I had a feeling that my dear father would leave this world earlier than my mother even before I got that horrible text messages on Oct 12, 2017.
When I left Indonesia in 2014, there was a voice inside my head that basically told me to prepare for the worst. In addition, my mother told me years ago that she would pray for God to take my father first.
“Why?” I asked her.
“Your grandmothers prayed to God to take your grandfathers first. When us children asked them why they said that they didn’t want to die first and leave your grandfathers alone with no one to take care of them.”
“But that’s silly!” I retorted. “Wouldn’t her children–including you–would take care of grandpas should they die first?”
“That’s what we told them, sweetie. However, your grandmothers insisted that us children should worry about our husbands and wives. Not your grandfathers.”
Indeed, my grandfathers died before my grandmothers. They got what they wished for. Apparently, my mother’s prayer was also answered.
I’m living in Shanghai, the People’s Republic of China where they a lot of apps such as Gmail and Facebook are blocked. In October 2017, the government blocked even more apps due to an important meeting that took place in Beijing (at least that’s what I heard).
One of the apps that were blocked by the Chinese government at the time was Whatsapp, which was how I contacted my parents.
Three days before my dad’s passing, I celebrated my 30th birthday. I was very excited about being 30. Hell, I was lucky to be this old considering how suicidal I am on top of being HIV positive.
I did exchange text messages with my father but, looking back, I should’ve called him. Don’t get me wrong, we did talk a lot. In fact, weeks (or was it months?) before his passing, I was actually in Indonesia and spent time with my parents.
I know that some of you would probably judge me because I didn’t talk a lot to my parents but do understand that our relationships were (are!) different.
After I came out to my parents, my mother insisted that I have a disease and there is a cure for me. She basically at one point blamed me for not ‘trying hard enough’ not to be gay. Until now, she still insisted that one day I would ‘return’ to the straight path, marry a woman, have kids, etc.
My father? Well, he actually responded better. He wasn’t angry even though I could tell that he was disappointed. He did tell me that, no matter what, I would always be his son. However, he also said that if I wanted to make him happy, I should stop being gay.
“But what’s the point of making you happy if that will make me unhappy?” I told him.
Anyway, it became clear that I’d never been able to be 100 percent open to my parents. Deep down, I think they knew that I’m living in Shanghai with my husbro but they’re just in denial.
As a result, there is nothing much I can talk about with my parents.
It is what it is.
Still, I’d never trade anything in my life to be my dad’s son (and also my mother’s son … she’s still an awesome mother).
My father was an oncologist who always put his patients first even though that could mean he didn’t make that much money (so for the rest of you who think that all doctors are leeches, you never met my father).
My father was a funny man who was beloved by his family and friends.
Once, when he was still in college in his hometown, he took his junior who was from another island under his wing and made sure he had friends. His junior (now a successful pediatrician) never forget my father’s kindness.
My father, more than once, gave away free surgeries for people who couldn’t afford it.
My father would always ready to share his knowledge with other people. He wrote books.
He was an awesome man.
In the end, I’ll always love my father.