tomorrow, we all troop to Papa's house to have a celebration lunch together as a family, and in thanksgiving for Papa's remarkable recovery, in so short a time.
two weeks ago, we all trooped to Manila with and for Papa, for what we thought would be a heart bypass operation he didn't look well enough to undergo. after 8 months and 12 ICU visits here, Papa was weakening, in both body and spirit, and the heart bypass operation was deemed as a last resort, do-or-die option. actually, the unspoken thought in everybody's mind was probably the fact that it could be more do-and-die, but at least, we'd all be there for Papa and see him alive and watch him go, together.
now, Papa is not only off his oxygen tank, but has already started walking around on his own, and back to his usual talkative self. the asthma and the edematous legs and toes are gone, and the diabetes is back to a manageable level.
in the last family prayer i led for Papa before his second and last operation last April 25, i added another prayer to our original plea for a safe and successful operation and recovery for him: that he be given a new lease on life so that he may fully heal in all ways, and finally find the peace and joy that has eluded him all his life, before he finally goes, for good, much later.
strangely, the healing has not only been for him, but for us who were there with him and for him. being suddenly thrown together after so many years of just living our own lives by our selves, and being thrown together in an environment where the only concern was to make Papa as comfortable as possible and what to order for delivery for our next family meal in the hospital room, forcibly removed from our usual cares and responsibilities in our daily lives in Bacolod--contributed to making it natural for us to finally talk to each other, and to listen, and to be vulnerable and open to each other once again, even despite initial spats and skirmishes of who does what and who stays in the room with Papa while the rest go out and attend to some personal errands.
many personal and family crises in the past drove us apart from each other, but strangely, this biggest crisis of all-- the threat of the possible impending death of a patriarch whom we shared a love-hate relationship with in the past -- has drawn us all back together again in the folds of a father's difficult kind of loving, but loving still, none the less.
God has been so good to give Papa, and us all, this new lease on life!