Silence came upon me hearing my teenage señorita surmise about her late grandfather: “perhaps Lolo is far away now, he is no longer making any signs.”
Paramdam is special to us bereaved ones. Sort of a pride and joy. To sense Tatay trying to keep in touch in any way is a consolation. Everybody wants their share of his paramdam.
We have just laid his remains to rest, right after the “Forty Days.” They say the soul of the departed hangs around only within this forty-day period. Thereafter, they finally leave the world.
She could be right.
His last days at the Lung Center were the most intense. Unbelievably, the support of kind souls were no less intensified. Rough times bring people together.
It’s nice to be reunited with friends, close friends, long lost friends, relatives. They rush to our side at the most difficult time. The atmosphere transformed from grief to get-together. They were morphine, they kept the pain away. From hospital to burial.
I have come to appreciate this Pinoy practice of “damayan.”
And then, the dust settles and everyone moves on with their life. Somehow it hit me, as if coming from a drugged and deep slumber: it really is over. We wont’ be seeing much of Tatay anymore. This is really goodbye. Forlornness begins.
My father bade goodbye like a hundred times. Could be his way of conditioning our minds to soften his departure; to cushion the fall; to go gently. To effect his passing as a very mundane routine.
Although he did a good job at that, it was spine-chilling everytime.
Goodbye is a tragic word. I think of the past and remembers his numerous goodbyes. The trips here and abroad. The airport to my mind has become a lonely place.
When my mother died, we were just a brood of three budding bubwits (with kuya and diko). They sent us under the care of my uncle in Malolos where Tatay would come on weekends, riding on his big red 1972 Honda. Such a delight to be rebonded. And fool around with his crash helmet.
Monday morning he bids goodbye again. He would take us for a short spin around town and then to school before making his way back to Manila. Monday to my mind has become such a lonely day.
Today, I feel like the same 6-year-old. Strange how, after so many years, I am more or less the same little boy to his goodbye.
The day he died I was in Baguio City. A hundred miles from his deathbed. I traveled the distance to keep the 6-year-old me from watching him go.
Nobody knew it, but I was the weakest link.
The rush hour traffic of Roxas Boulevard grounded me atop Buendia flyover. I have just dropped my señorita to her place in Cavite after dropping both Mommy Helen and Olan at the airport. Everybody’s taking a respite from it all.
Now I am all alone on my father’s Vios. Gazing at the glorious sun fading away, accompanied by Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears in Heaven’ on Retro 105.9. A beautiful concurrence of sights and sound. There must be something — a message — behind these two events existing at the same time: he must be saying he is well on his way now.
What a nice day for goodbye.