12th day of the 12th month of the year:
January – First birthday
February – First whole month
March – First summer outing
April – First church event
May – First Mother’s day
June – First visit to salon
July – First hospitalization
August – First sleep over in our new home
September – First job shift
October – First Gabe’s competition
November – First annual out of town trip
December – First family reunion
The iconic song “Ang Huling El Bimbo” was brought to the musical theater and I got the chance to watch it last night. It was a story about friendship of four college students named Joy, Jay, Emman and Hector. The play revolved around building relationship and how it was tested by a horrible incident. Eventually, this drifted them apart, leaving them with unresolved issues. The only girl among the group, Joy suffered the most. She did not finish college, endured life of poverty, got a child out of wed-lock and struggled hard to sustain their daily means. As how the song Ang Huling El Bimbo ended, “at isang gabi, nasagasaan sa isang madilim na eskinita”, eventually Joy encountered a tragic death.
For it was already one hell of a sobering song, putting it to play is a lot more distressing. The last act was soulful and intense. After 20 years, the boys came over to pay their last respect to Joy. It was the boys’ graduation when they last met and didn’t communicate thereafter. Full of regrets, what ifs and repentance. Sadly, Joy will no longer hear them.
Coping up with the cruelties and struggles that this world brings, we tend to overlooked those who have been with us from the beginning. As we aged, we conquer our own battle. We wasted our time dwelling over material things, fame and success. Consequently, it allowed us to neglect our families and friends, the core who unceasingly supported us. When they depart, regardless of the amount of time that we spent with them, we still wished we had more time. Imagine how painful it will be for someone who failed to do so. Life indeed is short. So this I have to say, make time for friendships and relationships. Don’t wait till its too late.
Dance with them as if it will be the last.
It was 4th of November 2017 when I came by to see you. Before I get to your place, I decided to pass by a store to buy you flowers. I realized I have never done that since you left. With just a few minutes, I will get to see you again. On our way to finding your place, a familiar feeling that I forgot existed suddenly came over me. I tried to ignore it and kept myself composed. Then I saw you, in the same place where we left you. I walked towards you while dragging my feet along the ground. I got fidgety, shaky. I handed over the flowers and stared at you. “Hi Mommy ‘La, I miss you”, I said. In my head, a lot of things I wanted to tell you. It was supposed to be a happy one-sided conversation. I want to tell you that we’re doing fine, I want to update you on what I’m up to. But none of them came out. Instead, all I could ever think of is how much I miss you.
Tears started flowing. I cried like it was just yesterday when you left us. The feeling that I had been containing abruptly took over me. I struggled to talk, words won’t come out. It has been 18 years and still the pain lingers just the same. Too many what-ifs, so many times I longed for your presence – my sister’s wedding, your great grandson’s birth, our birthdays, our graduations, every New Year. How I needed your comfort when I was down. How I wished I could get the chance to travel with you. But all those were just wishful thinking. The least I can do is to ask you to visit me again in my dreams. It has been years since the last time you did. You used to talk to me in my dreams, whenever I’m troubled or to simply tell me you’re happy for me. Probably, those were just my illusions, but I will give up anything to experience it again.
At that moment, my mom hugged me. I looked at her and realized how much harder it was for my mom than on me. She lost her mother. She became a parent without her parents guiding her. But she pulled through, because you are in her, YOU are HER. Yes, I lost you but the empty space you left were filled greatly by my mom. From that thought, I found comfort.
Just like the song goes, “You were an angel in the shape of my mum, You got to see the person I have become. Spread your wings and I know. That when God took you back, He said “Hallelujah, you’re home”