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My Letter to Tatay on His 15th Birthday in Heaven - Eat, Run, Draw and Write
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My Letter to Tatay on His 15th Birthday in Heaven

Dear Tatay,

I sang a happy birthday song for you. Did you hear it? Do you love it? I tried suppressing my tears while I sang but I failed. You know I’m such a cry baby.

Here I am. Instead of buying you a cake with fancy candles, wishing it would reach the number 72 or even 92, I bought you three white candles: one for ‘I love you’, one for ‘I miss you’ and one for ‘I am sorry.’ And instead of placing them on top of a cake, here they are placed and lit inside a church, in the middle of the night, where only your light was found.

I love you, you knew that. I remember those times I would always sit on your lap, I would caress your newly-shaved chin. Often times, you would cry to me, cry all your heart out. All your fears, your disappointments, all your broken dreams; I sit there with you and cried with you. It was a hard life isn’t it? I may be young by then but I understand. I cried with you cause I understand.

I miss you. A lot. No, ‘a lot’ is an understatement. Can I use the word ‘desperately?’, cause it seems like the perfect description of what I am feeling – hopelessness and desolation. No matter how many years have passed, I still cry an ocean of tears. You are always remembered. And you’re always in our hearts.

I am sorry. Mama and I were really sorry we’re not able to give justice to your death. Can I blame it on our lack of money, our lack of power and connections instead of just thinking that it is the will of God? That there is a reason behind your death and a reason why the one who killed you is someone I cross the street with, someone I can hear singing on Christmas day, someone I can look straight in the eye, free, living his life and is not behind bars? Can I blame God? No, because it is not His doing, not a punishment and it is something He doesn’t want to happen either. It is something I cannot control, something I can do nothing about but to accept. But it is too painful. For fourteen years I prayed so hard. God knows how I prayed so hard, that I sometimes were not able to put my despair into words and that only tears can speak for my heart. But the Lord answered my prayers with a ‘No’. One friend told me maybe, I never prayed enough. Maybe. Maybe, there is even a grander way of praying. That maybe, there’s a a better way of praying that prayers would go directly to God, like an expressway for VIPs. Maybe then, if that’s the case, that’s something I do not know how to do. I don’t know now how to pray. So instead of uttering a prayer when I lit your candle, I only sang a Happy Birthday song. As of the moment, that is the only thing I could muster.

Tatay, I am not angry but I am still in pain. I know it would make you sad but I will be fine soon, I just don’t know how soon. Acceptance and forgiveness is very hard to do. I don’t understand still but I am not seeking for answers anymore. I am just drowning in my own pain and sadness as of the moment. Feeling every bit of it, until I can feel no more. Until then, I would understand that forgiveness is not about forgetting but releasing people who’ve hurt us from our own judgement and moving on, not allowing anymore the past hurt to destroy my heart again.

I don’t need to rush. I will take this one day at a time. I will feel this in my every cell. I will declare this in my heart, everyday, everyday, one day after another. I am willing to forgive even though I don’t know how to forgive. And maybe one day, a miracle would come and heal my heart completely (and the hearts of those who lost you, our family) and the heart of the one who’ve hurt you as well.

Tatay, I hope you have a happy life there, wherever you are. An eternity in heaven where candles in your cake would be infinite. A life where there is no sorrow, there is no pain, but only happiness, contentment and love. Just thinking about it makes me envy you. Let’s see each other when my time comes, I know you’ll be waiting. But as of now, let me celebrate your birthday here on earth, until I count up to eighty. 🙂

It’s odd that I would greet you a Happy birthday and rest in peace at the same time. ‘Rest in peace’ is not even a greeting! But that’s how it is, so happy birthday and rest in peace! Until we see each other again.


With so much love,


She’s a traveler, a frustrated accountant. An artist and a writer at heart. Unpredictable and spontaneous. A little weird and a little mysterious. So chase her and run with her. You’ll never get bored and you’ll never regret it.

I would like to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment.


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