He Knows About Angela Postscripts

Wake [verb]

v.tr.

1. To rouse from sleep; awaken.
2. To stir, as from a dormant or inactive condition; rouse: wake old animosities.
3. To make aware of; alert: The shocking revelations finally woke me to the facts of the matter.
4.

a. To keep a vigil over.
b. To hold a wake over.

It’s when something jolts you out of your stupor, achingly disrupts your otherwise redundant daily activities and you keep yourself from screaming your lungs out from the disorientation and shock from the knowledge and realization that, at least, the reality of temporary existence is absolutely inevitable.

No, it’s not that you have been in a hedonistic state of living, but caught up with the race, work, family, current events, well connected but disconnected, these are times when you step back and look at what we have become, or where we have come to. Or just plain slack jawed at what transpired.

He Knows About Angela Postscripts

Wake n.

1. A watch; a vigil.
2. A watch over the body of a deceased person before burial, sometimes accompanied by festivity. Also called regionally viewing.
                                                                                        3. wakes (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Chiefly British

a. A parish festival held annually, often in honor of a patron saint.
b. An annual vacation.
One digs deeper with this feeling of loss, of finality, of severance.  A definition suggests a watch, a vigil, and I concur, this life is all about standing watch over those you hold dear. And the acceptance of holding the candle being passed unto you.  Even from someone you hardly know. As I look back, the passing of my own mother, whom I never got the chance to talk to while still alive and
feisty, caring and loving. The death of my mother in law, literally in my arms. An aunt. A childhood friend who got hacked to pieces in the mountains. A kindred spirit and probably the closest I could get for a sister,  bound, gagged, stabbed more than I could understand, lying lifeless and bloody in our apartment.  And just recently, an artist whom I would like to emulate. I’d rather celebrate their lives than skulk in a dark corner.
Wake n.
1. The visible track of turbulence left by something moving through water: the wake of a ship.
2. A track, course, or condition left behind something that has passed: The war left destruction and famine in its wake.

Idiom:

in the wake of

1. Following directly on.
2. In the aftermath of; as a consequence of.
So what now? Those of us who are left behind? Will we shed tear and mourn and grief ? Is it too hard to understand that their course has ended but ours is just turning a new corner? It’s not about death really, but a leap of faith, to go on without them. To burn the bridge in the dark and let the flames light the way on the path ahead. Will we crumble with what’s left or  build something from the remnants, of the ruin, from the ashes.
Ina. Mama. Popert. Raldies. Mamu.
He knows about Angela.
ANGELA DON’T GO AND LEAVE ME TONIGHT (LEAVE ME TONIGHT), 
ANGELA PLEASE BE WITH ME (ANGELA), 
ANGELA DON’T EVER WALK THROUGH MY LIFE (WALK THROUGH MY LIFE), 
ANGELA PLEASE BE WITH ME, CAUSE I LOVE YOU. 
He  even commented, in one of those short banters we had the time to indulge in, that the chorus sounded too juvenile. I guess he was right. Too much weight on the loss. Too much ” what will I do without you” sort of sentiment.
They will never pass this way again. But it would be nice if they could see that we are holding up good and doing the best we can. The longing line from the song may even sound romantic and remorseful, but it just won’t  do to stay in that train of thought.
I’m saying goodbye without looking. Probably for the best. The rains keep coming. Probably the sign of his passing, and all those that went before him.
Move along.
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Postscript on Father’s Day

I could be coming home to a home with my daughters scrambling for a hug or a kiss, or my wife smiling with promises of a delicious dinner waiting at the table. It’s what fathers, stereotyped providers that we are, were led to believe, the whole happy family trip our teachers and catechist seem to have hammered into our innocent minds back then – the unmoving, immovable, strong pillar that keeps the house standing through fire and rain. Well, maybe not fire, but rain, flood and storms.

The rock.

The superhero.

Instead, I open the door into my third floor apartment, what nowadays get categorized as studio-type, dark, with a hint of stale cigarette smoke, leftover clothes from the weekend washing that didn’t make it to the estimated time and detergent considerations, and here I am, 400 kilometers from my wife and daughters, renting space, no one to welcome me home but a small mouse stealing bits and morsels from my trash bin.

The things we endure to make a living.

Postscript on Father's Day

Most of the time I spent thinking is when I come back to this matchbox of mine, after I put the water to boil, and linger by the kitchen sink while I read the days text messages on my mobile phone. But I had to smile, from the greetings my three angels sent, greeting me Happy Father’s Day last Sunday.

I am a father.

But how can that be? How can I be a father to my daughters if  my works keeps me in the city, and they are growing, fast and furious, beautiful and intelligent, while I’m away. How can I be a husband  when I don’t get to kiss them goodnight? Is that what a father has come to? Earning barely enough to pay for the bills, for new shoes, school supplies, food on the table. This is very much like going abroad and just work till my back breaks so I can send some home.

Is this what a father is supposed to be?

I never knew my father. That is, literally I don’t know him. Oh. I know his name and how my mother and father met, and why I have this music bug ringing in my ear. But that is all. I often look at his portrait when I was young, a tall, handsome man in starched white uniform, holding a trombone. I may even imagined him as Rogelio Dela Rosa, suave in his slick, swept back hair with a cowlick neatly dangling on his forehead, carving and shaping wooden blocks into jumping horses and “last suppers”, madonna and child, football figures and trophies. I secretly thought, well maybe my dad is that good-looking, maybe also had girls swooning, you know, stuff you thought up as a teenager.

Mythos. Stories. Maybe even fiction.

But my father died of  liver cirrhosis when I was two years old, hence what I know about him is really just third hand information, from my brothers, from my mother, from relatives. I have never seen him in the full light of day. Never spent some time playing around with the trombone. We have never had an argument. He never had the chance of hitting me low on the gut If I ever did something that might have roused his anger. I will never know how he would have handled any of the bad things I’ve done, the triumph of having been to the  provincial meet at Quiz Bee, or maybe we could have shared a beer or two for some man to man talk.

I’m chasing a ghost.

I do not, for the life of me, know what or how it is to be a father. I do not know my father.

No behavioral pattern to follow. No discipline measures to emulate. Nothing to copy.

Sipping my coffee, I often wondered what could be if my Ama and Ina were still alive today. I could use  some thoughts on raising a family. Not that I’m bungling all the time, but sure could use some  info. Of course, I could be entirely off the mark. An uncle once hinted that he knew my father to be short of temper. Maybe that liver gave out because, well, usually it was from too much alcohol.

Too many maybes. Too many nevers. A whole lot of  guessing.

And as I try to relax a bit and sit in front of my laptop, I’m still guessing at what to do next. Draw some more? Maybe. Write? Guess so.  Will it rain hard tomorrow? Hope the kids get to school dry and on time. Will I find some quick solution to this financial rut I’m in? I hope so.

But then again, when I feel a bit unnerved by what’s happening, there’s this vestigial hand that often slaps me sober and asks –

‘What would Father do?”

The Mourning After

I broke down a while ago.

It came like a runaway truck , with a full load of bricks, going downhill, and I was just crossing the street, oblivious, uncaring, and hit me. I cried like a five-year-old kid who just lost his mom.

It’s sudden. It was inevitable. It was so many things at once. It was everything and nothing and it grabbed me by the throat and squeezed the breath out of my shaking body, while I writhed in pain that nobody could have felt the way I did. I was so deep in it for a while, the tears on my cheeks felt like boiling water,  and I sat here in my room, bawling like a child.

Which is what I am now, a 43-year-old boy whose mother passed away, several months past.

The memory of receiving the news was murky and ghostly, I may have pushed the knowing far back in my mind. So far back it took a small area there with  the regrets, and all the things I wish I have never done, but are neatly folded and kept in a bag. gathering dust and moss, being eaten away by bugs and rats of my consciousness.

I was in denial. I was angry. I was infuriated because of the fact that no one in my family took the time to tell me. I found out my Ina passed away  last February 23. She died on the 20th. I was saddened but I didn’t cry then, and I thought I will not cry.

Until now.

I mourn her passing. I grieve for the loss. I miss my Ina, my mother.

All the thank yous, the petty blames, the apologies now have no place to go. She is gone, and there’s no one to hear me say ” I love you, Ina.”  My heart sank. Still sinking. Still bleeding from the loss. I guess I never really mourned her.

I mourn her now.

I always told friends to treat their loss as a celebration of their passing, to remember the life and not the death. I’m choking on my burned hypocrisy now, swallowing hard and chasing it down with bitter ink.

Rizalinda Robale Paelmo

Goodbye, Ina.

And this is what triggered the sobbing and weeping. A song I have always liked, but never really felt the impact until a while ago. felt like it was written just for me, for this moment of realization.

“I found the tears since you’ve been gone
And I stand in fear, can I make it on my own
Without your love to guide me thru my life
It’s so cold at night without you here
And those gentle arms that held me close and dear
Oh we’re all the same, we all live and die
You’ll always be in my heart, oh Mama don’t you cry
You’ll always live in my dreams, oh Mama don’t you cry
Every night when I close my eyes
I see a light and shadows of your face
It’s always there like an angel over me
So many frozen years hangin’ on my wall
A thousand words, I can hear them call
Oh I tried so hard but I could never say goodbye
Find more similar lyrics on http://mp3lyrics.com/LHNi
You’ll always be in my heart, oh Mama don’t you cry
You’ll always live in my dreams, oh Mama don’t you cry
No one can kiss away the pain like you
No one like Mama, no one like you”

“You’ll always be in my heart, oh Mama don’t you cry
You’ll always live in my dreams, oh Mama don’t you cry
(You’ll always be in my heart, oh Mama
don’t you cry – don’t you cry)
(You’ll always live in my dreams) in my
dreams (Oh Mama don’t you cry)
Oh Mama don’t you cry”

[ Mama, Don’t You Cry – Steelheart ]