Remembering that day when Nanay passed away

It was one year ago, today, when my mother succumbed to cancer and passed away. 

I just got back from my successful first semester of graduate studies and I was bursting to tell her about all the things that had happened and confess my worries about getting good grades. But instead of a welcoming smile, I was greeted by a mother in agony at the hospital (the same hospital that had neglected my grandfather). I was dismayed of course and I knew somehow that something really bad was going to happen.

On Friday, the day after I arrived home, she asked me what are my plans for the future. I said that I do not know - who could think of something like that at that time. But it was only days after that I realized that she asked me that because I think she was reassuring herself that I would be alright.

Friday, all the way until Saturday, she turned for the worst. She was moaning and groaning, saying random things, singing and humming. By dusk on a Saturday, the doctors decided to transfer her to Tacloban to a "better" hospital. I was to follow the following morning since there was no more room in the ambulance (she was accompanied there by my stepfather, my Aunt Linda and my godmother Nanay Mayet).

I couldn't sleep that night, my instincts are always good and the sinking feeling never went away. Yet, I prayed and prayed and promised to all the gods of every religion if only she'd be okay. At 3 AM, Sunday morning, my cellphone rang - it was Aunt Linda. She said that I don't need to go to the city anymore. I said okay. God, I knew it! I knew it! Guts alert. She called me a second time, a minute after, asking me not to scream.

And she told me the bad news.

I did not scream. Not wanting to alert my grandmother. I just laid down on my bed and stared at the ceiling, an echo reverberating around in my head. 

And I cried.

I texted everyone I know - at least, my friends. Ariane, bless her, promised that she would come later.

What happened after was a blur. Relatives and friends began trickling into the house and preparing it for the "homecoming" of Nanay's body. I went with my cousin, Kuya Jerry, to buy medicine for my grandmother's high blood. No one told her yet. I let my cousins do that. 

I holed-up in my room, only coming out to receive Ariane. And we went and locked ourselves up in my room, playing Aveyond, me wanting to delay.
I only cried that one day and I never cried after - at least in public. In public, I never showed my feelings, even if my annoying godmother told me not to bottle up inside. I felt so deep a sadness that tears were not enough. So I did not cry. I have always had the ability to detach myself from whatever things that I want to detach myself from.

Many people asked how I was feeling during those nine days of novena and prayers, when my mother was lying in state. I looked at them condescendingly and asked with my eyes, "Are you kidding me? What do you think?" I saw all of them as stupid, stupid as their question.

The day she was buried, my godmother told me again to let it all out. I told her to get a life - not out loud, no need to be impolite. My mother's high school friends told me to go near the tomb repeatedly. And I grew angrier and angrier. I repeatedly told them "NO!" Manipulative creatures.

After the interment, I found myself laughing with my friends at home - anything to distract me. After that I went and asked my cousins, all boys, to go  to the beach, build a bonfire and burn the things that were used during the nine-day wake. Together with my two high-school friends, we went there and had a great time.

Now, a year after, everything from that time was surreal and felt like only yesterday. During the last year, I don't know - still feeling lost.


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