Family Ties: The Doctor

So there I was, in a dark corner of a little room, as a doctor.

I never knew you and I never really asked. I figured why should I even care? The fact is I consider you non-existent. My mom brought me up and you were never there, and I never really tried looking for you, or looking for any father figure at all. I think that is fair, considering my older brother vowed and cursed you face to face to never be beside you even at your funeral. For me, you are nothing but a stranger, and that is the least I can offer you, considering my mother and my brother saw you as an enemy.

I remembered the first time I met you. I was a freshman high. I answered the door and you were there, all dressed in white, like a don from a Godfather movie. Your eyes widened in awe as you saw me standing in front of you. You shook my hand and I asked you if you were looking for someone in particular. You were looking for my mom, unfortunately (or fortunately for my mom) she was not there. It never really passed my thoughts that you were my father back then. I mean I never really have an idea how you looked like. My brother said mom burned all your pictures when you ran away with your other girl to the states. My brother was old enough to understand those things back then, the reason maybe why he feels the same wrath as mom. I was 3 months old during that time so really, I never underwent the pain you left that moment.

When mom came home that evening, I told here someone dropped by. She wondered who you were so I described you. And even before I ended my speech, she knew it was you. She knew you will be back that evening so she decided to check-in our family to a hotel for us not to cross path. And guess what, you were checked-in at that hotel as well. What a coincidence! And it was in that hotel’s lobby when I first saw mom yelling and so angry her face turned red and her veins looked like they will pop out her neck. It was also then when my brother pointed his finger at you and vowed to never be beside you even at your funeral. As for me, I just looked at the reaction of all the guests and the hotel personnel watching us in disbelief. Mom held our arms and dragged us to an elevator. And while we were walking away, I looked back at you all alone in the middle of the lobby crying with your face bowed down. Seeing my mom and my brother so pissed like that, I realized, yup, you were my father alright.

I am a fulfilled person. I now have a family of my own. My wife, a fellow doctor, told me she appreciates the way I built my life even without a father. That is because my mom and my brother did a good job raising me. We did it ourselves without you. We never really needed you anyway. And being a doctor is a fulfilling vocation. You have a job with a decent salary to get you through the material world and a job that might as well get you to heaven.

But who would have known? A single phone call from an anonymous caller held me in a deep, complicated situation I never imagined I will be in. You are dying and you personally wanted me to be your doctor.

I told my brother and my mom in advance that it is not that I wanted to but because I have a vocation to uphold. It is because you do not want any doctor and prefer dying than be nursed by someone else except me. And as a doctor, I have no other choice.

And now as I stare at your eyes that mirror the frailty of your body, I cannot help but wonder why do you want to do this? You have all the money to buy all the doctors in St. Luke’s but why make things complicated for you and your former family? Are you trying to simply wash your hands of your sins because you know it will not be soon and you will be gone? If it is, then it’s the most sadistic way to make someone forgive you. I want to scream at you and tell you it just does not work that way! You cannot kill someone and tell them you are sorry and everything goes back to normal. It just does not work that way. No sorry can ever revive back the dead, for heaven’s sake, even doctors can’t. And as I see it, my mom and my brother died that day you ran away from them. It will take not even this lifetime to bring them back to life and obviously, not even this situation you placed me in will do that.

But what wonder does the human heart have? What glory can it potentially radiate? What pride can it not dissolve for someone who sincerely seeks forgiveness? Tell me.

There was a soft knock from the door.

I opened it gently.

It was my mom and my brother.

I stand in front of the door in complete disbelief, what more to the stranger lying in bed. His eyes all teary, while his fumbling, cracking voice cuts through to all the hearts in that room… “Thank you for forgiving me, I am so sorry…” These few words echoed some thousand thoughts.

The moment made warm the cold, dark room of the stranger. A family hugged each other for the first time in 35 years… and the last time of the stranger’s life that passed away a few hours from that moment, a moment where I stood in a dark corner of a little, dark room, not as a doctor… but now, as a son.