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 ]

Thoughts of Home

Image

Remembering Lent as a boy of 13, used to feel the burden of looking at a long list of Suman deliveries for all the orders Ina has taken from visiting Paetenos who has moved elsewhere. Our Suman is the choice for family gathering come vacation. Some even stop right by even before getting home.

Lent is one of the busiest cooking seasons for my Mom, probably preparing as much as more than a thousand Suman, along with orders of Kalamay. We used to jump at her errands, buy this, get that, and that is while we also have to deliver the paper for that day, and the usual household chores a boy growing up in Paete has to do around the house.

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Not Looking Back

I had nothing to do but listen to the rain making noise outside, while the barge plying the river to and fro makes its final trip for the day. Just got back from Bicol and my fever came back with me, so I winged it and stayed in my rented room, where I came to occupy after my previous landlord decided I had to leave. The room is good enough for me. The only worry is in order to get to my room, you have to to negotiate a particularly steep plight of wooden stairs set on welded steel frame built by my new landlord himself. No, the stairs is the least of my problem. The stove is at the top landing, next to a good pahingahan hanging on a cute little veranda where the gas tank is also located. Sometimes I wonder if the landing should suddenly give out, the tank would surely make a loud boom. Heck, I survive a Don Mariano bus trip every night, a treacherous 100-km speed ride everytime, I should be able to deal with this.

So, with my coffee almost gone, and cigarette butts need to be discarded to make room for new ones, I sit in front of my borrowed computer ( running on XP Ultimate, with a 1.5Gb RAM and a whole lot of history. Yup, this particular pc  came from the wake of TS Undoy) I try to keep from screaming inanities at the dark. Somehow, I’m still full of fire despite the fact that I am 42.

Just like Johnny Storm, I rage. I rage for the loss of a good friend. I snap, crackle and pop at the lost work I have been doing on my laptop, now probably gone to some seedy pawnshop by whoever killed Mamu for some easy buck. Gone with that portable pc are the writings and scenarios for my graphic novel. These losses aggravated the fact that even with a good employment, I still have to find freelance work to make it even in this day of  instant noodles and cult of personalities. I burn at the way my government is a pushover at dealing with my country’s lack of progress. My heart steams from the seemingly unrelenting pop-trash culture being peddled in almost anything.  My psychotherapy of novels and books and music and good movies are all that keeps me from throwing it all away and heading back to the mountains.

Several storms have been making the rounds around here. But the real storms are within. Good thing I still have real friends, old and new ones. I may be distant and preoccupied now but I will be a better friend for them, those that when I cried out screamed back ” Shut up!”, those who when I asked for some help with money problems, offered and delivered, or at least replied to my text messages and emails saying “Sorry, Bro, wala din e.” For someone whose life is a lightbulb readying itself for imminent demise, these guys, the Indios came through for me. And  that someone very special who, in the midst of it all, always seem to make things right, whom I love dearly, I thank you. I thank all of my friends.

Times like these, I feel like what those nasty jokes my uncles and aunts taunt me with, just might be true, that I was adopted or “Napulot ka la-ang sa tae ng kalabaw!”

Recently I picked a nasty time to make my thoughts known to my brothers. All because I was really pissed off at the way our youngest botched another money problem, something that involves my oldest brother kept in a private homecare for the mentally ill, my second brother who pays the bills, and the youngest, whom I have to pick up the slack by fixing up all the glitches with two consecutive homecare bill problems and transfers. They don’t know what I had to go through to make that transfer. Nah. I told them my previous unemployment was the eventual result of these problems. Second Oldest didn’t believe. Told them I dropped out of college because Ina cannot support me and my little bro at the same time, him with a pregnant girlfriend then, but no they only believe I was a quitter.

So there, even with the rains still banging the tin roofs and winds making some wild attempts at the record, I rage. My work with Tv5 Creative Services – News seem to be a sobering  therapy for me. Another privilege at working with a talented Boss and crew (not condescending here, just stating facts) makes me feel wanted and needed.

So I won’t be looking back. I’m burning bridges in the dark because it’s the only way I’m going to see where I’m going. And I’m moving on. Got my girls to think of, a graphic novel to rewrite and some more adventures in this stage.

Bring it on. I’m getting the hang of  climbing icebergs.