I grew up with Catholic values and my mother, an avid church-goer, used to take us kids to church every Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. I attended 3 Catholic schools; St. James College here in the Philippines, St. Joseph’s Primary School in Port Moresby, and the most Catholic-oriented boarding school, Mt. St. Bernard College in Australia. As a kid growing up in Papua New Guinea, Easter wasn’t only about celebrating Jesus rising from the dead; it was about Easter egg hunts and school holidays and looking forward to bumming around the swimming pool instead of going to school. Even at boarding school, we looked forward to the Easter holidays because we get to stay in the city for 2 weeks and just bum around. My mum would fly into Cairns and we would stay in front of the Esplanade and spend our days cooling off at the mall. Other times, we would stay at my friend’s place at Holloway’s Beach and just drink. I want to write more about boarding school, but I’ll leave it for another post.
I am now in my mid 30’s and I just realised how none of what I was used to growing up applied to my life anymore. I didn’t step into any church, I didn’t eat any Easter eggs, and I certainly did not even go near a swimming pool. Instead, I cleaned, did the laundry, baked cookies, watched a few movies on Netflix and even finished 2 TV series.
Before I get backlash from anyone, especially my relatives, about not practising being a Catholic, I would like to make it clear that I have not lost my faith in God. In my own ways (and time), I do pray to God. And that’s that.
And so here’s the whole truth. While I tell everyone (and myself) that I don’t need a significant other to live my life, and how having a significant other would most definitely tie me down, spending Easter as an adult reminds me that I am single, lost and alone.
Of course, it could’ve been any other season or holiday, but as a kid, Easter was always spent with family and friends. But this year, it was spent with a cat at home, that would start meowing loudly by my door at 5am, begging me to feed him.
But I’ve chosen to act out half of the truth in all this. The half that shows people that I am fine being single and that I am better off alone. The half that attempts to show people that I am not vulnerable and that I can stand on my own two feet. But most importantly, the half that allows me to continue visiting my dad on Sundays.
I guess what summed up my Easter holiday wasn’t the fact that I didn’t go to the beach with a bunch of friends, or that I was single and alone. But it was the fact that taking that one hour drive to have dinner with my dad and to laugh with him, was just enough.
This is my father. Efren to all, a friend to most.
For a year, he has been in and out of the hospital, fighting with everything he has, all sorts of sickness that has tested him and was meant to defeat him.
But here he is, with a new set of teeth, awaiting a new kidney, all smiles. For a man who’s life consisted of constant stress and whom I inherited that iconic eyebrow frown from; I am beyond proud of him for never losing hope. He is my definition of a fighter.