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Pamela Wildheart Pilapil

The Day Dad Left

The day Dad left…
July the 5th, forever etched in my memory
An ordinary sunshiny day in Singapore
The usual cheery voice on the other line
My father, the doctor, my mentor, dear daddy
He had not been feeling well lately
Some minor heart whispers or murmurs
Ramblings of a lonely heart, we all thought

July the 5th, a long stretch of a day it seemed
In an instant, Dad was then in a hospital in Cebu.
The usual uncomplaining, persevering man he was
“Bearable pain, and should be nothing much,” he said,
Uncomfortable being treated rather than him treating patients.

Covid-19 made it harder. Tests, swabs and checks. 
Hospitals had no more beds, and doctors were exhausted. 
Cebu was in pandemic mode.
Despite the urgency, a Covid swab was required.
Gasping for air, from stress, I waited for news from home, here in Singapore.
How’s dad? How is his heart?

The clock went tick tock, tick tock.
Time stood still. He was resting. 
After six long hours, negative. He was Covid-free.
Midnight, finally a great and much needed rest.
No ICUs available till dawn.
He was much recovered, my sister’s frail and tired voice echoed through the wire.

Had a long, tired day in Singapore and needed a quick nap…
Then came a painful and haunting cry from another sister in the USA. 

“Daddy’s gone, gone, gone.” 
I bawled, screamed and cried for hours. 

He died peacefully while sleeping and then turned cold. 
The doctor, my mentor, dear daddy.
A painful tear fell. I realized all of us are far away except one. 
Travel bans, restrictions imposed worldwide.

July the 6th, 5am, forever etched in my memory
The day Dad left. 
Insurmountable sadness. 
I can’t go home. Almost all of us can’t go home.  

The day Dad left…


I felt an emptiness. He’s not here. 
Our long chats and laughter during and between meals, no more. 

The day Dad left…
I couldn’t do much. We all couldn’t be there for him.
The sadness was heavy, the grief hard to describe.
No words from family, relatives and friends mattered. Pain prevailed.
The day Dad left…
regret, pain, loss, emptiness and a blackout. 
The day Dad left…

This poem is dedicated to my dad, who has so much kindness and love for the world. He was a true healer of mankind. He was a casualty of this cruel COVID-19, not as a patient, but by circumstance.

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