November 24, 2012
These past few days have been the hardest and saddest of our lives. We cannot believe you are gone! We never imagined we would lose you this soon! I always dreaded this day, but I didn’t expect it would come this early! I thought, I hoped, you would live up to at least 80 years, when we are older and our kids are grown up. We would have loved to see our kids grow up around their lolo. We already miss you very, very, very, very, very, very, very much.
There are so many things I haven’t told you when you were still with us. I regret bitterly that I haven’t said them then. Let me say them now, in front of our family, relatives, and friends.
I admire you for your character. I admire you for your strength and intelligence. I admire you for working extremely hard to raise and support us. I admire your work ethic. I admire your integrity, honesty, and simplicity. I admire your humility and generosity. I admire your sense of humor. I will try to be cheerful and funny once in a while. You and Mommy have been so selfless. You sacrificed everything to get us to where we are today.
I am so proud of you for having the strength to quit drinking and smoking in the late 90s. You threw your whole self into a life of service. I admire you for serving God through others. I admire you for giving talks, speaking in front of people to share your story. I have observed you many times while you prepared your speeches; you were always passionate about it. I admire you for sharing your inspiring testimony to others.
I admire you for taking good care of Mommy; for loving her truly. I promise to take good care of her, too. I promise to take good care of Janfour, Bel, and your apo, Tommy. He misses you. He misses your play time. He misses your voice and your silly songs. I know this because when he saw you last Monday, just after you breathed your last, he called out to you and smiled; he stretched his arms and legs as he often does when he’s excited. I will provide what is best for them. Your shoes are too big for me to fill because you are a great man. But I will do my best to be like you. I will be strong.
I am so sorry for the pain and trouble I have caused you. I am so sorry for the times I talked back, disrespected, and dishonored you. I am so sorry for often being silent and passive whenever I was around you. I am so sorry for being hard-headed. I am so sorry I rarely told you that I love you. The truth is, I love you very, very, very, very, very much. I didn’t have the guts to tell you that. I am so sorry I didn’t take care of you the way I should have. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you in your moments of weakness. I am so sorry I wasn’t there beside you holding your hand when you were dying…
Thank you for everything! Thank you for my life. Thank you for my name. I never told you that in elementary and high school, I didn’t like my name because my classmates would tease me about it: A Pinoy actor was also named Dante, and I hated it. But now, I realized that my name is one of the best gifts you have ever given me. I will cherish and honor this name always. I will do great things to thank and honor you.
Thank you for our education. Thank you for all the lessons you have imparted to us. Thank you for your guidance. Thank you for the laughter. Thank you for all the wonderful memories.
May you have eternal rest. May you see God soon and may He bring you to His Kingdom. Our only comfort now is the thought that you are not lost from us forever. We will definitely see you again in the future. And we are also consoled that you may already be reunited with Lola Ching, Lolo Pedring, Inday Christine, Tita Marissa, and all our loved ones, family, and friends who have gone ahead of us.
You have no idea how much we will miss you! Until we meet again, De.