I still remember that morning 31 years ago. Everyone was in hurry preparing to go to school, I was in Grade 4, 10 years old. Everybody in the family. my mother, brothers and sisters, relatives who then are staying with us and some house helps are crying and making a commotion downstairs that was after they heard my father shouting and saw him having a hard time walking coming from the washroom. his sight is not good. and he fainted.
That was breakfast time around 7 in the morning. I just don't want to think about it. I did try my best to just ignore what is happening, because i don't know what's going to happen or rather I can't accept it is happening. I treat it like just a normal day. pack my bag, put on my school uniform and off I go to school.
Our house is two floors, and the only way i can come down was the main staircase. I saw what was happening. my mother trying to revive my father. With all the people surrounding them. While I heard them shouting call the doctor. The doctor lives on the next street corner, Dr Lim. So sad, that we do not have ambulance then and nobody cares to learn or teach first aid.
But as i was saying, it seems like it was a movie, a bad movie that i don't want to see. I just ignore it. Ignore it as if nothing is happening.
So off i go to school. the school was just across the street. and i just feel like it was an ordinary day for me. at around 10 in the morning. i can hear my cousin right from the school gate crying and while all the teachers are calling her name, she just don't mind them but i can see her just running towards our classroom. When she was closer she is calling for my name, and i already knew what happened. They apparently figured out that i did not stay at home, that i did not went to the hospital.
I was stunned. I don't know what to do. I did not cry or say anything. I just collected my things and walk home with her. I can still remember how my teacher, Mrs. Carmen Daquiaog hugged me. Nobody, as in noone was able to say anything to me. They were as shocked as I am. Or maybe they are puzzled why i never reacted the way they expected me to react.
When we reached home, i was not able to go inside the house. I really don't know what to do. I haven't experience something like this. My father was the first one we lost in the family. I then, saw my grandparents, and the house is almost filled with people. Instead of going inside the house, i went to the machine shoppe that my father runs as a business. sat on one of the stool there, still not saying any word, or not having any tear. I am cold as a stone.
Everyone was still waiting for my father's cadaver to be brought home from the hospital. btw, just for information, during those years and maybe even up to today, wakes are done at home. With the dead love one in the coffin, expose 24 hours for people to see and pay their last respect.
Lunch time, everyone was gathered at the dining table, no one is talking. we are like push button robots doing what needs to do without saying any word.
It was late in the afternoon when the cadaver arrived. At the first sight of it, i silently went to my bedroom, and burst to tears. Now, it is all sinking in me.
The first nit of the wake was so terrible. I can remember all my relatives there, family friends and government officials. Modesty aside and just for information, those days, most of the government officials from the provincial government to municipal councilors of the towns are mostly my relatives. Maybe 75-80 per cent. So what would you think the wake would be. It's chaotic. Everyone has their own idea of what is suppose to be done. There is even a fight over what kind of coffin should be done. The irony is, the immediate family, is not saying any word at all.
And since my father is I guess the most favored of the three sons when it comes to inherited property, there is also a fight over it. My mother being 37 years old with all these conjugal property, is now the target of my relatives. A lot of words, a lot of stories. They did not even cared that there are eight kids left. The oldest being 18yo and the youngest, one and a half.
We have a popular saying in the Philippines, "sumayad ang paa sa lupa!" The death of my father brought us back down not only having our foot on the ground, but we literally made a crater. That is how hard we fell. My mother who is not let go and find a job or work to help raise money because my father is a very great provider, does not know how to earn a living. She does not know how and where to start. She was a typical mother, who is kept at home to attend to the kids. Which she did with all her heart.
That death had brought a lot of stories, hood and bad about my family. Oh! If only I can right every single story of what happened after that, I could probably fill a shelf of books. Every member of my family, mother, brother, sister, cousins, grandparents and all the members of the household have their own story after my father died.
But today, I am dedicating this post to my wonderful great provider father. I can still vividly remember his face. It would always bring a tear to my eye every time I remember him. I love you "TATAY".
(Day 16 - 2 more days and off to my "walk at the rainbow bridge to the US!"