Written by: Gail Clarice Quijano Muñasque
What is the measure of a man? Is it the amount of money he has? The possessions he owns and the power he holds? Is it the professional success he’s achieved over the years?
I don’t believe it is any of these things. The true measure of a man is how much love he gives. How selflessly he shares whatever he can to help others. How consistently he lifts up those around him with a kind word, a funny joke, a compliment, a humble ear or the very shoes off his feet.
By this measure, my Papa was immeasurable.
I didn’t truly experience death in my whole life until this day happened. The saddest day of my life. Our one true hero’s heart stopped beating. But his love for us did not die. There is no way to prepare for this emotionally, as it all happened ultimately so fast. I may not be there to touch, and wipe him off when he shivers and chills, but I was able to look into his warm eyes and see them crinkle as he tried to smile and say ‘Yes, I will Fight’. I never had the chance to say goodbye, for it is a weird word to use. There can be no goodbyes for us. Our connection was beyond strong and his love for us is endless.
Papa ‘Dodong’ loved to dance and loved to make people laugh. He was the most encouraging. He told me anything you dream is achieavable, so long as I work for it. He told me to always work my hardest, to get my career in place without other people/relative’s influence. And put dignity in my achievements. I really never get tired of learning every page of musical sheet as he sings with me while I play the piano. My Papa sings with all his heart. He is a happy man, because he chooses to. All he ever wanted to do was make other people feel comfortable and make sure they were not feeling left out. I know it’s because he knew what it was like to feel left out.
He was the most sincerely humble person I have ever known with no attachment to material things. I am proud and grateful to be your daughter pa. To live in a life full of humility and to always remember to keep our feet on the ground. He even reminded me to be conscious about posting pictures of food on the internet- and to be sensitive about other people who hasn’t even eaten. I am beginning to understand more of life because of you.
Your influence, your energy, your smile and your life is all intertwined in mine. And I now take comfort in that. I take comfort in knowing that my Papa is no longer in pain. That suffering is no longer something he has to endure.
We lost our Papa. Our hero. But only in body, not in spirit. This is by far the most painful and heart-ripping and life-altering experience we’ve endured.
I love you, Pa. Now and forevermore.
As you are about to end reading my words, I hope you will also be inspired to apply in your daily lives, from one of the most moving advice from my father:
‘A Positive mindset, attracts a positive outcome’