There are moments where my mind goes on autopilot and revisit the past, playing some old snippets that seemed mundane at the time but have become priceless memories. I still miss Papa – although I had never been really that close to him. A couple of days ago as I browsed through my music collection, I came across a remixed version of an old Chinese lovesong – that I know Papa loved. Although he’s as Sundanese as can be, in his heart he is also a true Chinese – he would smile whenever he heard Teresa Teng songs although he probably couldn’t understand some of the lyric.
I also missed the moments when I called home and Mama would quickly pass the phone over to Papa because she wanted to watch her Taiwanese soap operas without any interruptions. Papa would croakily answered, “Hallo?” and then asked me variations of the same questions in Sundanese, “Cageur, Ry?” (“Are you alright?”). I usually answered with similar response and asked him back in return, “Keur naon, Pa?” (“What are you doing, Pa?”). He would be either watching TV or just sitting around – keeping Mama company as she watched TV. At the time I would think that it was Mama keeping Papa company, now that he’s gone, I could see things from a different perspective. Papa would be happy just to be quietly and contenly sleeping or sitting around if Mama was nearby.
Having Indy has taught me a lot about loyalty and companionship – don’t get me wrong – in no way I would put Papa in the same position as my pet. However, seeing him contently sitting next to me – that it makes him happy just to be around me, has taught me about loyalty and being happy in the presence of a loved one. Papa was like that, he was a doting husband – almost zealously wanting to be around Mama all the time, a leftover insecurity from an early age when he lost his Dad and growing up with a tough (but also loving) Mum. Sometimes we, the children, would argue that Papa should let Mama go out a bit and enjoy her time alone. We would side with her as we had this argument. Perhaps he just didn’t know how to express his feelings that deep inside, it made him happy and content, just being around Mama – and we failed to see that.
It’s only now that silly little things like these have a different meaning to me – I still miss him immensely. Although I’m not mourning his departure anymore, I miss having somebody who would fuss over the family – whether we have eaten, whether we are doing alright. He did care for his children a lot, even when his methods were considered strange sometimes. Even towards the end of his life, Papa was always concerned with the welfare of his children.
I can’t wait for a big reunion someday – I would see my younger brother again and I would see Papa, all healthy and strong. There won’t be crying nor pain anymore. There’s a beautiful song with the words that I still hold on to through the years. I’m still trying to locate it on the Net – I had it once in a cassette and I can’t even remember the name of the group.
Someday soon, there’s going to be a great reunion by the sea,
I’ll see my Jesus, cross the water, spread His arms to carry me.
I’m going home, to be with Jesus. I’m going home to see my Lord.
Don’t you worry, don’t you cry. I’m going home now, to the other side.
Someday soon, He’ll read my name, and call me home where there’s no pain,
Nor more crying, and no more sorrow – land where milk and honey flow.
I’m going home to be with Jesus, I’m going home to see my Lord.
Don’t you worry, don’t you cry. I’m going home now to the other side.