I will not forget the saddest trip I had in my life. It was exactly two years ago today. I can still remember being by myself at the airport. I was just crying on my seat. I could not help it and I did not care anymore. While the rest of the people around me looked so happy and excited, I was just broken. It was a very difficult time, that day and the next two weeks.
I flew right away as I heard that our father was resuscitated. Everything was just so sudden. I had to fly thousands of miles just to get in time. It was somehow a blessing to still find him there although he was already unconscious. I am not sure up to now if he even knew I was there. And watching him for the next 14 days was traumatic.
I wrote about that experience here right after I came back home. Losing a person very close to your heart is very painful beyond words. It was raw and unedited. Until today, I still do not have the courage to read it over again.
This morning, my sister and I were talking. She said something. “Most days are so busy, we go about our lives without thinking about him.. but there are definitely times when a lot of things around us no matter how simple remind us if him. And those moments we think of him is just heart breaking and makes me feel like crying.” It is true, I try not to think of him because it makes me sad. However, it is just unavoidable. The person you love will always be a part of you.
I hear a lot of times some people would like to say “MOVE ON”. What does moving on mean? Yes, we have moved on. We have continued to live our lives. But when you talk about someone you love, who has passed, it just means that you remember them. You miss them and that you love them. And that is absolutely natural. It is okay.
Exactly a week ago, we physically said goodbye to our father. It was his interment. Everyday, sadness is a constant feeling in my heart. Mommy Eve and my siblings also feel the same way. We have to deal with it everyday. Memories flood me. I look at his pictures everyday…
I was at the park last Tuesday morning at 8:30 am. While I was looking at the beautiful view, the trees, the magnificent skies, I was remembering that it was the time last week that I was at the Intensive Care Unit watching my father die.
Sometimes it still feels very surreal, how the present time suddenly becomes a past. I close my eyes and I see I was crying at the airport. Next I see my Tatay suffering everyday. Then I see myself looking at his lifeless body. Followed by the wake and then the burial. Now I am back to my life here in the US carrying all these memories in my heart.
This morning I organized my closet. I set aside all my colorful clothes and put out the black, white, and greys. It is part of the culture/tradition in the Philippines when mourning to wear these colors for a year. So for this remaining year and until August 5, 2016 I shall have my new “wardrobe”. I love wearing bright colors but this time, the black, white and grey completely describe how I feel about losing my father.
I know things will get better in time. I will just have to go through this. This is part of living, part of being alive. To experience loss of a loved one.
“The Filipino practices for mourning have influences from Chinese, Japanese and folk Catholic beliefs. People may wear white or black. The color red is frowned upon in the time of mourning, it is believed that those who wear red within 9–40 days will die or suffer illness. The consumption of chicken during the wake and funeral is also believed to bring death among the relatives. There is an initial 9-day mourning practice called Pasiyam, a novena is to be prayed by those who are mourning. During those 9 days the spirit of the deceased is believed to be roaming. 40 Days, similar to the Buddhist practice of 49 days, is a folk Filipino Catholic practice of commemorating the dead after 40 days from their death date. A Mass and a small feast are held to commemorate the dead during the 40-day period, the 40th day as their judgment day. The immediate family wear black and when the one-year period is over, the first death anniversary will signal the end of mourning – celebrated by a feast.”