Monday, March 14, 2005

Sadness and Nostalgia

Ever since Dad was told that he was going to undergo "mandatory retirement", he had been very sentimental and nostalgic. Actually, all of us are upset by this. Mom had finally felt that she has settled down here, Dad is beginning to enjoy the intellectual challenge of teaching students (even if he feels overworked and underpaid for his job as registrar also). E- is finally graduating, and we had been hoping he could apply for a teaching position in the Philippine Christian University (PCU) after he does; he can live with Dad here and both will be members of the faculty.

Dad and Mom, of course, had known that this would be a good place to live and work until Dad retires, but they didn't think that retirement was literally just around the corner. Dad just seems so "not old"; people who retire are those who's hair is gray or white, who walks with a cane and had some disease in their internal organs. Not Dad. Mom doesn't understand why there is such a thing as "mandatory retirement"—if one can still work, if one still desires to work, why shouldn't that one be allowed to work as long as that one can? Dad, on the other hand, had always been a defender of policy, so he will follow the ruling; but he still feels upset, since he still feels strong enough to work. In fact, ever since the birth of D.C., he has never felt younger or more energized. Sometimes, I think that one of the reasons that Dad likes going to work is so that he can show others the baby pictures of his granddaughter.

E- and F- are, as usual, much more vocal in their being upset, and much more prone to the "conspiracy" angle of it all; and I must admit, I am one with them on this. For instance, Dad has been denied a teaching post for a long time, so that his claim to being a member of the faculty would be shaky (even though the reason why he was here was because he was offered a teaching position; I saw the letter). When he finally got those teaching units, he wasn't paid according to his real worth because of the misconception that, just because he was a registrar, he was therefore "staff" and, since he had extra honorarium for that, he didn't need a raise. )Dad writes about his feelings concerning that here.) Then, all of a sudden, he is faculty again, because "staff" can stay as long as they want, but faculty would have to be retired at age 65.

I feel bad for Dad. He has been enjoying his classes. Thanks to his Blogs and to the high-speed internet provided for by the seminary, he has been writing more and his intellect is no longer stagnant. I also feel bad for Mom. She has become very sweet and nice, and both have become healthier and happier. To thrust Dad back into the loop of ecclesiastical politics, where his writing would consist of dumbing down his sermons just so that his members wouldn't think he's elitist of boring, where Mom would, once again, feel the everday stress of living in a fishbowl—this is just too cruel. At their age, too!

We can't change things. It is unfortunate, but we can't change things. And I feel bad that I can't be there for them while they are going through all of this, since I am leaving the country. E-, in fact, has told me that I shouldn't bother about it anymore, since I will be away. But one cannot stop caring for one's family, if one truly loves them, just because one is a continent and an ocean away.