Veneration of the Dead (Is really, really important in Eastern Cultures)

I didn’t visit any cemetery until 2014, the year papa died. So I am not well aware of what to do when visiting a grave. But for the few times we visited papa’s, we didn’t even pay proper respect. No flowers, candles, and food were offered. We just stood there silently and looked at the name etched on the marble lapida along with the wrong birthdate of papa.. And then, we stopped by a restaurant to eat before going home.

I want to justify myself and my mom that it’s okay to not give proper respect:

-He’s dead, so he won’t even know it.

-Our presence is enough to show that we respect him.

Living in a country that is religiously following these customs, we might get a few eyes looking at us, may be mocking us in their minds because of not giving respect to the deceased. But, whatever, I still love papa and I might or might still not bring flowers, candles, and food the next time I visit him.

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Lemon Lime Colored Curtains and the Limitations of Life

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Of lemon-and-lime-colored curtains lies behind a sky unsure whether to hide the sun or showcase it. This embodies the exact feelings of this little lady still unsure whether to mature or not go that way yet. Numbers float in her mind thinking what limits the life – her life and the lives of her loved ones. What could possibly be the cause of every limitation? What could be done? Why would then we try to break free from the limitations if in the end we will all be limited, buried under the ground?

Even the time spent being young and free is limited. Yet, every breathing being still wants to experience the high of the unlimited. It’s a feeling that sends man to the heaven of heavens. For a time, people are unchained and unstoppable able to conquer the world and the minds of the other beings. They find love and fall in love for a lifetime. They find love and fall out of it. Everything has a time limit. But people do not notice it until the time has come.

And then the time comes. Age becomes old, strength collapses, memory diminishes, and death comes – sometimes at peace, sometimes in the worst way – death comes for you or your loves, as promised. You, then, acknowledge the limitation of life, of everything. You miss what’s gone but realize that soon, you’ll be gone too.

Even the lemon-and-lime-colored curtains limit the view of the unsure sky that’s half-hiding the sun and half-showing the grey clouds that are about to cry.

The Moment Mom Broke the News, I Stopped Crying

It’s been a month since papa died. I can still remember how it went.

We were eating buko pie my mom brought from Laguna.

Then papa suddenly fell down in the garage and vomited violently.

Mom rushed him to the hospital.

I followed to get clothes for papa in case he gets confined.

Five seizures and three hours later, papa was no more.

I was not there. While he was being transferred from the ER to a substitute ICU (as there were none at the moment), I was just crying at the stairs far from the room. I tried to enter once but papa saw that I cannot handle it and he ordered me to get out. I did voluntarily. That was the last time I saw papa’s face. He was struggling. And even though I was far from the room, I still heard how the heart monitor flat-lined. SHxT, sometimes, I hate these keen senses that I have.

I was sitting by the stairs, mom went and told me that papa’s gone. From that moment, I decided to stop crying. I did not see papa’s body for the last time. Instead, I went down. Some of the people I called were there and I asked if we can go to Starbucks (at12m.n) to get something. I jokingly said if they have a funeral coffee, and then I broke down. I felt guilty for not being there at papa’s last moments. I regretted that he was not able to attend ANY of my graduations since I started school and he won’t be able to attend not only this time but for every occasion in the future. I regretted the time that I insist on leaving la salle. I should have finished my degree there so that even for the last time, papa would be able to march me.

I did not cry at the funeral.

I didn’t want my mom to see me crying. I didn’t want others to see me crying because they would all say the same thing: that I have to be strong for my mother. I knew it very well, I knew it more than they do. But I really wanted to cry. I really wanted to break down, to cry so loud so that people would see how awful I was feeling. I also want someone to hug me tightly while crying. But I did not cry because mom had been crying a lot already, therefore I have to appear strong, and so deprived myself from the right of feeling terrible.

I did not cry at the burial.

I mastered the art of not crying in front of other people. I usually have shallow tears. I cry over a really good drama easily. But this real-life drama of mine, I decided not to. People now thought that I am really brave for not crying. I hate it.

I still cry. Secretly. And I don’t like it.

I wanted to have a good cry — a really good one that my eyes would be so red people will see the sadness.

I wanted to cry like that but I also don’t want to be unfair with people. Me crying and they have to be sad even if they aren’t, just to comfort me. That’s unfair. So I’m waiting for that one person, even just one, who would ask me to cry on his shoulders because he knows how badly I need one.

Papa

The death of papa was sudden. We’re moving on but it’s still sad. It was not a nice memory but it’s not something to be forgotten. It’s still hard to write something about it. He fought a good fight here and he’s with the Savior now.