1:09 am...

(Pls pause the MP3 player on the bottom left before playing this video!)

It's 1:09 in the morning. A year ago today at this exact time was when my Papa passed away. I'll never forget that time. My siblings and I found it so ironic that 109 is also the number of the apartment we've called home for most of my life.

Has it really been a year? It's so hard to believe. I still remember everything so vividly. He went into hospital immediately after my brother's 50th birthday party in July and was there for just under 2 months. I was by his side, every day...a lot of times for 12 hours at a time. Honestly, since this passed July, my mind has been replaying that time every day. While I know this may not be a good thing, it also happened leading up to my mama's 1 year so I find it comforting somewhat and label it as part of the process of grief.

I thought the year mama passed (2009) was the hardest year of my life but 2015 definitely proved me wrong. My boss, who I had worked with for 20 years, retired and I was unemployed for about 6 months. It was a bit of a blessing in disguise really because it allowed me to be there for papa as much as I could. As difficult and emotional as that time was, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Instead of dwelling on the days leading to his passing, I thought I'd share one of my most cherished memories of my papa...

All throughout school, I was took music. I was either in a band, choir or various musicals. In Grade 6, I took up trumpet in the school band. I was scheduled to have my first solo and was very proud. Growing up, my papa worked nights and was hardly ever available to see me perform because of work. When I found out we were to have 2 performances, one during the day and one at night and parents were welcome to come to either show…I jumped at the chance and told papa. He agreed to come and I was so happy! The day finally came and we were backstage getting ready to go on. I always took the chance to peek into the gym to see if he arrived and I spotted him just as one of the teachers was giving him a seat. I didn’t find out until years later, papa was the only parent there! The teachers were so caught off guard he showed up, they rushed to grab him a seat and even offered him coffee. He was a little embarrassed about it because he sat alone in a chair, surrounded by kids sitting on the gym floor. Regardless of all that, I didn’t know a thing! When I stepped out for my performance, all I remember is being so happy and proud he was there. I was waving at him constantly. When all was done, he gave me a kiss and big hug. He told me how proud he was of me then left to go home and sleep before going to work.

I used to be embarrassed of this story, especially when my parents used to tell it at every family gathering or to their friends but not anymore. I’m proud papa did that for me because I remember how much it meant to me. Both my parents always encouraged me especially when it came to my creativity. I realize not everyone can say that. Even though I miss them so much and sometimes my heart aches so much it unbearable, I will be forever thankful that I had them in my life for as long as I did. My only hope is that I make them feel as proud as I felt that day back in Grade 6.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but love leaves a memory no one can steal...
I love you and miss you so much, Papa

Oliver Vistal Ongpauco
Dec 10, 1931 - Aug 25, 2015


  1. This is so heart felt and beautiful. What a wonderful memory to share. That's amazing that he was able to come and you had an audience of one just for Papa. I love this. thank you for sharing this. I know he was so proud to have been there for that and many other moments. Sending lots of love!

  2. Love you, Veezy. So much. Every sentence was beautifully draped in your spirit. I miss you, darling. :tacklehugs:


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