It is always hard to write about death, but I have always felt that writing about painful things helps one heal him or herself.
Yesterday started out ordinarily enough. Woke up, went through my routine, then my sister suddenly asked me to look up flight information for saturday morning. Which I did no questions asked. My mother, ever the fountain of information texted us that our Uncle, my dad's oldest brother passed away last night.
I was shocked. I knew he was weak but I thought that it was more due to his advancing years rather than a pressing illness. I felt sick to my stomach when I remembered my dad reminiscing several months ago that the last time he and his brother actually talked - his brother was asking him to come home and visit, to which my dad replied that he can't because he cannot take time off from work. He said that uncle asked him when he will make time? at his funeral? I guess his words rang true and I can only imagine my dad's grief. He was crying non-stop since he heard the news yesterday till late last night. I never knew my dad to be that emotional. Sure, he cried when we buried his older sister , our favorite tita, and his uncle, our defacto lolo on his side-but never with this much heartbreaking grief. I'm quite worried.
My Uncle, what little bits and pieces I remember of him, was a somber man. He was a busy body who woke up at the crack of dawn and I remember him and his wife making several "banyeras" of suman during our stay at their sprawling colonial house which is right at the center of Calbayog city. They (siblings) have a wide age gap and my dad always said that when most of them were playing, being kids - their kuya had already been working to help clothe, feed and shelter their brood of six. My lolo and lola on my father's side, I was told, died only a couple of months apart so that burden was carried alone by my Uncle until relatives and good Samaritans took in his siblings. Then he got married and created his own family.
I can only imagine how hard that must have been. But what I find astounding is that through it all, through all the moves and through different homes and relatives each sibling went through-they never forgot to keep in touch with each other. Out of the six of them, he was the only one who lived at Samar his whole life. It's like, he's been waiting at home, making sure that he's there if ever one of his siblings decide to visit or stay.
I wish I could have visited them more than once. I wish I had gotten to know him as much as I did Tita Lisa. I wish I could have known my cousins and my nieces and nephews who are probably a lot older than me. I wish our family would have been a lot closer with the rest of our relatives.
So I'll leave this post with Harry Chapin's Cat's Cradle as a reminder to never take one's family for granted in the pursuit of things we think might make us happy.