flashback... (A letter)
People do come and go. It's the reality of life. Whether we try to neglect or just veer away from the thought of it --- it will really happen. Our loved ones will soon leave us and so are we. Change is the thing that equalizes every creation God made. And with that we are bound to lose those people who mean a lot to us, it's unavoidable and it's irrevocable.
I used to have a father when I was younger, 3 years old perhaps. He died a sudden death. A death we really not expected to come; a tragedy that left us grief-stricken and empty. But then again life must go and we must adapt to changes. I was 3 years old when he died. And I have no vivid memories of him, never. I suppose my sister is lucky because she still remember my father's face (She got her looks from papa that's why it's not that difficult to forget).
I remember back then when my mother told me the story of my father's wake. She was carrying me that night still facing my papa's coffin. I motion myself reaching for my father's coffin blurting out words like "Papa lumabas ka jan, laru tayo. Hindi ka makakahinga jan may salamin eh. Papa.. papa.. papa..." She told me that I kept on knocking the coffin cover hoping my father will soon wake up from an endless sleep.
I really didn’t remember any of those moments. I suppose I'm lucky to not experience any of it. I think it was just a game– that my father was trying to scare the hell out of me for not waking up and for enduring five days inside that coffin. But then again, I cannot remember anything.
After my father's burial, things have changed. We moved to Leyte to live with my mother's brother and my father's sister (complicated that is). I was a transferee in kindergarten. Because of my incapability to comprehend and speak Visayan language, I was the laughing stock in our class. I remember crying so hard because my mother went outside the classroom one school day (you know, moms and yayas are not allowed inside the classroom every classes). I thought all of my classmates would soon end up laughing at me... laughing at my shortcomings. But things changed. I became accustomed to almost everything as I grew up in Baybay.
When I was in my 5th grade in elementary me and my mother was forced to move to Manila because my mother was so tired of what she was experiencing with my aunt back in Leyte (leaving my sister behind to finish her Degree in Development Communication). We stayed for a couple of months in Manila with my other aunt and decided to live independently with my mother's new husband.
After a couple of months my mother along with my step father decided to go back to Leyte leaving me behind to live with my aunt in Manila. It was painful. That was the time when I thought "I'd had enough of these migration here and there escapades." I felt so alone and missed my family in Leyte. It was hard... so hard.
After graduation I went back to Leyte where I took my Secondary Education. I live with my mother and step father with my half sister that time and then things change again leaving me the unlucky one. On my 1st year in high school my mother tried convincing me of residing back in Manila. I guessed it was uncalled for because of the circumstances that kept me deterred from doing it. So they left me again alone because my sister was already working in Manila by that time.
4 years after being separated with my family my mother returned from Manila to attend my graduation (I got 1st honorable mention which was a frustration because everyone thought I'll become the batch's Valedictorian). She returned to Manila with me, with my anticipation of a complete family. But to my surprise, my sister was already living independently. It was sad at first but I decided to keep a strong facade for them because our family was going through many problems that it was difficult to show hopelessness. We need to be strong – that means we need to help each other and showing that weakness will not be of great help.
That were the changes I have to hurdle with to be able to be where I am now. To be who I am today. There will be many of these to come. But I’m sure with all that I have gone through I’m ready and guarded with these circumstances. The earth will still rotate, flowers will bloom and wither, people will come and stay and life will just keep on changing.
"Papa lumabas ka jan, laru tayo. Hindi ka makakahinga jan may salamin eh. Papa.. papa.. papa..." I have no memories of him all my life. But I have vivid memories of the changes I had to overcome because of him. And with that I’m grateful and truly appreciative of his short-lived life.
Thanks Papa, even if you’ve already left us I can still feel your fatherly presence in each one of us. We will see each other again… we will.