I decided to unleash the feelings which I held on for years, kept deep within me.
These are excerpts from my unsent letters for my father, since I decided to just write whatever it is that I wanted to tell him. I just reformatted it in such a way that it will all be in one letter.
I started writing this way back 2010. It used to be a hidden unfinished blog entry, and the moment someone else other than me sees it, perhaps it’s already finished.
Let me start to recall from my most significant memories with you, as there were only few.
I met you personally when I was 9 years old. In the flesh. Real. I don’t know what to say or feel about it, but one thing that’s confirmed was that I do have a living father and he is just out there all these years.
You gave me a weird looking dog stuffed toy. I never liked dogs. In fact, I am scared of dogs. But of course you will never have an idea about that so perhaps you gave me a dog stuffed toy by default and I loved the toy even if it looks weird.
We went to Festival Supermall in Filinvest Alabang. I was amazed that the mall is so huge! It also had a train ride and some other more rides for the smaller kids. We drank coffee at starbucks and that was the first time I experienced a starbucks coffee. I became a coffeeholic eversince.
We went to Residence Inn for dinner. I remember that what i had was sizzling hotdogs and coke. During dinner you told me that I have an older half-brother. His name is Gino and he is with his mom in the US. You showed me his photo and then I moved on with my food. I remember that the ketchup tasted awful. The feeling of having a big brother excites me, and keeps me hopeful that one day, you will introduce me to him.
I never heard from you again until year 2000. I was at my sophomore year in highschool and you came along with mom to get my report card. The feeling of seeing your parents getting your report card is so wonderful.
You also gave me your old mobile phone, a blue Phillips Savvy. It was also my first ever mobile phone. I took care of it. It can still actually work until now. That day, you also bought be a black Jansport backpack and I couldn’t be happier.
After that day, you gave me a four leaf clover angklet a day after my birthday then you disappeared again and showed up after a year. That was 2002. You gave me a chocolate milk and an umbrella which are freebies from Abbott since that’s where you were working back then. That was also the day when you told me that Gino was studying here in the Philippines but you never mentioned any plans of setting up a meeting between us. I remember singing parts of “Only Hope” by Mandy Moore as per your request and it was raining until you drove me home.
I never heard from you for ages, after that. Then I decided to communicate and meet up with you during one of my OJT workdays at Greenbelt in 2006. We ate at Cafe Mediterranean for lunch. I remember you telling me that I won’t look like you anymore because I had my teeth fixed with braces. Then you paid for the bill and told me it’s reimbursable. You always do that.
Once again, you disappeared for the longest time. I tried looking for you, I even went to Abbott with my friends, just to find out that you are no longer working there.
I never knew anyone from your family. I had no idea if my grandparents from your side was still alive, I don’t know where you live, how many aunts do I have from your side of the family, I don’t know where you work, and the only “Sarrate” that I knew that time was myself, and you.
I had projects that would require me to build a family tree and I had to request for a special project because I will not be able to create my tree because I won’t be able to fill in the branches that had to be names and photos of my father’s clan.
Then there was friendster. At last I found you. I also found Gino, but it took him a long time to accept my friend request. That was the only social media that time. I was seeing my youngest sister’s profile. She was 9 years old then. I decided to reach out to her and start a connection. I didn’t tell her that we are sisters though. Because it should be your responsibility. However, I told you about it and you started to get mad at me. You said that she will not understand it by now because she’s only 9 years old. But I was also 9 years old when you told me about Gino. What makes it different? The importance of the person? I don’t know. Until today, still, I don’t understand.
I felt so upset that I wanted to change my last name. I wanted to file a petition and do it legally. But I don’t have enough money and lawyers told me that it’s too late for changing my last name because all documents will be affected if I do. So I had to deal with the family name from a family that I never met, from the father that I never had.
*Updated, April 2011
Years went by and I accepted the reality of using a family name that I never felt. I decided to forgive and move on, and tried to communicate with you and initiate a connection, because you never tried to do that first, and it only hurts me to expect that you would remember a daughter which you cannot show to the world in the first place.
You knew that my birthday was February, but you can’t remember the date. So you posted to my friendster wall as early as February 1st. After some time, you finally knew when exactly is the date. That was at least an improvement, I told myself.
Year 2009, during my birthday dinner, you joined us and even bought a cake for me. You didn’t even know how to spell my name correctly, but still, I appreciate the time and effort you spent for just a little while. The following year, you also bought a cake and used my short nickname as topper. So perhaps that will be safer. Because that was my facebook name. Still, I am thankful for a father that I will only experience once a year.
I came to an episode that I needed to ask help from you. And I will never forget that you and your wife helped me. I am grateful and thankful for that. At least I have experienced being helped by my father for at least once. It’s something I’ll be grateful for the rest of my life.
*Updated, December 2016
You are present on my 29th birthday and gave me a Kate Spade bag. It’s when I introduced to you my then boyfriend, and now fiancé. Your youngest sister was already 14 years old, according to you, and I was surprised that she still didn’t know about her older half-sister. That time, I felt hopeless already and got tired. I don’t think you still have plans about it and I started not to care.
I was so happy to personally meet Gino. He was responsible enough to find me and make time to see me. Thanks for letting him do that. At least I got to know one more person from your clan. Someone who cared. They were here for a vacation and you made Gino and your youngest child’s photo your profile photo, In fact, that is what you are using until now. I felt so ignored upon seeing that. Will there be a time you will give a damn about my feelings? Will there be a time that you will remember that you have three children? It shows that you only wanted two. I decided to unfriend. I am sure you didn’t notice.
You never said you love me. Never. Sadly, I never felt it from you as well.
*Updated, February 2017
You won’t remember me. Not until I will send you a message. Not until my next birthday. You will call me on facebook chat after ages just to tell me that you just misdialled it. Sometimes I wonder, do you even talk about me? Do you tell people that you have one more child?
I tried to connect with you again during my 30th birthday, also to follow my fiancé’s advice. He wanted me to try to reconcile the loose ends. But still, nothing has ever changed about things. I was still that unknown family member.
*Updated, May 2017
Now, as I reach the point of finally letting go of this family name, I want to thank you for my life. You are still my father and without you, I will not be the person I am today. If not with you, I will not grow up as a strong and independent woman that you see today. I already accepted that I will never be recognized by your family, but my mother and my mother’s family has given me the love that is more than enough for me to be happy.
Again, thanks for the life. And for the last name.
2 thoughts on “An Open Letter For the Father that I never had”
This post really made me cry
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Thank you for reading, Mark! Sorry for pinching your soft side. Hehe. I posted this also for fathers no to miss an opportunity of being there for their kids as long as they can. 🙂
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