It would have been a different new year for the family as the not so prodigal daughter in the family has finally decided to go home with her partner who is known among us to be an alcoholic, gambler and jobless along with their little angel who has grown into a very restless little rascal.
It’s been years, and no matter how we justify and explain their situation, their economic situation is making it hard for us to defend them to the old man who understandably has every ill-feeling towards them.
Yet family is what matters most and so with the apprehension of every sibling, the day came and delivered the three of them on our doorstep just in time the Philippine Coastguard suspended sea travel which actually left me stranded along with several thousands of passengers eager to spend the holidays with their families.
Typhoon Usman almost ruined the homecoming that every family member anticipated.
The drama of the homecoming and meet-up was unfortunately cut-short or I must say disallowed by the Almighty or perhaps fate as something unexpected twisted the turn of events.
Our sick old man suffered an early stage heart attack and has to be rushed to the hospital before the whole family could even share a breakfast together or hear another never-ending sermon of a father to his not so prodigal daughter.
We were told that he was about to go shopping for the new year celebration when he started experiencing shortness in breathing and stinging chest pains. It’s his second attack so he must have the gut feeling that the pain is no longer normal. At the hospital, the doctor said he was just right on time otherwise it would have been fatal.
After pushing my luck on a very long line of stranded passengers and vehicles, I made it straight to his hospital room almost midnight of December 30th. The old man is wide awake. My sister is sitting on the bench across his bed. He then started his only new year’s wish, that I will find a way for him to be released from confinement early or event late following day. I can sense how composed he was and determined to make it home.
My head is still dizzy from the two-hour sea travel and I can still hear the sounds of the huge waves banging the hull of the vessel. I was just listening to his litany though the cardiac monitor and it’s sound has convinced me that we will have to spend the new year at the hospital. Finally, I was able to compose myself. I went out of the room and attempted a conversation with the nurses on duty. After a few yes and no questions, I went back to his room and told him that I will be staying overnight at the nearest inn. I can’t simply tell him that he can’t go home at a very unholy hour.
The following morning I met with his doctors. Of course I did not expect them to tell me that we can go home and enjoy the festive new year’s mood. Breaking the result of the conversation to him somehow is as difficult as telling him that his not so prodigal daughter is home with her family and make amends with the not so happy past.
I did. I cannot elaborate the explanation because I can see the frustration in his eyes. Maybe he knew already that he cannot come home and play tong hits with us or light some firecrackers and have fun with the loud noise created. He told me and my other sister to go and spend the new year at home. I protested but his will mattered.
After leaving his room, I rushed to our place. It was late already but I told all my four other siblings to change and hurry. I wanted him to see all of us before the end of 2018. To my mind, a two-hour drive is all worth it and is a good opportunity for reconciliation in the case of our not to prodigal sister. It’s his wish anyway that all of us will spend the year-end together.
Looking at his reaction upon seeing his children enter the room proves that there are ended sights that can melt one’s heart. One can hear laughter in his smile. It’s like a day inside our tiny abode.
Perhaps, the hardest to describe is the calm in his usually thunderous voice when he spoke to his not so prodigal daughter and asked her about his grandson and pointed to her pregnant stomach asking if it’s a boy or a girl and if her partner still frequents cockpits. Indeed, sorry and forgiveness do not necessarily come in spoken languages.
The whole family may have spent the year-end inside a tiny hospital room accessorised with a cardiac monitor and an oxygen tank but it’s by far the most intimate new year celebration I ever had. I don’t want to wish that we do it again next year but it only proved one thing, differences among family members may happen and eventually hurt some but certainly a family will always be one. Happy 2019 everyone!