When we rode a plane that never took off.
That my family of four was coming out to the U.S. to see him, was apparently the last thing my father would hear from me.
I had no idea my dad was going to die that day. Yes, he was already critically ill, hence the trip. But he was also improving. There was hope that he could sill last another year and that was what my heart was banking on. After all, his latest apo was only two months old and as I had in the past, I brought to him in one form or another, every milestone of my life. Sadly, this one didn’t make it.
And as though a father’s death would not be hard enough, life decided to throw at me a flair of extra drama.
I explain in the vlog that I immediately purchased tickets after I learned he was critically ill, but also only after securing my newborn son’s documents, and those who could assist me on the long haul flight.
It has to be explained (especially since I now better understand that people on the internet can sometimes not put two and two together) that I was just getting out of my postpartum funk when I learned that my father could possibly die. In fact, I even relapsed — fevers, night sweats, and all that when I heard that he codeblued. Surely it was so frustrating to find myself back at square one of my postpartum healing after having learned the news, but what can I do? When my body could not help but manifest the stress I was internally experiencing?
I had to wait it out a lot before everything felt good to go. America is halfway around the world so I needed to at least be sure I could, I mean, WE were sure to physically endure it. This was immediately after birth — me sweating and leaking like crazy, and the fresh new baby, still getting used to this entirely new world around him.
I booked those flights with one eye closed. The amount was too painful to see with both wide open. It hurt our budget a lot but I didn’t want to regret not seeing my father before he dies. But then he dies. Before I even got to ride the plane he died. Seven days before the scheduled flight to be exact, he died. And for a few days after that I felt lost. I didn’t know what to do. Should I stay or should I go?
We wanted to stay. Only because I really wasn’t feeling physically superb yet. My body still ached and I was not 100% confident to take such a young boy on such a long and taxing flight just about yet. However, costs for rebooking or refund were too high that we might as well use the tickets. (I also entertained the option of leaving him but even his pedia advised against it. It was too soon to be away from the babe, even for a few days, especially since we are just beginning to establish our nursing dynamics.)
But the plot thickens when our plane encounters engine trouble and we were delayed, deplaned, and asked to board the same aircraft again after several hours. After all the hassle, yet another hassle! But then things began to make more sense when we heard that we had the option to choose another flight on another day for the same destination or, if we really wanted to, we could also do refund.
Catching another flight meant we will miss my dad’s U.S. memorial service. So really, it made the trip out to California less and less purposeful. And so our eyes widened when they said full refund was also possible as there could have been no other way we could get our money back in full except for that small chance that the airline gives us some kind of trouble. Feeling frail at twp months postpartum and defeated that the very reason I was coming out to California for is no longer around, I found this to be a very bright spot in a rather long and dreary season of my life.
(Note: I have not received the refund yet, though. A small part of my fears they might never actually give it. Hope I am wrong.)
We went home that day so tired to have spent 12 hours in the airport. And yeah, it was extra challenging with a five-year-old kid and two-month-old baby in tow. Nevertheless we were also grateful, as I have shared in the video. Grace abounds when you are hard-pressed, because challenges give one the eyes to perceive it.
Sadly, thieves of grace and peace also exist. After the entire mishap, I was criticized for missing my dad’s memorial, for not scheduling the flights better, etcetera, etcetera. These comments were made as a response to the Inquirer headline created out of my Instagram post which I felt like misrepresented my real feelings (another topic all on its own; should we even be allowing publications to lazily cull from content we produce on our own? And without even asking for consent or clarifications?). I was stupefied to read comments of people who blamed me, despite the original post being so crystal clear with my intentions. What sad social media culture we carry out there. Ako na nga ang namatayan, ako pa ang may kasalanan.
Which leaves me with this vlog. And let me end this blog the way I also ended in the video.
I heard the speakers from our marriage seminar say that God first pointed out the need so Adam would have the appreciation for the provision when she came. No suitable helper was found of all the kingdoms present in creation, not one good enough to help Adam, God said. Thus, Eve was created and she was the answer.
Similarly, in the midst of my father dying, my postpartum ailments, and this whole sad social media culture, I recognized the tremendous blessing of being safe, having a supportive husband, children who were easier to handle than usual, strangers who were ready to offer their seats and advice, and staff that were trying to keep their calm even when everyone frantically approached them. Post mishap, I even had strangers defending me from heartless onlookers. And all these were God’s good graces, which were so pronounced in the time of great need.
You never know what people are going through around you so can you do me a favor to just be a little kinder as you go about your normal life today, will you? For that tiny bit of stretch in your spirit, goes a long long way for another.
Have a great day!