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Embracing the Dark: A Father's Ode to Love and Acceptance

Updated: at 05:01 AM

As twilight folds over Antipolo City, transforming the bustling day into a tranquil evening, I find myself nursing a cup of coffee in our rented apartment. The intricate dance of ‘software algorithms’ typically occupying my thoughts recedes, supplanted by contemplations on life’s one constant, the ultimate equalizer – death.

Arlene, my love, is nestled on a nearby couch, engrossed in a Netflix movie while our children, Argi and Desmond, are locked in a round of robust laughter from playing Minecraft. As I watch them, my heart fills with a sentiment I can hardly fathom, lacing my intimations of mortality with a profound sense of love and connection.

I muse on a Death Cab for Cutie song, ‘I Will Follow You Into The Dark.’ It profoundly connects to my soul, unearthing an eerie comfort within my heart.

It waters a secret garden where acceptance of mortality gracefully blooms. Each word and note nurtures that acceptance because it resonates with love and togetherness, fear and endurance, journeys, and partings. And a decisive resolution to tether our souls, even in the recesses of the unknown that death seeks to shroud us within.

”You and me have seen everything to see, from Bangkok to Calgary,” the lyrics hum in my brain, echoing the journey Arlene and I embarked on six years ago. The rhythm reverberates like shared laughter and tears, ringing like promises and serenading like heartbeats. ‘Our love story’ isn’t about destinations; it’s about the journey, the moments we have tread together, each step weathering the soles of our shoes, each step etching a memory in the soul of our existence.

Now look at Argi, our ray of sunshine, barely eleven, her life a promising canvas waiting to be filled with the colors of her dreams. And Desmond, the embodiment of innocent wonders and untainted joy. My musings cast a shadow, a realization of the temporal facet of life. I wonder about the days I wouldn’t be around for them, not as a fearful thought but an inevitable truth. Father to daughter, father to son, I want them to know that “fear is the heart of love.” Guided by love, they will tread the path of life and face every coming storm fearlessly.

As I contemplate the universal symphony we all inevitably join, I imagine a unique playlist for my funeral. This soundtrack resonates with the ebb and flow of my existence and transcends my temporal journey to an eternal serenade.

The first melody is ‘I Will Follow You into the Dark’ by Death Cab for Cutie, a song that binds my sentiments about mortality with a potent message of enduring love. I want Arlene, Argi, and little Desmond to perceive it not as a mournful hymn of departure but as a testament to our perpetual connection. A testament with an unforgettable message that confirms my unwavering love for them - “If there’s no one beside you when your soul embarks, then I’ll follow you into the dark.”

Next, the undulating chords of ‘Only God Knows Why by Kid Rock’ begin to echo, a humble melody that stands as a testament to my gratitude for the inexplicable, the perceived odds, and the mystical ways of existence. My life, illustrated by uncertainty and blessings alike - a narrative only the Divine could fully comprehend.

Then, ‘Losing My Religion by R.E.M.’ will reverberate. It is a song that mirrors my spiritual exploration, detached from dogma yet seeking meaning in the grand design—an echo of my yearning to understand, question, and find my faith in love and humanity.

After that, the mournful chords of ‘Hurt by Johnny Cash’ will play, a song of regret, remorse, and redemption. A reflection of my struggles, the scars I bear, and the resilience that defines me. Its poignant lyrics gently remind me of my imperfections, my narrative painted with hues of pain and recovery, a memoir to hold onto - “What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know goes away in the end.”

As the nostalgic notes of ‘The Sound of Silence by Disturbed’ waft through the air, it ought to remind everyone that in silence lies profound wisdom. My journey wasn’t just about speaking out and listening to the silence, the world, and my heart.

Finally, ‘When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings by Willie Watson and Tim Blake Nelson’ will draw my serenade to a close. Its heartfelt lyrics tether my tale to the legacy of the cowboy – the gentle rebel, the drifter embracing the broad horizons – trading his earthly ties for the boundless sky.

Through this playlist, I connect with them, Arlene, Argi Denise, and little Desmond underscoring my love, my bonds, my tribulations, and the wisdom I gained. They say the end is just another beginning; therefore, let these songs reverberate - etching who I was, am, and will always be in their hearts and beyond the dark.

I am not a man swayed to religion, fashioned by the rigid norms of a Catholic school. But I am a shepherd of love willing to traverse unprecedented lengths for his loved ones. “And if Heaven and Hell decide that they both are satisfied,” for me, heaven would be their well-being, their happiness. Hell? A simple absence of the same.

Armed with this revelation, a tranquillity settles over me, born from the knowledge that we endure in love. From life to death, we strive. In their hearts, I will survive. Yes, the darkness will come one random eve, climaxing my temporal existence. But in this melody, my love and desire for them will ignite a spark, illuminating those rugged paths, casting metaphysical silhouettes of our togetherness in the deceptively desolate dark.

Death, you’re not a phantom to fear but a dark door to an unseen continuum. And when the day arrives, with this melody as the last strains of my song, embracing love and acceptance, I’ll follow you into the dark.

class Life:

    def __init__(self, name="Unknown", age=0, city="Unknown"): = name
        self.age = age = city
        self.partner = None
        self.children = []
        self.funeral_songs = []

    def born(self, name, city): = name = city
        print(f"Welcome to life, {}, in the city of {}.")

    def grow(self, years):
        self.age += years
        print(f"{} is now {self.age} years old.")

    def find_love(self, partner_name):
        self.partner = partner_name
        print(f"{} found love with {self.partner}. This love transcends life itself...")

    def accept_mortality(self):
        print(f"{} acknowledges the inevitability of death.")

    def add_child(self, child_name):
        print(f"Congrats, {} and {self.partner}! Welcome {child_name}.")

    def walk_with_loved_one(self):
        print(f"Together, {} and {self.partner} have travelled the journey of life, their love deepening with each step.")

    def face_fear(self):
        print(f"{} understands that 'fear is the heart of love', pushing forth through life's hardships.")

    def eternal_love(self):
        print(f"{} declares, 'If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied...then I'll follow you into the dark.'")

    def add_funeral_song(self, song):
        print(f"'{song}', a testament to enduring love and acceptance, will be played at {}'s funeral.")

    def play_funeral_songs(self):
        print(f"At {}'s funeral, the following songs will resonate:")
        for song in self.funeral_songs:
            print(f"- {song}")

mark = Life()
mark.born("Mark", "Antipolo City, Rizal")
mark.add_child("Argi Denise")
mark.add_funeral_song("I Will Follow You Into The Dark")
mark.add_funeral_song("Only God Knows Why")
mark.add_funeral_song("Losing My Religion")
mark.add_funeral_song("The Sound of Silence")
mark.add_funeral_song("When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings")