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Father's Goodbye

March 2002

This story I'm about to tell you happened back in my birth country (Philippines) in 1989 when my father died.

My father died of cancer at 66. Before he got sick (which we didn't find out it was cancer until it was too late) he worked as a collector for a security agency, Monday thru Saturday and some occasional Sundays. He rode his bike to and from work which is about five miles away from home. He used to keep his bike in the storage room in the back part of the house.

I used to have my routine which I was religiously stuck to. I worked from Monday thru Saturday and did my laundry on Sunday mornings starting around 9:00 am. The laundry room was next to the storage room and whenever he had to work on a Sunday he had to pass by me to get his bike. He'll usually comment on how early I'm starting my laundry. When he got sick he had to stop working. Like I mentioned earlier we didn't know it was cancer. He thought it was arthritis on his hip and he used to rub this Bengay smelling oil on his hip. As the pain slowly intensified and he could no longer get relief from the oil, we checked him in at a local hospital. That's when he was diagnosed with cancer. It has spread all over his body.

That hospital wasn't equipped for cancer treatment so we decided to transfer him to another hospital to get treatment but it was too late. All of this happened from October 1988 to March 1989, when he died. He died with the whole family by his side but he was in so much pain that he never had the chance to say goodbye or anything else. All he could do was cry. He died on a Friday in March.

That following Sunday, I decided to run my clothes in the laundry real quick as it was really piling up. It was around 9:00 am. My brother-in-law was standing by the doorway at the time. Suddenly, I smelled the same oil that my father used when he was sick. It was faint at first then it got stronger and stronger before fading away slowly as if somebody who was wearing it passed by me. My brother-in-law smelled it, too, so I can't say it was just my imagination. Normally, I would get scared, but I didn't. I knew it was my father saying goodbye.

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