Tag Archives: death

I Needed a Hanky on a Rainy Day

umbrellaOn a rainy day like this, I remember my dad insisting he will walk with me to the main street, armed with a huge umbrella, to get  a ride to the office. All because he knows I hate carrying a wet umbrella during commute. Yes, he understands my weirdness. 🙂

He will then put his arm on my shoulder and off we walk.

When my ride finally arrives, he’ll still have that umbrella on my head, then I’ll kiss him goodbye. And he’ll wait until the vehicle speeds away before he walks back home.

I remember this one passenger’s wistful look and I just smiled at her. I thought, how many fathers indeed do this to their grown-up kid? I guess we’re just lucky to have a father who’s sweet in his own way.

And today, I wished that umbrellas have the power to shield us not just from the rains but from heartaches and sadness brought forth by memories like this.

I terribly miss this man. To think that I told him he doesn’t have to do it because I have my umbrella anyway. But I’m just so thankful for those times that he insisted.

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All Your Children Want For Dinner Is You

My eyes are getting all messy again lately.  For reason that I thought I was already used to by now.  Apparently not.

I shuffled the songs on my playlist and as if on cue, Encounters With A Yeti‘s last track from their Pilot album came sneaking through my earphones. How literally apt. All Your Children Want For Dinner is You.

An awesome track that had me feeling so horribly miserable. Because it is exactly what we want. Something as mundane as having dinner with my father again. A simple enough wish if only death has not impossibly wedged itself between us and my father.

I remember bringing my dinner one time to their room because he can barely walk then. My mom went, “Bakit dito ka pa kakain?” I just made an incoherent mumble and went on eating as she assisted my father as he ate. That was the last time I had dinner with him. We sat silently in bed as we both ate. When before we eat with the tv on and with conversations that will start with one topic and end with another.

He enjoys this boodle feast so much and I don't know if I can enjoy this as much as I did when we're with him.

He enjoys this boodle feast so much and I don’t know if I can enjoy this as much as I did when we’re with him.

Chatting during dinner is never encouraged when we were kids. Well, they’re old school. They were reared that way, so were we. But as we grew up, dinner is filled with chatter about almost anything; from the ABS CBN soaps that my mother watch to PBA games that my father is fond of. He’s even brainwashed us to be Jaworski fans too! Fun times 🙂

While you still have the chance, spend time with your parents. As that saying goes, don’t be so busy growing up that you forget they’re growing old. Even as you fought and argued with them, you will miss them. The littlest of things will remind you of them. You will feel that catch in your throat. Your eyes will well. And you will try your darndest to fight the tears threatening to fall. You can act tough and hide behind a smile or just give in.

Note to self: Keep yourself busy. Go on a trip. Solo or otherwise.

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As I Look Back

image (4)I sat still. Didn’t leave the house except for errands, on days when most people went somewhere for the Holy Week. I don’t know if it did me good or not. With lack of substantial thing to do apart from organizing my closet that looked as though a hurricane swept past, (Oh! And hanging on to dear sanity every time a lonesome jelly and a single move stand in the way of getting on to the next level in Candy Crush Saga… 🙂 ) I was pretty much left alone with my thoughts. Cue in background music (ala Tito Boy when he wants to make his interviewer bawl out like a  baby).

Growing up in an old school family, we are not allowed to  be “happy” during this time. It’s because we commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice for us all and the least we can do is spend these days praying, going to church for the Way of the Cross and watching The Ten Commandments, The Seven Last Words…and yes, no meat until Easter Sunday. But because we’re such crazy kids, it’s when we got told off to be serious that we can’t help giggling over the most nonsensical thing. The look we get from our parents will make other kids scuttle under a rock but we just pretend that we weren’t doing anything and go giggle like loonies once they’re out of sight.

297327_10150341707032950_1347469721_nAnd just like that, memories of my father came flashing back again. Because this year, we didn’t get to watch the Seven Last Words with him… actually, we’ll be lucky if we get past the fourth word before we find ourselves snoring on the mat by the tv. We lay side by side and we’ll occasionally hear mom sniffing as she watch testimonials on The Words.

And that day in 2012 when I spent the afternoon with my nephew as he helped me pack the chocolates and candies we bought that will be given away on Easter to the kids in the neighborhood. I miss the kids. If only they can just stay here and leave gloomy UK for good.

Or maybe I miss being a kid. To not to have to worry about anything and just go to school and hopelessly wait when the next vacation is and just play until we hear my father’s distinct “sitsit” and my mom’s endless chatter when we get home.


There’s this lump in my throat that won’t go away ever since watching Magnifico with my mom and brother earlier. I watched this movie before and it didn’t affect me as much as it did today. Maybe because losing someone dear is still fresh. I was hoping to lose this feeling since 4PM but even as I drank some bottled cocktail, it’ still here.  Maybe because death in the family, no matter how much you prepare yourself for the pain, you are never prepared. You will never be.

They say you can’t move forward if you keep looking back. But I choose to look back. On the things that made me happy and sad; scared and strong. I look back as far as I can into my childhood; into those times during adulthood. Because it makes me appreciate what we have right now. It is not much. But it is enough.

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All Reds Aside

The Unofficial Guide to Wake and Funeral Etiquette and Some Superstitious Beliefs

When anything bright especially red must be set aside for a year.

When anything bright especially red must be set aside for a year.

It’s easy to wallow in Misery Avenue when a love one passes away. But being as we are, we manage to smile, even crack a joke and laugh like a loony at certain times. A way of coping, perhaps.

I realized then that you don’t grieve 24/7. You grieve at the time your loved one passed on, and then you put your grief on hold to do what you have to do. And grieve again when all’s quiet and all you hear is his voice when he jokingly says “Good morning in the morning” to his grandchildren or when he greets us over Skype, “Hello darling” (he mostly tells my sister this since she lives far away; the only time he called me that was when I got deployed in Hong Kong for a few months).

So, in our case (and in our haste), we thought we had everything ready for those prepping my father’s body and then we realized (we’re already far from the house) we hadn’t packed his boxers.  We were mortified! Because father will turn in his grave (or in his urn?) if we let him went commando. And then we laughed. Then went silent again.

So I tasked myself to take care of dad’s boxers and the nibbles and drinks that we must ready for those who will visit him. Now this is where all the etiquette comes in and what we have to prep for the next few days. Phew! I finally segued to what this is all about. 🙂

Pasiyam and 40 Days

We got lost in counting when his pasiyam will be as there was confusion as to when is day 1:  the day of his death or the day he’s  buried/cremated. We opted for the latter as that was the day we started the novena prayer. Forty days, on the other hand, begins on the day of his death.

“Proper” Response When People Say “Condolence”

The old folks told us that when people text or tell us that they’re condoling with us, we MUST not say “Thank you”.

I’m like, so what do we say then? “Same to you”? Or if crush texted or dropped by, you say, “Love you too”?

Since this is a first for us, plus my siblings and I are not really ‘old school’ so we still say ‘thank you’, especially if it’s a text message. I’m thinking it’s rude not to reply when people went out of their way to make you feel you’re not alone.

But if someone personally condoles with you and you don’t want to say thank you, then a handshake  or a hug will suffice. Actually if someone you care about, ok fine, you’re crushing on does that… naman! Parang naka-score ka lang. 😛 What a fleeting relief from sadness.

What to Bring to a Wake / Funeral

It is customary to give mass cards, flowers (yes, the one with the stand. And no, you don’t give that kind for Valentine’s 😛 ) and abuloy (monetary assistance). 

Some bring food (e.g. sandwiches, biscuits) and this is actually very helpful and practical since there is an off chance that food is the last thing on the grieving family’s minds or it can serve as an emergency stash for the guests.

Clothes to Wear and the Appropriate Color

As respect to the family, refrain from wearing loud, bright, neon colored clothes. Unless of course their grief and misery give you much to be happy about (eh kung ganun din lang, wag ka na pumunta at baka isama ka dun sa pinaglalamayan).

And yes, shorts that can be easily mistaken for underwear has no place in a wake. Ang burol ay hindi isang okasyon para mag boy-hunting. 

Should An Ex (Bf/Gf/Friend) Personally Visit? 

For me, Yes. Especially if you live within a reasonable distance  and you have personally met the deceased several times. You go there not for your whatever-kind-of-ex but for the deceased who welcomed you to their home at pinakiharapan ka ng maayos at di ka binastos inspite of all that the deceased knew about you.

There’s No Buffet in Grief

Clearly, you are going to a wake and not to a party, therefore, please do not expect the grieving family to have a buffet prepared. Unless they are part of a society who can manage to have a funeral coordinator and take care of these things for them. Take Mang Dolphy’s wake; there was a separate function hall for the buffet and a place that Annabelle Rama chose to showcase her classy behavior.

The family usually prepares nibbles and drinks since people traveled to condole with you; that’s the least you can do for them. Offer coffee, juice, soda, or water and sandwiches, biscuits or chips because the horrible traffic may have gotten them all hungry even if they have already eaten earlier.

Some Superstitious Beliefs One Should Know:

Don’t sweep the floors during the wake.

Because your whole family might be swept away by the Grimm Reaper. But since we opted to have the wake in a funeral place, part of their service was to keep the place tidy. But I noticed they don’t sweep. They mop the floors instead.

During the wake period, don’t take a bath at your house; take a bath somewhere else.

This I don’t get why and so we still took a bath at our own house. So far, we’re all ok. 😉

If you will put a rosary in the hand of the deceased, make sure you cut it.

So there will not be consecutive deaths in the family.

The deceased should not wear shoes.

I don’t know the logic behind this. But I’m thinking, maybe so they won’t make a sound in case they visit you late at night. Well, they don’t like scaring you, right?  😀

Don’t go home straight after visiting a wake or attending a funeral.

This is so you don’t bring home the negative vibes (i.e. sadness, grief, misery) with you. So shake these off by going to a resto, coffee shop or mall before going home.

Change your clothes as soon as you get home.

Same reason as above but make sure you stash those clothes outside your house, like your backyard. Basta outside your house; if you care to take it literally, go! 😉

Never take home food that you prepared for guests or food offered to you during the wake/funeral.

For families who held the wake at a funeral home, food served to the  guests must not be taken home. Leave it there. Malas daw. In the same manner that food offered when you visit the wake, must be eaten there, even candy. Wag mo na ipabalot. 😛 


I bet there’s a lot of things I missed but this is it for now. With all that’s happened between then and now, death has a funny way of letting you see both the dead and the living, a little  differently; with a little more love or a lot more disdain that you can possibly feel.


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Mindless Late Night Wanderings: Losing

I never felt what real sadness was like until I lost my father. It’s a sadness that comes from out of the blue and just walks in on you when you least expect it, like when you’re onboard a public transpo or when you’re watching Les Misérables. Of all places! Really.

My usually makulit two-year old niece asked me where Lolo is and I said he's in heaven with Papa Jesus and off she went to Lola and said, "Lola, iwan mo din ako?" That broke the dam. Again.

My usually makulit two-year old niece asked me where’s Lolo and I said he’s in heaven with Papa Jesus and off she went to Lola and said, “Lola, iwan mo din ako?” That broke the dam. Again.

I didn’t know if I was crying for Jean Valjean or for what happened that tragic Saturday morning. It started with a lump in my throat then progressed to difficulty in swallowing; then my eyes started to well and then the entire dam just broke. So when everyone else have gathered themselves and I was still sniffing, I knew it wasn’t Jean Valjean.

The sadness of losing a parent is never the same as losing a boyfriend to another or someone who considered you their favorite person, yet just walked away without as much as a goodbye. The melancholia is not even close to realizing that someone deleted your number and so when you texted an entire novel and all you get is “who u”;  or crushing over someone who makes you feel so giddy just seeing their name on your phone but doesn’t see your sheer awesomeness. It’s not even close to unrequited love.

It’s a sadness that just tears you apart. As you remember every gritty detail of that person who fed you when you were little; helped you through your toilet-training days; took you to school and fetched you; spanked you; carried you to your room as you feign sleeping on the couch; taught you songs; held your hand when you crossed the street… And a whole lot of memories that will forever be just that. Memories.

They say it gets easier with time. Maybe. I’m sure it will be. But now, it’s just painful; especially when everything’s quiet and everyone else is asleep. And then you have to be ok because you just can’t fall apart. There’s work, and then there’s still mom who needs us, no matter how strong she may seem. I can see beyond the strength. 

And so until we get used to this sadness and void in our lives, tomorrow and the next days may just as well be another show.


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