him say, “Thank you God, for bringing Daddy home.”

Suddenly, all the day’s cares melted away. I felt so blessed.

As I rest my head on the pillow, I thought of the other fathers in the world that were not able to come home. The overseas contract workers. The soldiers deployed somewhere away from their home. And the others for some reason or another that cannot come home tonight. Including our patients that were languishing in the ICU. I felt sad for them and their kids who cannot say the prayer of thanks that my son did.

I especially thought of the father I took care earlier today. He will not come home. Ever.

May he rest in peace. And I pray that his family find peace.

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waiting for daddy

(*photo from here)

Goodbyes and Airports

I hate airports. No, it’s not because of the heightened security measures that impinge on our personal privacy. Nor it’s because of the long lines and wait times. Those certainly don’t help. But there is something more than those inconveniences that make me dislike airports.

Of course airport provides portals to different destinations and places. It may be the gateway to our dream that awaits us somewhere in the other part of the world. Or it may provide a getaway to an exotic place for a vacation. Yet airports to me has a different connotation.

Airports to me is a place where loved ones are taken away from their family. It is a place of separation. A place of painful goodbyes.

(image from here)

I can remember when I left for the first time for the US, leaving my family and friends, including my then girlfriend (now my wife) in the Philippines. The feeling was so heart-gripping and gut-wrenching, especially with my virtually unknown day of return. Yes, you may be excited to see the other side of the world, but leaving your known world and people who you love was never easy.

I know I share this feeling with millions of migrants, overseas contract workers (OCW) and their families. The feeling of utter loneliness of an OCW when he sits on the airport, waiting to board his designated plane, while the family that he left behind weeps, is maybe beyond what I can really express.

Two weeks ago, my wife had to go home to the Philippines for her brother’s funeral. And on her way, she took our kids to California to my sister-in-law, where they will stay until she gets back. When I brought them to the air terminal, the wave of unpleasant emotion I have for airports was rekindled. A certain sadness (yes, even though I knew they will be back in a couple of weeks) I thought I will never experience again.

The good thing about airports though, is that they also bring your loved ones back. That is, if they are destined to come back. This afternoon, I picked up my wife and kids from the airport.

I guess, airports can be a happy place too.