Tuesday, May 15, 2018

“Just try it, one more time. Beg me to bring down my walls, to surrender my guard. Then step inside my heart and make a home out of it. Ask me to never let you leave. Make memories to decorate the empty space. Write your name in the silence between gentle whispers. Offer your sturdy hands to hold and arms to rest in. Make me feel like you’d never let any of it go for anything. Then fill me with fumes and strike a match. Watch it all go up in flames. Slit the backs of my hands and rub salt and ash into the wounds. Tell me it’s for my own good. Try to cover up the remnants of red and black as if it never happened. Then ask me, one more time, if I’ll be ok without you. I dare you.”

Almost A Century

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Of all the almosts I’ve known, this seems to be the one that’s hardest to grasp.

Earlier this year, you were in-and-out of the hospital due to respiratory problems that led to your immune system’s deterioration. It didn’t change overnight that you were healthy one day then very sick the next. It happened gradually, pneumonia slowly infected your lungs as if you were breathing with thorns in your chest.

N years back, you started to lose your precious memories. With Alzheimer’s wrath that took one connection in your brain after the other, you began to forget detail by detail, and then it was as if the disease vacuumed your remembrance all at once.

It didn’t immediately sink in when my mother approached me one Sunday ago that my father sent her a message saying you’ve passed away, and I checked my phone to find the same text. I was at a loss for words as I try to digest what just happened amidst my research in preparation for my thesis and back-to-back email exchange with hotel and airline for our first out-of-the-country trip.

There were so many things going on, I couldn’t process until tears fell from my eyes, and I started to recollect the moments we had. Although we didn’t live under the same roof, we’ve had a pretty unforgettable time spent together—aside from the Holy Week tradition that you let me, my sister and my cousins watch hampas walk barefoot under the extreme summer heat, it’s most difficult to miss our birthday.

Every 10th of February, I always sat next to you blowing candles as we got old one year until you were 98, and I missed the chance to be there on what I never thought would be your last birthday on with us. You were almost a century old. I could’ve had a grandmother who’s 100 years old, but I’ve come to realize how it’s not in the length of life you’ve lived, but what it was worth for you and the people around you.

It’s undeniable how remarkable your life has been knowing how you told us your fun-filled childhood stories like when you farted in class and your classmate was blamed for it and how amazing of a mother you were—seeing how my dad, aunt and uncles were raised and molded into decent individuals.

And for that, thank you. Happy Mother’s Day, Nana! Rest well.

Saturday, May 12, 2018