“I love you, Ally…”
Looking at him lying on his deathbed, catching his breath with every word, I feel my heart break into tiny little pieces. Knowing that it would not be long before he returns into the arms of his savior with nothing left to do but wait, I can’t help but wish that there was something that I could do for him.
“I love you too, daddy…”
He smiled at me gently and slowly closed his eyes for his afternoon nap without letting go of the hand which I had placed on his for him to hold. It hurts seeing him with that gentle smile because that gentle smile was not really meant for me… and those words he exerts so much of his remaining energy to say “I love you, Ally…” are words that are not directed towards me… not really…
My name is Allyson, Ally for short but I am not his Ally. I was named after my mother Alyssa. My mother who left us… his wife who abandoned him during the years when he needed her most… the woman who took away his heart and his life the moment she decided to give up… Ally, who was supposed to be with him for better and for worse until death parts them, left him broken… but still… she continues to be his great love.
They say that in one’s life, no matter how many people they meet, there would always be that someone, that special someone who will capture one’s heart and will remain a huge part no matter what happens. Great Love, they say, only happens once… and in my dad’s life… that was mom.
I was very young when Ally left us, but old enough to remember the pain of betrayal and the anger I felt. Dad at that time was diagnosed with an awful disease. He had to stop working, he got very sick that all he could do all day was lay on his bed, and when he needed to eat, he had to be fed. I was very young then, but my young eyes could already understand the suffering everyone in our family had to go through. He needed a nurse around him because there came a point when he couldn’t even move on his own, but that nice nurse only stayed with us for a few days because we reached the point when we can no longer afford to have anyone else inside the house. My older brother started working part-time so we can have food on our table, I was still so young then that all I was allowed to do was be good at school, play outside and make sure not to disturb daddy’s rest.
Mommy was always sad… always tired… she was always crying... She no longer had time to play with me or the patience to help me do my homework. I understood her because it must have been tiring to have to carry daddy whenever he wanted to move near the window for some fresh air, to have to give daddy baths, to have to clean daddy whenever he had to go, to have to sanitize daddy’s bed sores, to have had to be daddy’s personal nurse. It must have been really tough for her because she always cried hard once daddy had fallen asleep.
There came a time when my brother’s earnings were no longer enough. Mommy said I had to stop going to school. That was fun for me because I no longer had to do homework and I could stay in the house and play all day, but then I realized that staying in the house really was no fun at all. Mommy would always be angry with me, she yells, she cries, she spanks me hard because she said she was tired. Although the beatings from the wooden broom hurt, I couldn’t be angry with mommy… for as long as she loved us… as long as she loved daddy and continued to care for him until everything was well again... I could never be angry with her. If hitting me was a way for her to cope with the stress, it was better to accept that sole responsibility given to me for being that young to do anything else for the family.
Days… weeks… months… my birthday… daddy’s birthday… and big brother’s birthday passed… but daddy was not getting any better…
It was Christmas Day when daddy was rushed to the hospital. Mommy didn’t cry while talking to the doctor, but she cried really hard when she held daddy’s hand as he lay unconscious on the hospital bed. She cried for hours… non-stop… she cried until she was out of breath… she cried until there were no more tears left.
After what seemed like forever when she finally stopped crying, she gave daddy’s hand a kiss and though daddy was unconscious, in my eyes it was like his face showed a gentle smile.
Mommy gave me and my brother a tight hug before walking out of the hospital room and walking out of our lives completely. We never saw her again after that. Some relatives said that she got tired and left us. They said that since she was still lovely that she probably left with some other guy. Of course I never believed them.
My brother and I continued to take her place being daddy’s personal nurses. He was unconscious for a few days and when he regained consciousness, he did nothing but ask about mommy. We always told him to get well and when he does, mommy will come back.
He would just smile that gentle smile.
In my heart I believed mommy would return although my brother believed what our relatives have said. He said he understood why mommy would have done it, but the only thing I understood then was love. Mommy loved daddy… mommy loved us… mommy will come back… and I held on to that belief for as long as I could.
But days… weeks… months… years passed. Daddy was well and working again… My brother and I were back in school… until today that we both have families of our own… mommy had not returned…
I didn’t even realize when it was exactly that my belief for love turned into doubt.
Today, at exactly fifteen years since that Christmas day that mommy left us, daddy closed his eyes, with a gentle smile on his face, my hand on his, after saying his last words: “I love you, Ally” drifted off to an everlasting slumber.
He left peacefully… he left quietly… he left expectedly… but it was still too painful…
What hurt most wasn’t the part that he was gone… it was that he passed on with an idiotic hope in his heart that his great love would still come back to him.
A few days after my dad’s burial, my brother and I began cleaning up daddy’s things. His room didn’t have that heavy feeling, the one you’d expect from the place where a deceased loved one had spent most of his remaining days… in fact, there was some sort of light vibe emitting from it.
“Ally, look at this.”
I walked over to the bed where my brother was tidying up and was shocked to see so many letters stuck beneath the mattresses. We investigated and saw that they were letters to dad from mom all from the years when my brother and I still haven’t existed. We read them all discovering little by little how great a love story they had. With mom’s words in those letters, it was easy to understand why dad had kept her in his broken-heart for the rest of his life.
I felt guilt… I felt grief… I felt resentment… all emotions mixed in my chest while my mind screamed “Lies! Lies! Lies!”, as tears flowed from my eyes.
Inside dad’s pillow we found another letter, one that was dated fifteen years ago.
“I’m sorry, darling but I’m really tired. I tried to hold on but I just can’t. Whenever I carry you to the window, the breeze carries my soul away little by little... Whenever I clean the scabs off your back, I feel my rationality being brushed away... Whenever I clean your soils away, I smell the stench of my decaying spirit which had died the moment I learned I will soon live without you... Between the two of us… you are stronger… with this final love letter I give you my heart. Take care of it and our beloved children. We will meet again when all is well.”
A small trip to the hospital and a lot of persuasion was all it took to confirm… my dad’s donor fifteen years ago was Ally… His great love who lived in his heart until his very last breath…