A Eulogy For My Dad

First of all, allow me to apologize for not being active on the blogosphere for the last few weeks. The last few posts were automatic posts I have scheduled earlier before a family crisis came.

I recently lost “Tatay“, my dad. He died last month at the age of 68. I was miles away when he left. My sister had to call me to deliver the sad news, and I had to flew back to the Philippines the following day to give my last respect. In my entire life, that was the saddest 9-hour flight back to home.

It’s been a while since I posted something really personal. And this post in particular was written with many revisions. I couldn’t write for my Dad especially days after he died. I tried, but for some reasons, the words just couldn’t come out.

The night before his funeral, I found an old letter in one of my boxes located in a bedroom that used to be mine. The letter was written by my father when he was still working in Baghdad, Iraq. The date was August 27, 1982. I was 7 years old that time. Amazingly, the date I found the letter was August 27, 2011. The letter was written for me by my Dad exactly 29 years ago. This letter inspired me to write the eulogy. I felt, that for some reasons, Dad allowed me to discover this letter, so I could find the words to say about him.

What follows was the English translation of the eulogy I delivered during Dad’s funeral. Before he was brought to the church, he was first brought to the barangay hall where he was given some honors for serving our community for 10 years as a Councilor. Here was where I gave my necrological speech.


Before I start my eulogy, can I request everyone to give my Dad a big round of applause. (Some claps). Actually that was also for me, to give me enough strength to speak in front of all of you today.

My name is Nelson, for those who don’t know me yet. I am the second of Tatay’s four children. I was the one assigned to speak about our Dad as a FATHER. The truth is, it would be very difficult to put all the things I want to say about how Dad was as a father, in a few-minutes talk. I can write a book about his fatherhood. But this afternoon, allow me to just share with you some very short stories about him.

When my siblings and I were still small, we would wake up to a well-prepared breakfast. Dad would make coffee for my sister, coffee with milk for me, and plain milk for Pits (my younger brother after me). Each cup would have a small plate on the side with pandesal that he precut into bite sizes. Dad prepares all these to get us ready for school.

When I grew up and started my nursing studies, I needed to wake up as early as 4am in order to get ready for my hospital duties in Manila that would start at 6am. My father would wake up earlier, about 3am – to prepare my breakfast, and baon, as he would not allow me to leave the house without eating.

When I started working as a nurse in Ospital ng Maynila, I had the same routine of waking up at 4am for my AM shifts that start at 6am. Dad untiringly wakes up between 3 and 4 to cook my breakfafst.

Later I got married, and before our baby was delivered, I had to leave my pregnant wife under the care of my parents, as I needed to leave to start my work abroad. My wife delivered our first baby, and everything went well. My wife had to go back to her work later and had to leave our baby to our parents. My wife had to leave as early as 5:30 in the morning to be at her work on time. Again, Dad would wake up around 4am to prepare my wife’s breakfast. When my wife has left for work, he would check the plates to know whether my wife ate enough. He would be worried if she ate less. This is for my wife this time – and he was doing this because he loves me – the husband of my wife.

But the touching part of this was knowing that during these times, when he was preparing  breakfasts for my wife, he was already hemiplegic. Half of his body was already paralyzed after suffering from a stroke in 2003. Imagine him cooking all these eggs and hotdogs, setting up the table and washing all the utensils – with just ONE functioning hand.

A dear friend of my father told me a story when they were still both working together as construction workers in Baghdad, Iraq. They were both there during the time the Iran-Iraq wars started. There were bomb explosions everywhere and they were told to evacuate their accomodations. They were told to carry ONLY the most important personal pieces. Dad then carried the boxes of toys that he had bought and meant to give to us, his children, when he returns home. He left his clothes and other personal stuff and ran with the boxes of toys while bombing was everywhere. That was how he loved his children.

Allow me to read a letter which he sent to me when I was still small and he was still working in Iraq. This was dated August 27, 1982, and he sent this to me via snail mail. I was only seven years old that time.

Dear Nelson,

How are you, son? I heard you got sick. I hope you don’t get sick anymore, because I feel sad when you and your siblings get sick.

Nelson, I received your letter. You write very well! I will buy you a toy, also for Lito and Pinan. I’ll get you nice toys.

I hope you don’t go to the Municipal Building anymore (Dad didn’t want us to play around that building because of the cars that go in and out of the area). That’s what I like. I know you are all good children.

Always pray so that you don’t get sick anymore.

Please write again, so I would always be happy. I am also glad because you always follow what I say.

Okay, Nelson. Kisses to you, to your siblings and to your mother.

Your father,


I am also a father now. I have a 3-year-old son, and I try my very best to be a good father for him. My father did not tell me how to become a good father. He simply lived and let me watch him do it. I learned how to become a father by example. I learned how to offer myself whole-heartedly to my family.

Dad had 4 children and all of us were able to finish our studies. The eldest is my Ate Ren who’s now an elementary school teacher. I am the second and I’m a nurse in Abu Dhabi. The third is Pits, who’s a civil engineer in Canada. Last is Jay who now works as a high school teacher. All of our good life now, we owe to our Dad, with Mom’s support. Our parents tried their best to provide for our education.

And if there is one honor or achievement that would be considered the greatest in Dad’s entire life – that is – he was able to successfully fulfill with flying colors, his role as a father to the four of us.

Tatay, thank you for everything. We are very proud of you.


I would love to hear your comments…


55 Responses to “A Eulogy For My Dad”

  1. 1 ate ems
    September 10, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    nels, i have to read it, again and again.. i miss my papa back home..i feel so homesick..
    kudos to your dad..am sure that kung nasaan man sya ngayon he is really happy and very proud of you and your siblings..dahil nagbunga ang mga pinaghirapan nya..umalis sya ng payapa at alam nya na you all will be alright and will follow what he did for you as a father..Inigo is very lucky to have that legacy of having good father by history..
    god bless nels..


  2. 3 Vhergie P. Nocon
    September 10, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Masuwerte kayo kc nagkaroon kayo ng ganyang kabait na Tatay…..Sana masaya na cya saan man cya naroroon…..


  3. 5 Marc
    September 10, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Oh my… I didn’t know pare! Sorry to hear this sad news. My condolences and deepest sympathy to you and your family.


  4. 7 Sophia Dominic Rani
    September 10, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Hi nelson..i read it from ur original post… It shows hw much u love and respect ur dad.. And it shows that ur dad is a deserving dad..Feeling great of ur dad.


  5. 9 Marianne
    September 11, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Sorry to hear about the loss. My condolences.

    Your speech made me miss my father. He also prepares food for us especially for our breakfast. Working abroad isn’t easy; I have to do all the stuff and my father is not with me to wake me up. I badly miss him and my family back home.


  6. September 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Hello Nelson, my deepest sympathy to you and your family.
    Your and your siblings are very lucky to have such a very loving and caring father.
    I’m sure your mom is one worry-free wife as he has a superb husband .
    He is now your guardian angel from up above.
    May he rest in peace…


  7. 13 jemski
    September 12, 2011 at 8:59 am

    My condolences. I was so touched by your eulogy that my tears kept falling. . It must be very difficult writing this piece. Thank you for sharing. Your father’s life is so inspiring.


  8. September 12, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Hi Nelson!
    My condolence to your family..
    Don’t be sad na..be happy for your Tatay coz finally he is in good arms already..with our Father Almighty..sa langit lahat masaya…walang sakit, walang gutom, walang lungkot..
    Have a nice day! kisses to your son..


  9. September 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    nelson, i am so touched by your eulogy to your dad, am so disheartened by the fact that i was not able to visit him during his wake, for the reason that i did not know that it was your father…anyway, he is so happy now, looking at his offspring, making the most of what they have personally learned from him…it is not indeed the time one had spent in a lifetime but the quality of life one he/she had bestowed upon other people…Condolence! i know how painful it was…i’ve been there…hope to communicate with you again for the birthday of our Dean Orara! God bless you and our family…


  10. September 14, 2011 at 12:13 am

    So sorry to hear about your father’s passing. He will always be in your heart, so though he’s gone in body, he is still here in spirit. You are lucky to have had such a wonderful father, and your child is lucky to have you. Your father’s memories and values continue. Thank you for sharing such heartfelt memories. May God bless you and your family.


  11. 21 Molu Matthew
    September 15, 2011 at 3:33 am

    Nels,u made my eyes wet,my Appa dad also nomore with us ,but am sure he is still praying for us there in heaven ,and that is the strength for us .a great salute to Tatay


  12. 23 from FB
    September 15, 2011 at 3:39 am

    FROM FB likes:

    Arlene Mercado, Lilibeth Abbu Mariano, Ariel Bautista, Sophia Rani Dominic, Ivy Lyiliana, Ariel Bautista and John Justin Bautista like this.


  13. September 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Though this post provoked my tear gland, I am thankful because it made me realize how I’ve ignored my father. Ignoring in the sense that I don’t text him since I got a job here in the metro. He chose to stay in the province for personal reasons and had to endure the distance he now has with there rest of us (our mother and his seven children) here in the metropolis. He’s alone there and I know I should be taking time to even just ask him how he is doing through text from time to time but we were not really used to do that. I mean, we grew up without much physical connection with our parents. That’s the kind of culture we have in the family but that doesn’t mean we don’t have much love with each other. We’re not just as closed as we should be.

    Your article somewhat made me want to reconnect and break that culture I was talking about while he is still here with us — to make a difference. It’s yet late and thank you for the inspiration, Nelson. I want my father to realize that it will not hurt his masculinity if he will cry, hug, or prepares breakfast for us once in a while. I want him to realize that being sturdy doesn’t only mean being the stereotyped man of the old world.

    Please accept my deep sympathy for your loss. Kudos to your father for being such a caring man to your family.

    I hope you’ll be able to heal very soon.

    Life is always beatiful!


  14. September 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    It’s not yet late, I mean.


    • 27 nelson RN
      September 17, 2011 at 7:58 am

      Thanks for your wonderful message, SONY! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Life is too short, isn’t it? And so we need to show our affection to our loved one before it becomes too late. To be honest, I had so many regrets… I thought, I should have done this, and that, before he died… but I guess I can never turn back the time. So show your love when you can, as we may never know what lies ahead.
      God bless you always.


  15. September 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    What a loving and fitting tribute for your wonderful father. What strength it must have taken for you to get through this, but it’s clear you did it for him. I’m not much of a crier, Nelson, but it was very emotional to read.

    We’ve written back and forth about the devotion within families in your culture, and your dad certainly personified that, much more than you hear about in the U.S. these days.

    I’m so sad for you, but proud of you for the courage it took to honor your dad in this way. You are a man of integrity and character just like he was. And you’re still in my prayers…

    Hugs to you… honored that you’re my friend.


    • 29 nelson RN
      September 18, 2011 at 7:48 am

      Thanks, Linda! It was really difficult to talk about a loved one who just passed away, especially in front of so many people. My niece actually videotaped the actual speech, but I decided not to put the youtube link in the post. My voice was all the time trembling, and I was almost bursting into tears.
      Looking back, I was glad I did it because I knew my father’s life could really inspire others.
      God bless you and your family, Linda.


  16. 30 Pewter Keychain
    September 22, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I found your entry interesting do Ive added a Trackback to it on my weblog


  17. 32 Anonymous
    October 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    HI! My condolences. I was deeply moved by your eulogy. wherever your dad is right now, he must be very proud of you and your siblings!


  18. 34 Kristina Bernabo
    October 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait .. ?


  19. October 29, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Hi Nelson, I’m sorry to hear about your dad, and though this come in late, my sincerest condolences to you and your family.

    I can relate to most part of your post here as I have also lost my father (way back 2004) and he used to cook breakfast for us too. Reading this post reminds me so much of my father.

    I’m sure you’re strong enough. With the love of your family and friends, you’ll get by.

    I wish you well…


    • 37 nelson RN
      October 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks for the sympathy, Arvee. I really appreciate it. I’m sure your father is hearing you, that you appreciate his breakfasts… 🙂 and his fatherhood 😀


      • October 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

        You’re welcome and yeah I sure did. I find this piece very eloquently presented so congrats.Your dad must have been very proud of you when you delivered this eulogy. 🙂


  20. 42 Nostrand
    November 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

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  21. 43 Lucius Merkerson
    January 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

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  22. 44 Cleveland Sieczkowski
    January 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for the article, it was interesting and compelling. I found my way here through Google, I will come back another time 🙂


  23. 45 Jordan Concord
    January 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Wow, incredible blog layout! How many years have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is great, as well as the content! Thanks


  24. 46 Danna Kucera
    January 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Very neat post.Thanks Again. Awesome.


  25. January 28, 2012 at 6:36 am

    The success we have today, and the bright future our children have, we owe to the sacrifices our father (and mother) did in the past. What a touching eulogy of your father. Your Tatay would be proud. Thank you for sharing.


  26. 49 Northern Narratives
    February 13, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Wonderful words for a wonderful father.


  27. 51 ear ringing
    March 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you for your blog post. Inspiring.


  28. 52 Earl Eklund
    March 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Appreciate you sharing, great article.Much thanks again. Great.


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