It took me days to write on this topic. Not everyone would like to read about the inevitable--curtain call for our life performance on earth. I tried to choose the words I used.
Resty's blog and my friend's calls made me do it.
The bargaining came next as another inevitability. How I wish God could still extend her life. How I wish she could live longer so could treat her better than the last time we had coffee in Glorietta. I wish she stayed longer so I could give her a better gift on her next birthday. (All these should teach me that I should treat my family and friends as if it's their last birthday.)A few years ago, I had the habit of calling friends during weekends. That was when I was working Monday to Friday. Weekends were supposed to be reserved for my laundry, shopping, housecleaning and sleeping.
But I made it a point to call my mother early morning (that was already noon in the East Coast) to talk to her for hours. She was always alone in Virginia since my sister was holding two jobs. She was not sick of cancer yet. I spent more hours when she was already confined in the hospital. After the regular phone call, I called up some friends to say how were they coping in the harsh world away from their loved ones in the Philippines. I used to be their listening ears for their woes. They thought that I am a person who does not have any problem because of my happy disposition in life. If they only knew.
For several weeks, I had been meaning to call a friend but kept postponing it. Until that day when I came across his phone number while looking for someone else's. I dialed his landline and an unfamiliar voice responded. She said, wala na siya.
I asked where did he go, thinking that he might have moved residence.
"Wala na siya. Patay na, " came the answer that shocked me. He died after visiting a dentist. The wife could not explain why. If I only have called him. These were the thoughts that haunted me for several months. But would that prevent his death? Nah. But as mothers and wives of my friends would tell me..."We are surprised why they open to you, their problems, their wishes and rants." I thought it may be because I got big ears.
Some days ago, I called up my best friend. There were missed calls in our phone. I must be out to my doctor's appointment. She brought her husband to the emergency. She protested the co-pay that the hospital charged her. She kept from the doctor that it was the third time that her husband had the same emergency issue which could have warranted a recommendation for surgery. She said she could not afford it. Last year, he had an operation which bankrupted them despite their family insurance coverage.
Then she cried. She asked me how do I do it? I asked what? To put a brave face despite the verdict that I have a terminal illness. Just the thought of her husband's health issue makes her depressed.
But I am not brave. Like Resty, I pondered on several questions about life and death. When I am alone, I am sad. People are scared of dying because no one knows the unknown world after life. Is there really heaven and hell? Is this a kind of punishment ?
The questions could taste bitter. Is this a form of punishment? If so, what has she done to deserve it? Did she suffer all that in payment for her forebears' sins? What horrible offenses might those be? I was told this last thought was anti-New Testament, an assault on the Catholic ritual of baptism. But isn't sin its own punishment, like Bo Sanchez wrote recently, which inevitably means not only that sin is its own curse, but also that sin always comes with consequences, no matter the reparation, and woe to anyone on whose shoulders the chips may 'randomly' fall.When I read this part of his blog, I started 'browsing" the archives of my life. Is this a punishment for swatting the moths? Baka they conspired to make a revenge. Lechzee. They kept on flying near my lap top as they're attracted by the brightness of my pc screen.
I could not even make myself kill a small mouse that was trapped in our bathroom after climbing the bath tub's plumbing. Lalo na siguro kung lumuhod sa harap ko at nagmakaawa kagaya noong napanood ko sa World's Dumbest Criminals. Aggh, I promised I will be serious in this blog.
My forebears? My grandma was a shrewd businesswoman. Did she tainted the vinegar with water so she could profit more? Naah, I doubt it. She was selling fermented coconut wine as vinegar harvested from our coconut farm. Not in small bottles--in frascos---gallons.
Did she put stones in the rice she was selling? Naah. We had a rice farm where they harvested the palay-sold them as-is or brought them to the rice mill?
The only violence that I know about my grandfather was when he run after the suitor of my mom with his usual long bolo. That created a scene in the barrio because they had similar names. So if it was Juan, they kept on shouting and laughing--Si Juan papatayin si Juan. Hindi ba Two? Heh?
Seriously, I thought of reincarnation concept. My readings tell me that souls undergo cleansing thru series of reincarnations. Parang sequel. The more you are close to your Summum Bonum the shorter you live your reincarnated life. Then I cast doubt on this belief simply because I could not reconcile why you should be made to suffer for sins in your past lives that you could hardly remember.
More in part 2...Careful what you wish for.