Friday, November 2, 2007

Surviving Undas

Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day have all become one long painful holiday for me.

Yes because of them, I and a lot more of us got a chance to take the time off from whatever we do. And long paid weekends are one of the best things in any worker’s life. But the two extra days of rest granted us have their purpose: for honoring the holy souls that intercede for us and, to simply place it, remembering the dead.

Funny how little effort it would require me, and perhaps the rest of my family in remembering our dead. Why? Because we haven’t forgotten him. Nichi. Our dead.

The pain we are nursing is still as fresh as it was three months ago.

I’m starting to believe that forgetting the dead is more difficult than remembering. At this point, saying that this season is salt rubbed to our fresh, throbbing wound is really nothing but stating the obvious. But since we were the ones who lived, we have the obligation to get through whatever life throws at us. Be it easy or difficult, we are supposed to survive if only to let the spirit of our departed loved-one left inside each one of us live.

I tried to amuse myself the evening of Halloween by being with my friends. But meeting and having dinner with them at the mall just exposed me to kids in costumes thereby reminding me of Nichi, the only one of us, five siblings, who got to go trick or treating in our neighborhood.

He was actually the one who insisted to join the others kids who were all younger than he was. And he, being 10 years old at that time, was pretty much obvious for he was the tallest kid sticking out in a line of tiny kids in costume.

Nichi whipped up his own costume. He didn’t try to be some hero. Instead, he sported a scary him. I’ve got to admit that we all felt sorry for him. At the same time, we admired his efforts, thus explaining why, at the last minute, we all worked to improve on the white powder he initially applied on his face. It probably is Nichi’s magic: pulling us all together when we’d rather not care.

Halloween slowly crept but I tried to shove it off by being absorbed in hilarious conversations with my friends. But then the topic went to one of my friend’s family (who, by the way, is the reason for our get-together), then to her dad and her youngest sister.

The youngest must by nature be the heart of every family, if not all. And the energy and life of my friend’s youngest sister tapped my inner grieving heart. Unbeknownst to me, our other friend was feeling the same way that I did, except that her grieving heart was touched by the dad aspect of the stories.

I tried to buy myself more time in the company of my friends by inviting them for a sleepover. At least I didn’t have to deal with the spirit of the season, not until they left after breakfast.

At 7 am, I went to Nichi’s ossuary by myself. I didn’t realize that the emotions I was trying to hold back will get to me while staring at Nichi’s sort of tombstone.

I know he’s dead. In fact, I was there when he released his last breath. But I still fool myself into thinking that it may all be a bad dream. Honestly, losing him remains to be surreal. That’s why realizing that I was standing in front of my youngest brother’s grave in the morning of November 1st is a real kick in the head or heart—whichever is more painful. In a matter of seconds, I was in tears which was embarrassing because there was another family in the ossuary at that time. I turn my back from them to conceal my pain.

But then, crying alone is better than being with what-is-left-of-my-family. I would hate to infect them with my sadness. So at least my morning tears saved me from bursting later in the afternoon when my dad, my brothers and I came to see Nichi.

I know it is not a good idea detaching myself from the times by going out after the visit at the ossuary and by watching a movie with my brothers. Even me immersing myself to a movie marathon this afternoon isn’t something I’m proud of. But this season has its way of magnifying my grief. And just as my friend who lost her dad says, everyday is November 1st except when there’s something or someone to distract you.

I had to indulge with those distractions just to survive the so-called Undas. But that doesn’t mean I was saved from the short pauses of life caused by my longing to be with Nichi.

Right now, I have one hour and 35 minutes left to keep myself distracted. All Soul’s day will be over soon. Hopefully, the magnitude of my pain will decrease.

Until then, I’ll have my everydays to deal with.

I guess, I’ll worry about Christmas later.

1 comment:

charlene said...

bigla kong naalala ang sabi ni sailormoon dati:

"mahirap palang maalalang makalimot."

may moments of inspiration din pala ang ating blond super hero in a mini skirt.