Just another Monday

Last Monday, I heard that a girl from college passed away. She was 36. We used to just smile at each other in the hallway, but we didn’t really know each other. She was pretty, unassuming and quiet and, according to friends who knew her, had a really good heart. She got cancer last year and it had spread to her bones. I remember my mom telling me about a family friend who died of bone cancer before, how she was in so much pain. And I think about that girl in college with the pretty smile; I hope her last days were not spent in unbearable pain.

That kind of Monday makes me think of my dad.

He died on a Monday. While everyone was busy, while all his children were out at work, he was sitting on his bed waiting for my mom to bring him to hospital (he was in and out of hospitals the previous three years) when he quietly passed away.

I was in the middle of a deadline in the office. My cell phone’s battery was dying so calls kept getting cut off. A text message from my aunt who told me to go to the hospital because my dad was rushed there made me get up, save my files, shut down my computer, and leave word with my boss and the rest of the magazine staff on what still needed to be edited and laid out. I kept calm and thought (hoped) it was going to be just one of those hospital visits. He’ll be back home in a few days. There was nothing to worry about. But a little part of me knew it was going to be different. Surprisingly I immediately got a cab. Cabs in the Philippines usually have names and the old, clunky cab that stopped in front of me had “In God’s Loving Arms” as its name. That kind of detail never leaves you. I didn’t know whether to cry at this “sign” or laugh at somebody’s odd sense of humor.

On the day of my dad’s funeral, the one thing that I remembered clearly when we brought his body from the funeral home to the crematorium were all the people on the street–getting on a jeepney, walking up the MRT steps, on their cars driving somewhere, anywhere, going about their lives. All the while, you had this grief inside you, it feels very personal, but it also seems so much bigger than you. You wonder how life can go on. Not so much that it would stop because somebody important to you died (although there’s a moment when a part of you wonders about that too), but that he could no longer be a part of it. Any of it. He’s in a box. He’s not going anywhere. He’s in a better place. He’s not here.

Last Monday, I also heard that two good friends just got  engaged. Happy news. I introduced them and set them up on a disaster of a date almost a decade ago. Years later they saw each other again and disaster date was long forgotten. He proposed in Kensington Gardens. She said it was all silly. I can’t wait to see them. Give her a great big hug. Tell them how lucky they both are.

That kind of Monday also makes me feel grateful to the people I still have in my life. To engagements, to my husband calling in the middle of the day just because, to my family, to friends. Yes, it was one of those Mondays.

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16 thoughts on “Just another Monday

  1. Going to the city hall today to get my papers notarized and then hunting for apartments—finally dealing with the things I’d been putting off—I was reminded again of how dad made it infinitely easy for me to deal with these grownup “stuffs.” He was just always in charge. I remember him getting my TIN before I even graduated from college. Then he made sure I had my Pagibig, SSS, Philam, all those numbers that made me a legitimate grownup. He got all these information on my behalf. He was really good with logistics and getting things done. This morning, anxious, I thought, “If dad were here…,” but everyone was really just extra helpful—the guard actually walked me to the notary public’s office, I had a nice vegan lunch, appointments were canceled and the week is none the worse for it (in fact gave me more time), and then I found a strong contender of an apartment in a nice neighborhood—and I realize now, he was.

    • Sister hug!
      I was just talking to mom about dad’s special talent for getting these things done a few days ago. When mom was cleaning up his cabinets, she saw all these papers in neat piles, important receipts and documents divided and labeled–from something as major as when the house was built to, yes, all those numbers that made us grownups. He was just awesome that way, wasn’t he 🙂

  2. I have expended precious effort writing about a whole host of things careering from “absolutely useless” (the Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act) to “of moderate meaning” (How to Save; although this topic straddles the territory of “absolutely useless”, too.) to “attended with the urgency of reserved for high tea with the Pope ” (I want that handbag in the shade “outremer”. Now.).

    But I can never write about my father’s passing.

    That’s why I had a good sigh over you writing about yours. My father (yours too, I’m sure), is not someone to be recovered from. But having now said that, we have been very fortunate, haven’t we?

  3. Hi Mariella, thank you for the kind comment. I know what you mean when it comes to writing about a whole host of things (yes, including the “absolutely useless”). I only started writing about my father’s death, a few years after and it is still with much difficulty. You are right of course: we were very fortunate when our fathers were with us (and I’m also very grateful for it)…which is why we may never fully recover from their passing. I wish you all the best in your writing.

  4. My comment was so random, but I was blog-hopping and happened upon your blog. Lovely writing. 🙂 Re: my dad- I think the writing’s there somewhere in the ether just waiting to be claimed.

    In the meantime, I shall busy myself writing about Barcelona Football Club. They’re purveyors of the most stylish football, have been the winningest club in recent history, home to quite a number of supersuperfootballers; partner with no less than UNICEF… They are the golden boys of the beautiful game, no two ways about it… That said, I shall write about how thoroughly loathsome I find them. Ahaha.

    I want to go to Tokyo, too! I was in the Kansai region over autumn last year, and absolutely loved the drama of the leaves turning. There was a moment, standing under the golden leaf shower of the giant gingko tree fronting Nishi Honganji, where everything suddenly seemed on pause. Pampelikula!

    Tapos, nagalit ang tour guide dahil naghihintay na pala ang bus. 🙂

    Best of luck to you, too. You must exchange links with other sites. Up your readership because your blog deserves it!

    • Thanks, Mariella! I have no idea how to go about exchanging links. Hehe. A few friends know about the blog and I’ve also made a couple of friends in the WordPress universe, but that’s about it. The rest of my readers are like you, stumbling upon it randomly.

      Wow, you have to write about football? I cannot write about sports to save my life. Hehe.

      I went to Tokyo and Kyoto back in spring for the cherry blossoms. I want to go back to see Japan in autumn rin. I heard nga it’s also lovely during that time. Did you get to see Nara and Osaka? Let me know if you have a blog I can follow as well 🙂

      • I don’t know how to go about exchanging links either, to be honest. 🙂 It sounded like a proper suggestion though, right? 😛 At wala akong kaalam alam sa blogging.

        We timed our trip for the koyo season in 2010, and seemed to have timed it perfectly. On our visit to Kyoto, the leaf calendar predicted “stunning”. And it was. 😉 Kyoto is love.

        Osaka, where we held base, has much to offer: museums galore, great food (death by tori karaage and chashu (not particularly Osakan though)), fantastic shopping, all sorts of freebies as you weave through its streets (handed out by girls in bunny costumes), really friendly folk… For a megalopolis, it felt surprisingly cossetting.

        I am partial to Kyoto, but my friends liked Nara best. They say it has a special hush. I haven’t the foggiest what that means, but it’s not hard to be taken by its open skies, pockets of quiet and just its general removedness from the frenetic pace of Japan’s other supercities. We were there in 2010, the 1300th anniversary of its founding, so the grand dame was all spruced up and prettified. And the locals spoke of the occasion with such enthusiasm and pride, it was quite contagious.

        I’ll go through your Tokyo posts again when I’m ready and able to return to Japan. Very helpful!

        I have taken over this post, I shall stop…

        No one makes me write about Barcelona FC though. I do it freely and of my own volition. I have been saying for a while now that they are an empire in decline and they keep proving me wrong. Kainis. I support another football club kasi, eh pag kalaban ang Barca laging mukhang Mighty Men v. Tiny Tots. 😦

  5. @Mariella Kyoto is indeed love! 🙂 As much as I loved Tokyo, nakakapagod siya at some point and Kyoto offered a wonderful break. The atmosphere was just more laid-back and parang everywhere, there is an ancient temple or marketplace or lovely pathway 🙂 Japan! Hehe.

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