by BCBP Editor

Hey, Dad, I love you!
by Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila

I am glad that there is a Father’s Day in the month of June. Way back when there was only a Mother’s Day in May, I always wondered what happened to the “fathers”? Why wasn’t there a day when we honor our fathers? After all, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our fathers! Let me share a few memories about my father.
dad love
My father, Jarvis Nathan Russell, died in the early ‘70s when I was already married and living in the Philippines. It was a shock to receive a telephone call from my mother saying that Dad had had a massive heart attack and died on the way to the hospital. It was doubly shocking since we children didn’t know he had a heart problem and therefore, were not prepared in any way for his untimely demise. I was devastated that I had not had time to tell him how much I loved him before he left us.

My father was a true farmer, even as his father was before him. He taught me to love the land with all its beauty and ugliness, with its promise of harvest and the changing of seasons. I grew up on our small family farm in the mountains of Vermont, USA, and as the eldest child was responsible for helping Dad care for our small herd of 20 dairy cows, the younger calves, and other assorted animals. I also helped during the summer haying season when the field grasses were cut, baled and stacked into our barn to be used as feed for the animals during the long winter months. Although the work was hot, sweaty and constant, I enjoyed caring for the animals and being out in the fields with Dad working side by side.

He taught me to be responsible for what I did or had failed to do, to always do the best I could, to be creative in looking for new and better ways to do things. He instilled in me the virtues of hard work, of honesty and integrity, of finishing what I had begun, of finding something to like or even love about whatever I was doing.

Dad had a wry sense of humor, too; he could find something to laugh about in most all circumstances. His temper flared when he got angry but he never raised a hand to us kids or to Mom; he would go outdoors and chop up wood for our furnace, or do some other physical task to work off his anger.

In other words, he was human with his good and not-so-good sides. As a father, he was the best one … at least to me. He was a man of few words but I know that he felt deeply about many things. I treasure my memories of him.

Please don’t wait until your father passes on to begin remembering the good things about him. Father’s Day is the best time to tell him that you love him and appreciate the many things that he has done for you. No matter how strict or how much of a disciplinarian a father is, he still wants to be loved. At least for this one day of every year we need to tell him in words and actions how much we love him. And try to repeat telling him you love him even if it isn’t Father’s Day… he is still your father every day of the year, isn’t he? Even if he is no longer physically present with you, be sure he is with you in spirit and would love to have your prayerful and loving greeting.

I may have posted this same column last year for Father’s Day, but I believe that its message still stands relevant and needed today. So, my friends, please hug your dad with a warm, heartfelt greeting: “Hey Dad, I love you.”

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Jose coruna July 6, 2014 - 7:51 pm

I read your article’ hey dad i love you “and suddenly i started to collect memories with my own father. All 12 of us grew up in the farm before WW II. Being the youngest, i’d only watched the older siblings do the farm work since our dad had a cattle ranch and a lowland rice farm. Our dad was not hospitalized except once for the flu virus. He died at the age of 99.8 yrs. I was not able to relate well with him because when i was growing up there were other more important things to do like attending to the needs of the elder siblings.
I do really miss him physically but your words quite sliced deep into my psyche. it is therapeutic indeed. And so in spirit i can also tell him ” Hey dad i love you and will always love you “.

Jose coruna June 19, 2014 - 7:46 pm

Hi sis nancy. I’m so glad i opened today our Kapatiran and read your Father’s day article.
Suddenly memories of yesteryears flashes back in my mind. Out of twelve siblings, i am the
Youngest and i recall my fatherwas already 70 yrs old when i was in high school. ( he died at the age of 99 yrs and 8 months). Not much time for bonding but his vice was making people laugh and always making us feel comfortable in his presence . That was his formula for longevity and i believe in the adage ” Laughter is the best medicine’. I had to make up for our bonding and i recall i would sleep with him yes , beside him when he was in his 90’s and i’d whisper in his ears that i love him and thank him for making me a doctor.Many times he’d ask me who i was when he woke up. That was when i told everybody that Papa was now entering the stage of Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type . He did not indulge in the vices of alcohol n smoking, . Funny but psychologically i was doing what he abhorred. Hahaha! Collecting memories. The times of my life.

But Vermont must be a beautiful place because a song was composed entitled ” Moonlight in Vermont popularized by Frank Sinatra. Congrats again for a beautiful piece.8


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