Dear Dad: A Personal Essay About My Late Father

Dear Pops |

I don’t often speak about my Dad aka Pops like I do my mother but I still have one! It’s been a rough few years for my family since the death of our beloved mother almost three years ago. My dad has fallen into a deep, dark, depression after losing the love of his life and there is no releasing him from its hold. I honestly didn’t think he’d make it this long. I don’t think anyone did.

Some Dad Backstory

I have always had a really tough relationship with my Dad. When I was younger I didn’t understand him. He was very strict with me and I often felt that whatever I did, I could never make him happy. I came into a better understanding of him when I went back to the Philippines in 2011 and 2012 and saw lives that were similar to his. He came from an extremely poor family. He worked hard his whole life to make a better life for himself and in turn my family. Just a few years ago he told me stories of his childhood and how he quit elementary school at age seven because the family did not have enough money to eat. He started selling street food, working on fishing boats, and whatever he could to help out. I could picture my Pops doing all these things because I saw it in person. I can’t imagine my little nephew or niece quitting school to work to help feed the family. That just doesn’t happen here in North America. What an eye-opener it was!

My biggest wish for my Dad is to find some peace in these remaining years. I hope that he will wake up one morning and realize that my mom would not have wanted him to suffer or be in pain from heartbreak. She would have wanted him to embrace this time, try to be happy, and dote on the children and grandchildren that still love him. He was never the doting sort but I hoped that he would find comfort in those of us who are still here and love him.

I’ve been over at his place going through old photos. I often sit on the floor in his apartment laughing and crying over photos and going on a serious throwback journey through my life. He was not fond of being in front of the camera and it was probably my mom who would make him stand in front of the camera. Here are some of my favorites of my dear old dad that I’ve found:

Dad at Canon Beach Oregon

Dad at Cannon Beach in Oregon. Photo credit: a young me!

Dad with Blas Ople

Dad grew up with the late Blas Ople, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines


I organized a surprise party for my dad’s 70th birthday. He was happy but told me never again! Haha

Pops is sad

This was taken shortly after my Mom died. In deep thought…

My dad took me to get Pirates Paks at White Spot when I was a kid. This was me taking him a few years ago

I hope that all the fathers, soon to be fathers, and single mothers who play both roles have a happy day with their children and loved ones. Times goes by so fast and we must all cherish this time that we have with each other.



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