dialysis twice a week for three years which made her temper even more intolerable;
I realized how Ina’s caregivers only lasted for three months at most with several unvarying excuses to leave the job;
I realized how Ina’s love that came in a form of hatred could possibly just be misinterpreted by us;
I realized how every death becomes a family reunion;
I realized when death’s painful part would be.
The second you know you lost a loved one, shock overwhelms pain with a chance of tears would overflow your eyes, the cadaver’s brief trip to the funeraria for a double-kill, slight more hurtful. Then the delivery arrived at your house, it’s your loved one—in a coffin. Bitterness takes a leave and would be back without further notice. The mind starts to realize that she’s already dead, thus temporarily at peace or feeling neutral, as if nothing happened.
Burol has now officially started. Both of Nanay and Ina’s burol lasted for nine days—a family reunion, not to mention a bounty of both foods and visitors, for more than a week. In the middle of the long week, you’d feel as if this would never end—accompanying of visitors, serving foods for more than thrice a day, the bills, and such. Now the final night arrives, then you’d wish that this internment would never end. The whole family is complete, not until tomorrow. The day of the burial, bitterness’ siesta is over. It’s back, more intense and alive than it used to be.
Seeing your loved one lying under the altar—a place where she was first blessed, and now, this would be her very last – adorned with flowers, relatives and friends, the crying epidemic began—when one cries or squeals, expect a chain of reaction. I hate that.
Marching towards the cemetery, at first, you’d try to contain yourself, reminding that you are already out of tears, when in fact you are bracing yourself for the incoming royal pain.
Reaching the final destination, the coffin is opened for final anythings (whispers, letters, touches, kisses), then it hit you that she’s not humanly warm anymore, skin as stiff and colored as wood.
Watching the body lowering down six feet under, your knees and heart start to crumble. No more tears, just screaming—whether inside or outside; then all of a sudden, at peace and light-hearted on the way home.
At night, you’re not afraid of ghosts anymore, realizing you were wrong for thinking there’s no more tears to cry, the thought of your loved one slowly decomposing and becoming a part of the Earth, slowly un-existing, dead and gone is the Royal Pain.
After Nanay’s, I had the urge to start anew with Ina, my last grandparent. As expected, she does not even give effort to me, on us. Not until I attended with my mom, together with Ina on her wheelchair, last summer’s healing mass. When she finally rekindles her heart of steel and produces a little warmth—that’s a milestone, for me and for Ina. However, that would be the last and warmest time with her. I expected and yearned for more time with her, even with just a bit of warmth given. How come when she has finally given a chance to do things right, then all of a sudden, she’d be gone? Maybe that little warmth was all she can give. Maybe that bit of warmth was all that I need to let go of this all.
There’s a saying how a masamang damo is the last one standing. Leaving at an early age of 64, well, I hate to break it, but, she isn’t that masamang damo like what I used to think of her.
She was my grandmother.
It is not easy, nor impossible to shift my initial feelings on her towards the opposite through those memories, and those alone. I hardly felt her presence nor absence. That final memory still is no match to the scars she’s caused my mom and to me as a result–as of now, maybe. Hopefully.
I have two grannies, the left and the right.
Both had passed away. But both did not leave my memory. The left, has a special place in me ever since; the right, slowly but gradually paving its way.