Text and Photo by Henrylito D. Tacio
Humorist Erma Bombeck, the author of several books, including the best-selling, You Know It’s Time To Go Home When You Looked Like Your Passport Picture, once told a story of a little lost girl who doesn’t know whether she would miss her departing father:
“One morning, my father didn’t get up and go to work. He went to the hospital and died the next day. I hadn’t thought that much about him before. He was just someone who left and came home and seemed glad to see everyone at night. He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn’t afraid to go into the basement by himself.
“He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures, but he was never in them.
“Whenever I played house, the mother doll had a lot to do. I never knew what to do with the daddy doll, so I had him say, ‘I’m going off to work now,’ and threw him under the bed.
“The funeral was in our living room and a lot of people came and brought all kinds of good food and cakes. We had never had so much company before. I went to my room and felt under the bed for the daddy doll. When I found him, I dusted him off and put him on my bed. He never did anything. I didn’t know his leaving would hurt so much.”
Of course, the head of the family is the father. “A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be,” Frank A. Clark once said.
But what can a father do? If someone would ask his son, what would be his answer? Here’s a compilation: 4 years (“My daddy can do anything!”), Seven years (“My dad knows a lot… a whole lot”), eight years (“My father does not know quite everything”), 12 years (“O well, naturally, Father does not know that either”), 14 years (“Oh, Father? He’s hopelessly old-fashioned”), 21 years (“Oh, that man – he’s out-of-date”), 25 years (“He knows a little bit about it”), 35 years (“Before we decide, we’ll get Dad’s idea first”), 50 years (“What would Dad have thought about that?”), 60 years (“My dad knew literally everything!”), and 65 (“I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more”).
But “the best gift a father can give to his son is the gift of himself – his time. For material things mean little if there is not someone to share them with,” to quote the words of C. Neil Strait.
To celebrate Father’s Day, allow me to share another touching story sent to me via e-mail by a friend:
At an airport, I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. The daughter’s plane’s departure had been announced, and they were standing near the door when the father said to his daughter, “I love you. I wish you enough.”
She said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.” They kissed goodbye, and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated.
Standing there, I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?”
“Yes, I have,” I replied.
Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for everything my dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face-to-face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man was experiencing.
“Forgive me for asking, but why is this forever goodbye?” I asked. “I am old, and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead, and the reality is, her next trip back will be for my funeral,” he said. When you were saying goodbye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?”
He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone,” he said. He paused for a moment, looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, and then he smiled even more.
“When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we want the other person to have a life filled with enough good things to sustain them,” he continued, and then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.
“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
“I wish you enough gain to satisfy your desire. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough ‘Hellos’ to get you through the final Good-bye.'”
He then began to sob and walked away.
It is said that “tt takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.”
I wish you enough!