Monday, April 07, 2008

day of valor

After going to the hospital today to have lunch with Dad and family, I drove to run some errands around Katipunan. I suddenly felt drawn to go to Loyola Memorial Park, remembering that the holiday today was because of Araw ng Kagitingan, which actually falls on April 9, my lola's birthday.

So off I went to brave the Marikina traffic and to pay a visit to, not just one, but 3 of my lolas at the park. I said my prayers, gave flowers I bought, and sat on the lawn in front of the tombstones. And I thanked them.

I thanked my birthday girl Lola Ima for showing us what valor truly meant, when she walked the Death March on her 18th birthday, alone, facing burnt remnants of where her home once stood in Cupang, Balanga, Bataan, and to rebuild it with her own hands, taking over the reins of her parents, and succeed in sending her brothers, including my maternal grandfather, to college and law school. She never stopped caring for her nieces and nephews (including my mom) as though they were own children even in her early 80s, for she never married or had kids. I remembered her displaying courage despite her senility in the last months of her life, and thanked her for teaching all of us how it is to serve, to love, to be selfless, to be family.

I thanked my grandmother Lola Letty for giving birth to my mom. My lola was like my mom, radiantly exuding beauty, poise and grace even when no one was looking. I prayed to her to look after my mom, because she has been staying at the hospital nonstop, fixing everything Dad needs, eating only after everyone has, and forgetting her own pain so she could soothe Dad's. I thanked her for the gift of music -- she and her sisters were the original showbiz singers in the family, having their own show on the radio. I admired her brave heart as she struggled to fight cancer while still faithfully attending my kuya's boys' choir concerts in her last days, and thanked her for instilling in her children her devotion to the Catholic faith, which has always been Mommy's source of strength.

Finally, I drove near the exit of the park and stopped by to greet Lola Bella. I failed to visit her on her birthday last month, and it was a bit early for her husband's birthday, the oft-mentioned Lolo Cenon. I thanked her for the time I shared with her at her house, when she'd ask me if I had eaten already and if I had a ride home. I prayed in gratitude for the warmth of her daughter's continued concern for me and my family. And I thanked her for the gift of a great love that I will never forget. Her life has inspired me to embrace loss -- not to be crippled, but to allow room to give more.

I left the park and saw a familiar tree with yellow hanging blooms. April showers, my Dad called them. I smiled, knowing those three great women are smiling back at me as I pick up the pieces and rebuild my life. Tomorrow, we will begin preparing as Daddy's return to our home will be, hopefully, sometime this week already.

Truly, this day is a day of valor.

3 things off my bucket list...

i went jetskiing, paintballing and go-karting all in one day yesterday. FOR FREE!

pictures to follow!!!!

Friday, April 04, 2008

nowhere to go but up

What a week! So many things have happened the past few days, it's beginning to overshadow the events last March....
  1. Dad braved through the operation and is gradually getting better (creatinine! mag-normal ka na pwede ba?!?!)
  2. The world's local branch (hehe) transferred to a new building along Quezon Avenue nearer Edsa right before Isuzu. *shameless plug*: we're offering FREE brewed coffee and pastries every morning for those who visit us. more freebies: Kenneth Cole Reaction watc hes, wallet/key fob sets, black bank-branded umbrellas (alliteration fatale!), Sodex Ho Gift Certificates and a chance to win a slim TV if you avail of a card, loan or open a bank account!! Do drop desk is right by the window so if you pass by Q Ave, skip the tunnel and make a U-turn from Edsa and wave hysterically!
  3. I met my quota today in just 4 days into the month! WOW! Finally, I'm back on track!!!
  4. I have parking space at the new office, so I can use my car again!!! Though I think I'm getting the hang of riding jeepneys and walking from my office to the Heart Center (hah! kuripot kasi ako!)
  5. nice people i haven't seen in a while have dropped a line to say hi, and so far, all my weekends are activities ready to jump off the planner!
Of course, things could be better. Ika nga ni mareng Tracey Thorn, "it's mighty quiet here now that you're gone..." at super tahimik nga talaga sa bahay ngayon save for a few punctuated laughs ni Mupy and the barking of my little dog Kitty (mukhang kuting sa liit). Pero I'm thankful for the progressive baby steps we've all taken, grateful for the blessings, slowly accepting the challenges, and preparing to be amazed at my unseen fate.

Di ko nga lang napanood ang Toto (the American group, Igo! hehe) sa Araneta, pero at least yung isang Toto (Sorioso) napanood ko naman kahit isang beses lang sa here to view a most enjoyable performance of his song, Gupit. Na-inspire ako bigla magpunta sa
salon ah.

Sama-sama tayong umangat! =)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

i breathe you.

you used to hug me from behind as we slept at night, giving me all the warmth i needed.
i soon reciprocated and hugged you back when you turned to sleep on your side.
eventually we learned to sleep with our backs pressed against each other, in synchronised, rhythmic breaths.

i breathed you.

finally, i had to outgrow sleeping beside you. i had to unlearn breathing you. i had to unrecognize a rhythm i followed as my own. i have had countless sleepless nights.

lately, i'm pretty sure you've had, too.

but now, as i stand beside you yet away from you, i hear your short gasps. and i start to breathe deeply, hoping you will hear it.

you pause, inhale, and exhale as i do. you pause, inhale, and exhale as i do.

and for one brief moment, we are in rhythm again as I was when I was a child beside you, my lungs almost bursting as i wait for you to take in as much air as your big grown-up lungs can.

i still breathe you. i will help you breathe life back. and you will teach me to take in all that life can bring me, and to return what was given to me unselfishly.

breathe with me, Dad. we will remember it together. and soon we will breathe as we used to.