Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
I have a memory of his shirt chafing my cheek, of the creak of my bedroom door, of the sudden warmth of the light in my room.
Years later, he would still carry me, every time our street got flooded and I would refuse to miss my 7:30 class. By this time, I was already a teacher, but in his eyes, I was still his little girl in need of being carried to a dry patch of street, seven houses away, so my schoolteacher's shoes wouldn't get soaked. He would wait for a dyip with me, and I would wave goodbye, both of us quietly laughing at the hilarity of it all.
I have a memory of the sloshing of the water, and of his back as he would slowly wade his way back home. I have a memory of the sound of his feet, and of the rhythm of his breathing.
On the day that he died, we had been laughing about a piece of pastry that had gone missing in the ref. Conveniently, of course, we had pinned the crime on the Chubby Brother, but my father's laughter was his admission of guilt. He was diabetic, and I remember the pastry conspiracy that sprung unspoken between us at that moment. It was my turn to carry him then, towards a reprieve from a hard and tedious life--towards his own dry patch of street seven houses away.
Some days, I look back and I see that we have never arrived on his dry patch. The floodwaters have caught up, and I had failed him.
But some days, I look back and I would know that this could not be true. He never allowed us to feel that we were causing him any trouble, much less allow us to think that we've failed him in any way. I could wash myself clean afterwards, he'd say every time. We'd get to a dry place in a jiffy, he'd say, assuring his girls that it was a small bother. The neighbors who saw us would fondly cheer him on, calling out to us, Palangga kaayo ni Papa o!
Today, I brave the floodwaters on my own. But when the wading gets hard, it is still him who carries me towards a reprieve, towards my dry patch of street.
And these are what I keep, when I doubt what I deserve. When I forget that I, too, matter as much as the people I love. The memory of this service.
"See, here," the memory says. "You had been loved like this."
Sunday, July 5, 2015
July 6, 2015
Always. I have to pause in the middle of a lecture, from my tasks, in my tracks. I stop because I have to acknowledge your non-presence. All of a sudden, This does not make sense.
Towards what end do I slave away, or struggle, or endure? For what am I kind, or thoughtful or honest?Your death eats away at all my reasons.
And I want to stay there, in that pause, where you are.
We will forever be a heartbeat apart, forever a soul away--my breath is our distance; our memory, my curse.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Perhaps, sitting there on the shore at dusk, across the immense gray vastness, is the closest I will ever get to them. This infinity separates us.
But then the horizon disappears, and for this little while, it is all the distance that I need.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Because we can never truly handle the enormity of the grief of loss, we deal only with its pieces. We deal with the sadnesses—in the plural.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Epiphanies that come in the middle of the day are powerful epiphanies.
They are those that make you stop at the turn of a familiar aisle in the grocery when you suddenly realize that you will not need to get anything from that aisle anymore. Right there, at the aisle crossing, in the middle of little kids playing tag around pushcarts, and above the din of half-meant threats thrown by parents at their unruly children, you suddenly realize you have actually ceased being a daughter.
*My parents died two weeks of each other in October. We buried them two weeks apart, in the same place, after a similar ceremony, around the same people who knew them or who know us. We dug the earth again, while it was still soft— when it hasn’t even begun to heal at all.