(Baby Lizzi with Dad - the only picture I have with us by ourselves)
September 16, 2011 will forever be etched in my mind. It was the day my dad passed away. His death was sudden and quick. He died of a massive heart attack. I can't express to you the emotions I feel inside. All I can tell you is that life is short and uncertain - make each moment count. Say what you need to say, love the way you want to love, live as if it were your last.
(Taken moments before our family picture this year)
I spent a day writing his eulogy... it was such a difficult task. What do I say? How do I honor him? It was the toughest speech I've ever written or delivered. But, I did it... through a lot of tears and support from my family & friends...
"Smart. Funny. Amazing cook. Great storyteller. Loved to laugh. Sports fanatic. Independent. These are some of the qualities my dad had on the surface… things we knew about him and appreciated. Looking back at my childhood through the present, my dad possessed so much more than what was on the surface. He was everything a daughter could have wanted in a father – supportive, fair, kind, generous, understanding, honest.
Rogelio Almacen Beduya was born in Danao, Cebu on October 21, 1945. He was the youngest of Galicano and Cipriana’s four children. When he was younger, he loved to socialize with his family and friends. He also wanted to have a family & sought guidance from his elders. With the help of his sister, Sheila, he obtained a Mechanical Engineering degree at Cebu Institute of Technology. He then worked at Danao Apocement as a Mechanical Engineer. After two years, his elder brother, Joe, asked that he work in Manila as a Sales Engineer for Briggs and Stratton. He travelled extensively throughout the Philippines promoting their products. After five years, he quit his job so his brother, Joe, could work as a manager for Briggs and Stratton. Subsequently, he went back to his hometown of Danao. A week later, he went to visit his eldest brother, Dr. Eriberto Beduya, who was the director of the Minglanilla hospital where my mother, Sonia, was also working. Rogelio saw Sonia and approached George Camposano (the medical technologist). Rogelio had noticed Sonia before and asked George to do him a favor by introducing them. So he did. Rogelio attributes their meeting as “God’s will” since he had to quit his job to meet her. About three months later, Joe recommended Rogelio for a sales manager position for another company in another city. He worked there for two years while maintaining their long distance relationship. Rogelio visited Sonia every 6 months. After two years, he decided he wanted to marry her. Along with his parents, they visited Sonia & her parents to ask for her hand in marriage. They sealed the deal 3 months later on May 9, 1976. As it was difficult to find a job in the Philippines, he worked abroad in Saudi Arabia as a Mechanical Engineer – going home once a year. Sonia wrote to him every day & spoke to him in audio tapes. He worked in Saudi Arabia for five years.
From a young age, Rogelio wanted to have a family of his own. Rogelio & Sonia welcomed their first born child, Darah Grace, on December 26, 1976. Their second daughter, Sonia Mae, was born on March 5, 1979. Their youngest daughter, Lizzi Ann, was born on Rogelio’s birthday – October 21, 1981. They all migrated to The United States in 1986.
Dy: I am so lucky. You were the greatest father any child could ask for. You brought me into this world & taught me so much about life. About family. About what it means to be a good daughter, sister, friend, Catholic. You taught me the importance of education. About a being a good citizen and person. You taught me what it means to be strong, to be independent, and to be successful in everything I did. You set the principles of human character and provided guidance. The biggest most important lesson you taught me was how to really love someone. Because you loved us so much. You showed this in your actions – big and small.
I have so many great memories with you… when I got my first car, when I graduated from college, when I learned how to sew, our family trips together, sharing a birthday cake. What plays the most in my mind was a few weeks ago. I came home, opened the door, and you were sitting in our den. I walked over, kissed you on the forehead, and you smiled. You asked where I went and how I was doing, how my day went, if there was anything new. You asked about my friends and what they were doing. This is how you are. You always check in with me – making sure everything is OK & I’m happy. You also asked how the wedding I photographed went. It caught me off-guard and I asked if you wanted to see some of the pictures. We spent some time going over them and I was so excited to share them with you. You smiled as we looked through and I felt you were really proud of me.
It’s all those little things, too, Dy, that made you such an incredible father. You made us so many delicious meals and packed us lunches. You visited us during our tennis matches. You loved to get in political debates with us. You were our informant – knowledgeable of all news & history. You had so much to share with us.
I know you’re in a better place now. Looking down on us and smiling. I know you’ll still be there to guide me and support me. Knowing that, it comforts me. Thank you for all you have done to make me who I am today. I love you, dad."
(Taken during our family trip to Cabo San Lucas earlier this year)
I share this because it helps me cope. My blog has always been a venue for me to share and document my life with all its ups and downs. If you've read this far, thank you... it's a lot to take in and I appreciate it.
Today marks the last day of the novena and we will have mass at my house as well. I will be surrounded with love from all my family and friends - near and far. Thank you. To those who've asked about him the past few years, paid respects at his funeral, come to support and help my mom & sisters, sent flowers, baskets, cards, & well-wishes, called just to check in with us, prayed for him, prayed for us, visited us, and so much more - thank you. I continue to be amazed by all the love and support my family & I have received. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
(Last year's birthday cake together)