Dear Daddy

So, it’s been a year, huh? I didn’t realize how it was possible for that time span to feel long and short at the same time. It still feels like yesterday when we were standing in the ER, watching the nurses try to revive you. Surprisingly, I haven’t cried today.

What has happened in the past 12 months? Hmm, let’s see. After your burial, we came back home. Manu started staying in your bedroom. We never turned off your aircon. I think I finished your Yoplait before it went bad—I eventually picked up this yogurt habit. I still buy yogurt every month.

I made clay jewelry and on the day of the launch, I got my left ear pierced. I did it at the last minute—literally had to run back before the piercer left! I started doing pottery more regularly, too. I now sell a few platitos and jewelry dishes. Gave some platitos for Christmas!

Also started freelancing for Mel’s coworking space, writing the ed’s note for their monthly newsletter and blog posts. We just renewed .

Randomly contacted the tuner to fix the piano. Started playing again. Well, just the two or three pieces I still have memorized. I haven’t played in months. The piano is sitting in the living room.

We went ahead with our US Visa renewal and we got approved. I was so relieved. Manu and I booked our tickets to LA via EVA (I still remember when you flew this airline when you still worked and you gave us the amenity kits, which I saw when I was packing up my things for the move). We went to Gail’s wedding, managed to go to Las Vegas (I went to San Diego, Manu went to Santa Monica), and we had a wonderful time. I even got to meet Sondre Lerche and watch the This Is Us panel at PaleyFest. I flew back home to unpack and pack for Singapore, where I saw John Mayer live for the second time. I got nasty blisters from wearing a pair of mustard slides I haven’t been able to break in.

When I got home, we started packing our home to move into a new one. I still wonder what it would have been like if you were with us. Would you be at the clubhouse every afternoon, looking for a new neighborhood crush? Would you be hanging around the pool? Would you ask to be wheeled to the grocery? I wonder.

I also joined the SPOTJapan team shortly after on your birthday month. I also got to fly to Fukuoka as part of the job. It was only meant to be a 5-month gig, but I’ve been renewed for another year. We’re trying to manifest a trip to Tokyo this year. Remember when you used to go to Japan all the time? Back when you had a big belly and you drank a lot of beer?

Also made a pretty major investment with a few friends and fellow creatives. Still figuring out my relationship with money. Haha! In the same vein, I dipped my feet into retail. I’m far from being a successful entrepreneur (I wish you or Mommy were here, so I could ask you stuff), but here’s to learning, right? Excited for all the possibilities. The fortune cookie I got back in March said, “You are about to begin a prosperous business venture.” I know I kept it in my wallet but I just looked now (I changed wallets), and it’s no longer there. Haha! I still hold on to the thought though.

I developed two recipes for Yummy. You would’ve loved both. I miss when you’d eat all my failed attempts at baking. Everything I made was delicious to you (or you’d pretend they were, anyway). I baked a lot of bread in the past year. I still don’t know how to make pan de sal.

Started reading a lot of non-fiction and memoirs. A lot of them talk about death. There are so many ways grief presents itself. Maybe someday, I’ll put into words all the ways they manifest for me. Maybe I’ll ask friends to write about their experiences, too. One day, I will.

We bought a coffee machine and I still want to learn how to do latte art. I haven’t been very successful so far. I think I may have already given up, really. Some days I think it looks like something, but it’s really just a blob of foamy milk. We now have a grinder, a milk jug, and a thermometer. LOL, who needs baristas?

A few months ago, I designed signet rings and named one after Lola. Do you think she would’ve liked it? I drew Juliet roses and had them engraved on a band. I wear it every day.

I went on a cruise for the very first time. I’m lucky I still get opportunities to travel for work. Also got to sneak in a quick trip to the beach with Laika for my birthday. I hope to go somewhere near the ocean for summer again.

Kuya Mong got me passes to see one of my favorite bands and I finally met all three of them! But it took me almost an hour to book a ride home, and I got feasted on by mosquitoes. I guess you can’t have it all. Hehe.

We spent Christmas at a different hotel. I cried. A lot. But I also laughed. A lot. We had lunch with #TeamAlcaraz last Sunday, and we took a photo by the stairs as instructed by Mira. You weren’t there.

I’m grateful for this life but I miss you. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to not seeing you beside me at the breakfast table. Or if I’ll ever get to the end of a post about you without shedding a tear or two. (P.S. I clearly didn’t make it to the end of this one without tears.) I know I should know the drill by now, but it never really gets easier, does it?

I miss you every day. I kept your Bashful tee and wear it to sleep sometimes. I love you, I miss you, I hope you can see we’re doing the best we can. We’re okay on most days, and isn’t that what matters? I hope we make you proud every day. Love you forever, Dad. Keep watching over me.

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