Father’s Day Reflections: Navigating Life Without a Father

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Death is a profound and challenging experience. Despite our efforts to prepare, the reality of life without our loved ones is incredibly tough to grasp.

Not being able to call, talk, and see them every day intensifies our grief, making it more difficult to overcome.

By cherishing memories, finding support from others who have experienced loss, and embracing the realities of life, we can gradually heal.

This Father’s Day, let’s hear a daughter’s beautiful way of remembering her father and repurposing her grief into something meaningful.

Karla Victoria Cortes, 37, president of Kaabag Mandaue, is a bubbly, loving, and clingy daughter to her father, Victor Emmanuel Cortes.

Karla and her younger sister Angeli Victoria Cortes, are big daddy’s girls and would always cling to their dad no matter the weather. Their bond was something most would be envious of.

Karla, her mother, Cheryl, father, Victor and younger sister, Angeli.

Karla, her mother, Cheryl, her father, Victor, and her younger sister, Angeli.

But life took a different turn when Victor took his last breath on September 2020 after battling liver cancer for three years.

He was 66.

Karla and her family’s world took a pause, not sure how to navigate life after their dad’s passing.

“My dad was the loudest part of my life. I could feel his presence every morning, waking me up two hours before my alarm rang. Every morning, I would complain. I would say, “dada, saba kaayo ka.” He would tell my sister and I, “mingawon mo nako kung mamatay nako,” shared Karla.

Now, Karla would wake up by herself, in silence wishing her dad’s voice would echo into her room.

Her dad was a big man inside and outside their home. He made big gestures for their family and the community, but for Karla, it was the small things he did that made a huge dent in her.

“The daily I love you’s from him. If I was busy he would send me text messages of I love you. But, I had to navigate this world, in this fatherless version of myself,” she added.

She recalled that all her car problems were solved by her dad, when the weather was bad, an umbrella is there waiting for Karla prepared by her dad.

“He was always there. He was always present in the little and big things in my life. His absence was loud and consuming, life without him feels somewhat consuming,” said Karla.

Karla and her father, Victor.

Karla and her father, Victor.

But aware that her dad would not want her to wallow in sadness because of his passing, Karla lives her life loving the people who were close to her dad and continuing his legacy making his absence less painful.


“Life without daddy is sometimes limiting. So, whenever that feeling comes I remember to

be kind because that’s what he always taught me.”


This year will be Karla’s third Father’s Day without her loving father, Victor.

To some, it may be their first Father’s Day without their fathers, Karla said it will always feel the same. You will always miss the first man you loved— your dad.

“Like me, fatherless on Father’s Day, grief and growth go together. We can never control, nor predict our loved ones who leave us when they leave us. Instead, we grow through it,” she added.

Karla lives her day-to-day life remembering the fondest memory she has with her dad, and that is seeing and witnessing how her mother, Cheryl Barba Cortes, and her dad, Victor love each other.

Angeli, Victor and Karla

Angeli, Victor and Karla.

For her, her dad left very big shoes to fill, but by just remembering the things her dad taught her, and repurposing grief into something greater, Karla is set to achieve another goal and that is to make her father proud of her from up above.

To all the fathers in heaven, Happy Father’s Day.

Thank you for paving the way for your children to do something greater to honor you and your legacy.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DAD!         /rcg


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