I thought that we were sort of back in business last November as I posted about Gino and Raya’s stint at the KiddoPreneur Bazaar. I had thought that I could sustain writing for this blog, watching over Daddy over in the ICU, supporting Dad’s 81 year old wife, Mommy Emma, running the home, supporting and raising two teens and homeschooling two younger children.
It was a no brainer on what had to go. I couldn’t really blog.
Well, after 83 days in the hospital (95% of that in the ICU), Dad bid farewell to Planet Earth and his family on the 4th of January at around 350 AM.
Below was Dad’s working diagnoses :
- COPD, Emphysema, CVD, CAD, HPN, ESRD on 3x a week dialysis, Type 2 DM, BPH, Dementia
- S/P 2006 Femoral Neck Fracture/ Surgery for Implant Insertion
- S/P 2006 Release of Volvulus
- S/P 2012 Stroke, Pons Area
- S/P 2013 Insertion of AV Fistula for Dialsysis Access
- S/P 2014 Subtotal Colectomy for Recurrent Diverticular Bleeding/Use of Colostomy Bag
- S/P 2014 Insertion of Jugular Permacatheter for Dialysis Access
Good luck on trying to decipher all that but I guess you get the picture that Dad had a lot of systems involved for about 10 long years. All of these terms, and the gamut of management necessary were familiar to me, being trained as a medical doctor. But, oh boy, what a fighter Daddy was.
Growing up, Dad was truly a fighter! Mom had her own set of medical challenges that began shortly after I was born and so, how does one MAN support his wife and 9 needy children?
We have heard again and again, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) Daddy modeled believing in that for as long as he lived. “Kaya natin ito.! ( We can do this) !” “Magagawan natin ng paraan! ( We will find a way!) So whether it was finishing a home we were building , or dealing with Mom’s medical challenges, facing numerous Goliaths in business, and giant boulders in campaigns for his children’s run in Student Councils, City Councils, House of Congress or even the Philippine Senate, Daddy believed and tried his best to attain victory. But Daddy wasn’t omnipotent like God, so yes, we did have a lot of our share of losses and pains and sorrows.
Dad’s last few months on Earth pretty much showed that until the very end, he sought to fight. He yearned to stay and be with family ( something he loved to do and was known to be the one who always planned that gatherings of both his immediate and extended families) even if his 82 year old body was no longer physically and mentally able.
There are many positive traits to focus on, and yes there are faults ( many too!) to learn from the way Daddy conducted his life here on Earth. But for this piece, I shall honor him as a homeschooler? What legacy did my dad leave for our clan, our homeschooling family? Let me name some of his traits that are so valuable for any homeschooling family:
Dad was personally concerned with each child. Dad knew each child inside and out. Dad took time to know and yes, bond, with every child. Can you imagine how he did that while running his own business and without any support from any cellphone, gadget or computer? I remember him personally creating my campaign pins and posters for a student council president run in high school. By then, he had already mounted 2 other high school campaigns with my older brothers.
Dad ( and Mom ) always made sure that we knew that it was our duty to be of service . Life was never meant to be about ourselves, our own comfort and pleasure. With Dad being involved in Rotary, Jaycees, and the Catholic Family Movement , and even the many associations, he was involved in depending on what branch of his business he was currently busy with, he was always thinking of what can be done to serve others.
Dad (and Mom) made our home a place where the children would love to “live and grow in (their friends, too)”. Dad built all our homes as a civil engineer/contractor. In one of our homes in 11 Mahusay, I had the fondest of memories growing up. Wow, our home was the “Disco place” where my older sisters’ parties were being held with mirror balls and yes, hot dogs and cheese on toothpicks stuck on cabbages! We had a turntable and great speakers! I remember dancing in between dancing couples to go to the food table ! For the younger kids, we had a huge playroom with all the toys and books sourced by Mom from garage sales! Our cousins, the Roas next-door, had the most amazing play experiences in that huge room.
In our Antipolo farm/home, we had a basketball court and a pool where we could jump from a 2 meter high water fall, use slides and swings, pingpong table, and a punching bag. We also had at one time, 15 toy terrier, cocker spaniel pets! Add to that, we had rabbits, pigeons, chickens, pigs, fish in a pond, and yes for some time, 2 horses! I am not even mentioning that animals we didnt care for: the snakes, frogs, rats, lizards!!
Dad fostered open communication and engaging for all 9 of us. We had our yearly talks to address strengths and weaknesses. Yes, as early as I can remember, I remember being told that I shouldn’t forget to call all my siblings with “ate” or “kuya”. He encouraged all nine of us to support each other by making sure, we were present for most of our siblings’ milestone events like “dramatic plays, Kundirana concert, volleyball games, band gigs (for Music & Magic) in Alibi Bar in Regency Hotel or Tavern on the Square, awarding and graduations.”
Dad challenged us beyond our own perceptions of what we could do. Dad was big on “on the job training. ” He was always trying to get his kids to work part time or do summer jobs in his office in Kalayaan Ave, QC. When I was 10 years old or so, Daddy challenged me to singlehandedly lead and run a “sari-sari store” for his overseas manpower applicants. Everyday for about 2 weeks, Dad and I , with a cooler in tow, passed by a bakery and grocery store, to stock on ice, drinks, bread products ( pandesal, panda coco, ensaymada) and other items like chips, candies, and even, cigarettes! I would then “sell and serve” while Dad ran the company. Being a timid, youngest daughter, I had to level up and truly learned big time.
Though Dad had his own views about a lot of things, at some point , he let us RUN our own lives. Dad and Mom supported us so we could discover our ultimate goal and purpose in life. Dad made sure we knew he was there with us all the way, even if we decide on something that may not be exactly what he thought we needed to do. I remember receiving a faxed handwritten letter from him during my honeymoon in Japan in 1995 ( which was the summer before 3rd year of Medical Proper ) that said, ” If you decide to be a loving housewife to Gilbert and not finish your Medical degree, it’s okay. You can do that.” Awwwww.
Dad believed in learning through travel. Despite financial costs ( and maybe at times, to a fault), he made sure, we had a share of “learning” through travel. Be it Hongkong, Cebu, Baguio, Leyte or Europe, Dad strived to give all of us, a chance to travel! If business, pleasure and learning could be achieved through travel, Dad was all for it.
Creativity and perseverance matter. Dad was indeed a perfect example of the Renaissance Man. “Renaissance man, also called Universal Man, Italian Uomo Universale, an ideal that developed in Renaissance Italy from the notion expressed by one of its most accomplished representatives, Leon Battista Alberti (1404–72), that “a man can do all things if he will.” *** Whether it be his Super Jeep, an alarm clock serving as a burglar alarm, a marble bar set with stools, the Universal Power Supply (which we sold to the UP College of Medicine) amidst the energy crisis under President Cory Aquino , stone furniture and accessories, marble table tops, wicker chairs and table, his sleeveless suits and “puruntong” shorts, Dad was a scientist, creator, artist, entrepreneur all rolled into one! We saw it all in first row seats !
There is so much more to share about Dad as a husband and father, but I shall take a break here. I only focused on what are essential to every homeschooling family. Learn from Daddy Dony and let his memory live on 🙂 Thank you Daddy Dony. Praise God indeed!
Honor your father and your mother, just as the LORD your God commanded you, so that you will live long and things will go well for you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.