It was a shock this morning when we received a text that Womanfriend’s father had passed away at around 4am.

Womanfriend’s sister drove us to her father’s residency in the wee hours of the morning. We stopped at its front gate and buzzed the intercom. Words exchanged through the speaker and we proceeded to wait in the cold, chilled air of dawn. Between the silence among the women, tears flowed, then they huddled into a group-hug. Not being able to speak their tongue, I could only stand there and observe.

Some moments later, a nurse from the residency arrived and opened the gate. Womanfriend, her sister and I hadn’t planned for this when we got up early this morning - we were due to Reus to collect some paperwork. The sudden news meant we had to change our existing plans. We ended up dropping off Womanfriend’s mother at the residency, then to make a quick round trip there and back.

Along the journey, the sisters chatted about things outside of their father’s demise. They talked about how the dog got vaccinated and microchipped, and how we’ve spent our new year’s eve on Zoom with friends from 3 different time zones.

The living keeps on living, to do the things that matter while we’re alive. It was a good, if only temporary distraction they had before we arrived home to face the reality again.

I had not known Womanfriend’s father for long. When I had met him, he was already declining into the early stages of dementia. Moreover, with the language barrier, all interactions were light social pleasantries.

What I knew of him was from various accounts Womanfriend had recounted during our time together. Her father was a man of many vocations; worked on a farm in his younger years, ran a shoe store for a while, then worked as a painter for his remaining years before retiring.

I had not known how Womanfriend’s father thought of me either. Sometimes, I wonder how he thought with regards to his daughter seeing a ‘foreign guy’. If there were any misgivings, he had not shown any. There was one noteworthy incident in which Womanfriend had recounted to me when she was sharing her plans over his concern about her future. Womanfriend told him not to worry, that she’ll have her own place in their hometown soon. He responded with, “you should be fine, because he(me) is a saver”. I had no idea where he got that impression of me, but I guess I’ll take that as a compliment.

He’d always remember to ask about me each time Womanfriend visited. Only up till the last call we had, he wasn’t even lucid enough to reply. While I felt that he wouldn’t be long for this world, it was still a surprise when it came. It was a quick death. The nurses noted nothing amiss the night before, and he was able to eat dinner all by himself which was better than he could normally do, right before his sudden passing.

Dear L, you may have not lived long enough to see it, but your daughter has made good of her intention to buy a home where you are. I’m sure you’ll be very proud of her.

And may you Rest In Peace.