Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Widrawal Syndrome

This could be just one chilling effect of a mid-life crisis, but I really don't know why I have all these mix emotions in me. In my mind I should know that a falling out among our family is happenning, but my heart would not agree. I cling onto my wife and my kids for answers, but they can not give me one. Because I would never ask questions anyway.

As our Mom spent her last days in Australia, the stakes became greater. Conquered by her longingness to her youngest son and his family, she turned around and bit her pride, and went back to embrace the people who hurt her. With lots of help from great folks, she has quite overcame the agony she underwent, and now she has to leave the loving arms of the same great folks that took care of her, to move to her son's place - even when she knew it shall be a hard one - because she just love him so much, period.

But there are certain authorities which one used to have, then suddenly finds that are no longer there. She has to consider the fact that in her twilight, she can't perish in sadness. Paperworks are something not necessary to declare idiocry. She has to leave Oz, fast, before worse things would happen.

It has been about one and half months now since Mommy is finally home, back to the arms of those who would love her more, who would understand her better - her moods, her whims, her caprices. But why, she deserves to be happy, at the very least, so to speak. She won't be in this world for the next hundred years. Give the old woman a break!

I don't want to look out and blame everybody. My love for my brother shall never stop. And I shall continue to love him, and his siblings. But time has to take some moments for us. At one time he had told me; "we get closer being apart". That was before, and it was then true. But I wouldn't know now if that would still work. Because if there are things that we're going through right now, I want to make it clear that it is not an easy time for everybody. The flow may appear quite smooth, but lots of courage are in our hearts - to deny the "learning process" we had gone through.

I would rather not look at the weaknesses of the people, but at their strength. I know my brother is ain't the lost sheep. Though he may not have seen the best of himself yet, I know at one time the right senses would knock upon his shell. Everyone may have been emotional of the circumstances, but I know for a fact I can never be angry with anyone. Anger can incapacitate one psychologically. I would not allow that. Others may hate people. But those who hate don't win unless people would hate them too. And then you self-destruct. That's never good at all.

So in this world, what is never funny should not be magnified. But it is also good to stay away from such craps. To self reflect. To check things from afar. I give in that there are certain unique individuals that don't handle situations the normal way. But setting aside the issue of family relations, and grief over a dreaded loved one, a good human interpersonal relationship calls for an apology if you have wronged someone - especially if that someone doesn't deserve the administered heckling. I should pity my mother. But the more we must pity ourselves. We may have Mommy back, but we know, deep in her heart, she would always think of her beloved son Down Under. And underlying laughters shall never heal the wounds in her heart. In sunken eyes, the old lady shall never be as happy ever again...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Remembering You... Today

[A Father's Day Poem From A Survived Only Daughter]

A while ago I wasn't thinking of you
Now i do suddenly i felt the tears
I hear music and music is you
It reminds the way we used to talk
Thru eyes we were talking
A gesture of friends
That is never found in others
You know what?
I miss you so much
I miss you cuddling me
I miss the way you made me laugh
Just like the way you made me frown
I think it's when we giggle that i miss most
'cause now there's no more alike to that
Childhood with you is wonderful
And friendship with you is even more
But you left me with them with a sad heart
To think you're not coming back
Your leaving without a goodbye
Almost killed my heart
Yet if I was there I'd let you go and watch you leave
Though I honestly know
It's the hardest thing to do
I'd rather miss you now
Than have watched you go in agony
How I wanted so much to take care of you
In my chest where you used to lean your back
And share the time I neglected to give you
So with the conversations I missed
To go over with you
I regret not being good to your expectetions
'cause no matter how I catch up with the time now
I can't get it back to mine
All I can do is keep each and every memories
You stored in me
Just like your smile
...your stunts
...your jokes
...your being tough
...your laughters
...your sax
...your kind of music
...everything about you
And everything that talks about me and you!
Now is your special day
I used to send you cakes and cards
That tickled your heart and made you proud of me
...your favorite child
...your only girl

I dearly love you and miss you so much!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Fun-Filled Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day. I had some plans for today. First, me and my wife, Jackie, would go to the wet market for our weekly food ration. This should take at least two hours the most. Then we would dress the kids for church. After which, we would eat out for lunch to grace Mama for her 'day', and keep her off the kitchen for a while. After lunch, we would probably bring the kids to the Worlds Of Fun for a change.

Anyway, on our way to the wet market, Jackie received an MMS from our eldest daughter, Janina. She sent a picture of them three sisters, with the note of their love to their mother. She was moved by our daughter's gesture. She can only smile.

But the more she got surprised when upon opening her wallet to take out some money, there was a folded piece of paper pad inserted therein. At first she thought that maybe it was a trace of a foot as the kids were asking their mom to buy them new sandals. But to her amazement, it was a message from our second child, Joanna.

As she read our little angel's message, I felt a pinch in my heart. I became a bit of emotional. Damn, it feels so touching to receive messages from kids, even as young as they are. That even when the messages were not for me, I can feel how my wife did. There should be a sense of contentment, of gratefulness, of satisfaction. She could only be thankful having wonderful kids, making her heart so filled. I just hope she feels the same with me as her husband.

So upon arriving from the market, she bathed the two younger kids, dressed them up, and fixed herself after. Then Janina and I would fix ourselves too. But as usual, we would always be too slow in dressing up that we left home already at 11:00 in the morning. Jackie was quite angry because we have to skip church. Certainly, it would have been better if we heard the mass first. At least her day could have some spiritual touch.

And so we proceeded to the mall directly.

We used to live near Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, and we could always go malling everytime we wish to. But since we moved to Antipolo, the kids were confined 'under duress' in our place. So now, bringing them to the mall is almost sending them to heaven. Of course it is also our joy to see our kids happy. And I believe that making them feel that way is our obligation too.

Our youngest, Jia, was shouting and ecstatically screaming upon setting foot inside the mall. She was very joyful running all around. And suddenly she would halt and dance by the beat of the piped-in music. We were all laughing at her. What a joy to see the kids really happy. Jackie and I would smile at each other. We sat on a corner for a while, and let Jia have a kiddie ride. We moved for a bit more, and then we decided to have lunch.

So we held hands going to find a nice restaurant. A sort of a "unity walk" for the family, as Janina had put it. As expected, all foodhouses were flooded. Long queues everywhere. Already sort of starving due to the inviting flocks of whole families, we decided to go to KFC; spaghetti for Jia, mashed potato meal for Joanna, hamburger and french fries for Janina, chicken chops for Jackie, and hot spicy chicken for me. Just a simple lunch. We are always happy with anything anyway. For another, we had a late breakfast. So we really ain't that starving actually.

So after lunch we planned to go to the carnival. Upon walking out from KFC, my wife saw her shoes to be damaged. A leaf was detached. And she can not walk properly. The kids suggested that she buys a cheap footwear so we can still proceed malling. But Mama said she has just got so many shoes and buying another would just be a waste of money. And so without so much ado, we went home instead.

The kids were quite sad, but the feeling of satisfaction having us altogether malling around visibly overwhelmed their glum. We watched TV altogether, and played with Jelai (our pet dog) for a while. We slept for over an hour, and then it was dinner time. Watched TV again, and when quite late, kissed each other good night. It was another great day once again, and just a 1/365-day of a whole year for Mama playing the eternal 'mother' role.

Friday, May 09, 2008

'Em Roofed Campers

Our two kids have to camp at the middle of our living room. Too bad that there is no other place for them to pitch their tent. Our very small place would not allow them to put it up elsewhere. At any rate, they were happy about their play-house with an outdoor touch. 'Em roofed campers, huh...

A million thanks to Mommy. It should be the most loved gift that our two delicate angels got from her package from Australia, aside from the clothes, dolls, a few more toys and other stuffs. Our Mom... she always find extraordinary ways to make her grandchildren happy. Indeed that grandparents are born to spoil grandkids. I have always heard of this since ages. But now it can really be told.

The Labor Of Childbirth At Second Wind

This is now about two weeks overdue, but I just have to oblige myself. For this time, I would be writing about me. I just hope I would not overdo it. Nevertheless, I guess no one is more accurate to write anything about my life, except me myself. It may be somehow biased because I can be selective, but even when someone would do the same for me, they would just pick the items they deem find interesting according to their perception, sort-of. So let me just go on with this and see how it goes. I'll just try to be spontaneous. I hope my mind will work well with my keyboard.

I was born and raised from a very humble family. We were never poor as classified and portrayed over the media. But we were never abundant, or even rich, and not even close to belong to the so-called middle class. We were just some few hairlines above the level of survival. But damn we were fulfilled.

There were not much complains. Just so much to thank for. I am the eldest, and my childhood seem to be so colorful in any sense. I grew up from a normal surrounding, a very peaceful community. I was never socially deprived. It was a very comfortable environment.

Having a perfect set of parents, I was blessed with a sister; four years younger than I am, and a brother; also four years younger than our sister. The quite long gaps was the strategy of our olds. The planned phasing in sending their kids to college would give them a breathing cushion, financial capability wise. But why, the shortest baccalauréat is four years. So our olds must be the thinking parents. With not enough compensation as calibrated to the future needs of us three siblings, our father has even left us to work abroad for a greater pay. Or in the old days they would call it as "greener pasture". That's how they prepared for our education packages. They should be devoted parents, so to speak.

But somehow, the four-year gap each that we have among siblings had tiny drawbacks. As we grew older, we spent time in different age brackets. We absorbed different influences. We learned to think individually. But that should be normal. An inevitable process of growing up. We can not be under one set of wings all the time, for eventually, we will go separate ways. But at least every given Sunday that we are together, we would hear mass from the same church. And most of all, the teachings from our parents remained consistent.

So that even before our father passed away, I and my sister already have families of our own. And a few years more after he died, my brother also had his. At first we were situated just a few blocks apart, and our mother can still expand her wings to cover all three bases. Just a few steps from one strategic location and she can have the next meal with her other child's family. She could play with all her grandchildren any moment she wishes. Sans Dad, we could still go to church altogether. It was a very simple routine for her then.

But as nature would put it, we siblings were bound to live with our own lives according to our own plans. Mommy was in no way in control anymore. She realized that we were going as when she left off her parents' watch too.

It was in this situation that somehow, I must have overplayed my role. In our culture, the eldest child should oversee the welfare of thy siblings, at least in the preservation of family ties, and constant connection amongst. But instead I guess I tried to fill-in the shoes that my father left. I went to my mother's side, sort of telling her how she must divide her time among us. I may have had the purest intentions. Afterall, "we" are family.

And with such show of attitude that I have, and since our mother would most of the time listen to me, not necessary to each and every single word I say, I would hear people say that I am the favorite child. At first I loved it. Until it became irritating. Because I knew it was never true. Mommy may have treated us differently, but must have loved us equally.

Well, there could have been favoritism in some ways, but those were according to the times as the callings would arise. I can say that. After all, I am now a parent myself. This child would be my favorite today, and the other can be by tomorrow. But the love for each child is never lesser for one and more for the other. The volume of love from any parent to each child would depend on the need as required for each condition, but the essentiality shall significantly be always perfectly the same. You may embrace each child one at a time, but surely you would embrace them all in no time. You don't caress a jolly child over the crying one, but at the end of the day, you would certainly caress each and everyone.

And so despite of her declining physical stance, Mommy tried to balance her time binding us all. At one time she would be in my sister's place, and next to my brother's, and then to mine, not necessarily in that order. But every after each juggle of us three, she eventually would go back to our old family house for a breather, enduring a fourteen-hour long trip, with her hurting back due to a slip-disk operation. This became her routine for a while, until my youngest brother have to migrate Down Under. But despite the distance, the routinary cycle must go on. She followed to live with them for a short period. She has to spend time with her youngest son too.

Each stay with each child would bear a different experience to her. All three of us being married, how can I miss to consider that we have brought in new members, our spouses, to the humble family that we use to have. That they were raised differently from the way our own set of parents did us. And they must have different mood swings too. And in no difference to mine, how could I forget that all three of us are old enough to have our own minds too, and so it should not be a strange thing for our mother to have a different condition living with each of us. Either way, we were opposite poles in some ways. But just like the branches of a tree, we still belong to the same trunk.

And so, just like any family having visiting in-laws to live with, our mother became an unwitting element of some unwelcome scenarios. A lot of what-ifs and what-nots to think about, but things are just bound to happen. The wheel of life has to roll over. There is never a reverse gear. Quite sad, but there is nothing much we can do about.

The upside is, everytime a thing or two would come along that would involve our mother, the minds of us three siblings would meet. We discuss things. We dissect each concern. Each one would listen. And we would thresh out applicable solutions that we think is best. No any different situation was treated with a different approach. The gameplan was always the same. And it always worked.

But predestined maybe, certain occurrences had created some spats among us three. And so there came unhappy situations that we have to live by. Each one of us three siblings doesn't have to take sides. We don't have a fight. We just know that deep inside within us, in every which way we do, say or feel, our love for each other will always be there toeing each life's challenges. After all, we were raised properly. We must know how to balance our sensibilities. Or I could be so assuming...

And so this time suddenly it became totally different. Last 26th of April, except from my mother who gave birth to me, it was my very first birthday that I did not receive a warm greeting from my closest kins - which I must have much expected inspite and despite of the dramas that painted our lives. There was this deafening silence that I was never used to. But when everything became calm, and all had sinked-in, I realized that I must understand. Because if life begins at forty, I should be a newborn. And like forty years ago, there was just me and my mother. And so my dearest sister shall come by when I turn forty-four. And my beloved brother when I turn forty-eight. That by the time I turn forty-six, coming from school, I would bring a banana-cue present for her. And when I turn fifty-two, I shall play tex-cards with him again. These two guys, I grew up with them, and they grew up with me. Life was fun having them around. I know one day we'd grow up and have fun altogether again. Whether they are happy about me, to me is irrelevant. To my heart, I should only care of how I feel about them.

But awhiling, I wonder where could be our
Dad is now, and how would he be seeing us today. I believe he should be tight-lipped, just guessing what may happen next.

And Mom? I wish that she come home soon. I guess I badly need some breastfeeding. Also
that she must take care of her health too - for within the next two leap years, she is to conceive of my sister and my brother. And so that even just in thoughts, we could rebuild those happy memories.

Hopefully altogether...


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Year After "Life Begins"

This morning seemed to be a very normal one. Nothing special so to speak. She woke me up at 6:50AM, just like she does everyday. But if not for my mobile phone's calendar alarm, so bad I had almost forgotten. Darn, today is my wife's birthday, her 14th since we were together..! I almost lost the courage to approach and kiss her. But she smiled back and said "thank you", anyway. I knew she noticed me of my forgetfulness, and must have just pretended and let it pass. So shameful for me. How could I be so insensitive. It was disgraceful, indeed.

A year after her life began, she seem to have not aged at all; still the same cheerful wife to her ever demanding husband (or so she said, but would not complain), and the more caring mother to her three wonderful daughters. Would not expect anything in return, but just shall never get tired loving us unconditionally.

The morning coffee that she prepares me each day would always tops Starbucks, because it has her love's calories. Every food she cooks for the family would overwhelm Itallianis because her heart is always in it. The way she still finds time to chat with our kids before bed time. The way she gives me a massage every single chance there is. It would be a gaffed world not having her around.

I remember when there was just the two of us. The dreams we shared. How we started with a very humble beginning. Surviving with just enough above poverty line, I can't imagine how we managed life's challenges. So tonight I shall tell her, "Honey, looks like we did it somehow".

This early it can be told that it was worthy walking with you all along, or hike with you even farther until our hairs turn gray. That if by chance I shall go through this life again, I guess I will try hardest to find you - for sole simple reason that life shall never be any easier if not with you. Those humps and bumps we had bested may not even bother us anymore. With you, every single trial in any form shall be peanuts...

Pretty sure our three lovely children will say the same. With the way you take care of them, they may never want another mother but you. Whatever they have become reflects your warm devotion. We feel great about you, Mama. And with your remarkable smiles, we are sure you feel the same about us too.

Once again, from me and the kids... Happy birthday, Mama..! Of course you know this already, but we just want to reassure you; we will love you always, even beyond life no less..!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Friend's First Time

What would be the most recent stupid thing you have ever done? Of course you ain’t proud of it. Who would be. Silly! But you can always laugh about it, right? And most of the times one would even need a "friend" to conduit the story.

I still remember one Swedish colleague, Matti, who said; "When it’s about stupid things, it must be a friend". You would want to share some nutty stuffs, but would have second thoughts because you don’t want other people to find out how stupid you are. Self-undress? No way, Jose! But then, you are pretty sure that your story would make them laugh to death, big time! So you would say; "You know I have a friend…"

So okay here we go. This is all about me. But I’ll course it through an extremely careless stupid "friend".

My friend have had four cars since his first, all second-hand. He is not into brand new cars, duh! Actually he doesn’t have anything against having one. He just never had the financial capability. Tops! No further details.

His first car was 1989 Mitsubishi lancer, and was actually a ‘corporate’. It was practically owned by all of them three siblings. The money came from collective death benefits of their late father. So the car was well taken cared of. Just imagine, there were three owners. One… two… three. Need explain? Good!

They would use the car for long drives from Manila to their hometown in Claveria, Cagayan. 12-hours driving and the car would not complain. It conveyed them without any quandaries. Must be a great car. You bet.

But then it was my friend who broke it. It was involved in a three-way collision. But it was him who got hit twice; once from the rear, and another from the front passenger seat. His car wasn’t Knight Rider. It was crumpled like a bottle cap. But this was not his story. So let’s leave it at that.

Left without anything to use, and got used of having a car, he virtually bought his first personal car, his second if we count the first, yes, the broken car. It was basically the same model and make, though since it was already his very own, he spent some bucks to fix everything. Wow, it was almost perfect, except that it’s plate number would speak that it is indeed an old car. So he used it for two years and six months, and no any major concerns. He treated it well as the first-buy car served him well too. But of course he would not want to keep it long. Before it deteriorates, and before its re-sale value dips, he sold it and bought another Mitsubishi Lancer, this time an EL 1996 model.

Damn it was so cute, me myself I can really say that! I guess he fell in love with her from the first glance. She looked so lovely. Definitely a head turner. He pampered her with all his time. Put up a boastful sound system on her. She treated him best, more than the past two cars. His two similarly lovely angels were so happy about it. So was his wife. But then they had another child. And so his most beloved car doesn’t fit them anymore. It was hard letting her go, but she had to depart. It’s not that he didn’t like her anymore. They just needed a greater space in a car.
So there he sold her and bought a 4-year old SUV. Now even his other relatives can hop in. Nice one, he would tap his own shoulder. He just realized, it is what they really needed eversince.For all those experiences of having second-hand cars, he never had any trouble, maintenance wise. Of course the consumables can not be get rid of. Tires would wear, and so are the shock absorbers. Same as the brake pads, brake shoes, and rubber suspensions too. The battery shall get used up, and bulbs would burn. The radiator may need overhaul, and the engine not to be drained at all. Those are supposed to be very normal to any car owner. And if one isn’t prepared to such things, probably he ain’t fit to own a car.

But last night was so extra-ordinary for my most lucid friend. On his fourth car, he must already know every ins and outs. Ten years of experience maintaining relatively old cars must not be strange to him anymore. But then again, there is always a first time.

And so out from office by 7:00 PM, bound to pick up his wife from work, running at 60-kph maybe, his car suddenly choked, then slowly crept until it fully stopped. It definitely was his first time. Of all supposed car troubles, and the dumbest thing ever to happen, yes indeed, hold your breath... he ran out of gas.

What..! A car without gas? Stupid!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lorenzo’s Journey

Eight months in his mother’s womb, probably could just have been counting a few more days and he would see the world. But something wasn’t meant to be. His father died barely a month before they could ever lay eyes onto each other. And so upon his birth, his mother named him after his lost father, Lorenzo. Loring to the articulates. Inso for the rest.

He was raised along the subsistence of farming in various forms. To him, a complete day would mean bringing the flock to the pasture of foggy greens on an early morning, whistling down the hills back home for a quick breakfast, school, quick lunch by noon, back to school for the afternoon session, proceed to the rice fields after class to fetch the flock, dinner, and maybe a few chats with childhood friends before bed.

It was a very simple childhood. Not so much inhibitions. In the suburbs of Mumulaan, Paoay, Ilocos Norte, there are not much of big dreams. The challenge was just a happy neighborhood. Along the umbrella of agriculture. Having a meal of pork or beef would be a feast, but having fresh vegetable and native poultries would be so normal.

But Loring wasn’t born to be a farmer for life. He had enough treating the farm as optimum king. He can’t plow anymore. He didn’t hate it, but he had other things in mind. After finishing intermediate school, he bade his village farewell… but not goodbye. No plans for that at all.

He submitted himself to his eldest brother, Bening, then a teacher stationed in a coastal town of Cagayan called Claveria. Being the youngest, and having a 16-years gap, it was so easy convincing his elder brother to help him send to high school. So for secondary he went to Claveria Institute. His love for music also helped him. He played the saxophone for the school band to augment his scholarship. Things went a little bit well.

And then he met Carolina. Carol to the articulates. Carling to the others.

The young boy from the farm suddenly fell in love with the lady by the sea. They were brought up differently, they grew up from different environments. But those things were never a factor. They had something in common from the start – certain feelings towards each other. The young boy was in love, and the lady was mad. But of course, they were just so young then, what would one expect. And so those feelings they had developed consistently – Lorenzo getting in love deeper and deeper, and Carol of extreme dislike. Anger must have been tolerable. But hatred? Wow…

But whatever turn of romance they had, no one would care much on the details. Why, because they ended up with each other, anyway. Three kids is what they had; two boys, and a beautiful girl in between. Going to church every Sunday was synchronous to either a picnic, or a costume party. He would wear the same textile of cloth as his siblings, and would eat out sometimes. Smiles are printed on the faces of those who see them wearing the same texture, happily being together. What a view. One helluva family. So much envied. By that frame, at least.

He would help out in the early wisdom of his kids. Being a teacher, he indoctrinated the utmost importance of education. He said that knowledge is only absorbed by those ignorant by chance, but never to those of by choice. How could he be wrong. He must know what he was saying.

Loring was never a single rounded father. He was also a friend to his kids. He wrote the first love letter of his eldest son. He would put his only daughter to sleep. He would make toys for his youngest little boy. Everyday is another exciting day. And by the way, he was a good husband to his wife too. So little complains. So much to thank for.

He ventured all possible work-arounds of optimized fatherhood. He would do carpentries during weekends for extra income. He would even skip teaching to play sax on funerals for a greater and immediate fee. He never let any chance slip away. He always wanted to provide more for his family.

Until an opportunity came by that was hard to let go. He knew he had to save for his kids’ college education. The only way was to go OCW (now called OFW). Saudi Arabia was then the answer to all prayers during that time. It was the goose that lay the golden eggs. The only trade-off was the distance from his family. But that should be bearable, he said. He claimed that what is unacceptable is having the means and ways to work on for the future of his kids, and would ignore that chance and do nothing. So far away he went. It was 1980.

Every 12 months Loring would come home. All family is waiting. Vivid was the proof that all homecomings are spelled by extreme gratification’s vocabulary. But bliss is never permanent, as it is indeed true – some good things never last. After 45 days he would be away again. But just another 12 months and he would be home again. And the second homecoming was doubly healthier than the first. He built a five bedroom house for his family. It was the first trophy he can be proud of. It was the bargain of leaving.

But bad luck sometimes is as swift as a blink. The third homecoming was marred by his apprehension. He was caught in a situation where he had nothing to do. The only mistake he did was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He swore he never had any wrong doing. His family believed him. So did his friends and his folks. And his fellow teachers. And his kids too. But being a victim of a domino effect does not require any justification. Three months of detention appeared to be an extension of his last 12 months. He got paid, yes, being employed in a government entity. But the longing of his family was never compensated.

Understandably in life, even when you do no harm to others, or even when you only do good things to your fellows, someone just have to hate somebody, rationale notwithstanding. That is how life's balance is meant to be. That’s reality.

So, bad talks of having his fingers cut due to a supposed ‘crime committed’ were all proven wrong upon his arrival. He came home perfectly the same as when he left, with complete appendages. And truly all ‘lasts’ are the most memorable. His third and last homecoming was the happiest of them all. Not that it was grandeur. It was simply more meaningful. He is back to where he belonged. Back in his family's arms.

After a brief self check, he went back to old flame - teaching. But by then his kids were already away from their sights. His eldest son and the only daughter already in college, and the youngest son in Philippine Science High School in Quezon City, being a scholar.

For eleven years, Loring and Carol lived together just by themselves, fending for their kids’ schooling through their creeping paychecks being public educators, and would only see them again during summertime. He built a five-bedroom house, okay. But during those times when the family is complete, they would sleep altogether in the living room. He would treat their kids as if they were as young as when he could still carry each child over his shoulders. He would maximize each day of their vacation up to the day they would go back to the city for their studies again. It became routinary for the length of those 11 years. They became used to it too, somehow. For a consolation, his two boys became engineers, and his favorite daughter, a nurse. He must have been successful in raising his kids, in reference to his own barometer.

Yultide season of 1997, Loring asked Carol for them to go to Manila and spend Christmas and New Year eves with all their children – all already residing in the city. The first two kids being employed, and the youngest graduating from college. He was sensing something of his health condition and he also planned to have his medical check-up during his visit.

The get-together was all fun. He played with his two grand-daughters; one by his eldest son, then aged 2, and another by his daughter, then just 2 months old. At night he would have a few round of beer with his two sons, and his son-in-law. And great side foods too. Mah-jong would be another way for the great stories. Laughters all smoking.

The couple went back to the province a day before the first day of resumption of classes. It is a thirteen hour trip back to Cagayan, anyway. Their students are already waiting for their happy stories. They must be happy to share too.

But the breeze of "next life" kept touching his soul. He said he is already fulfilled, thus not much mission to carry out. He knew it was a pretense behind the failing health, but for sure he wanted to stay longer. Great plans about his grand-kids are overflowing. He was in denial.

He prepared the house once again; painted the ceilings, and roofed the garage. It is rainy season once again, and the mourners can not be wet. Also, they must appreciate my accomplishments, so he said.

Morning of 27Jan'08, he woke up before 5:00 AM. He can not breath normally. He stepped out of the house, and flagged a tricycle. He asked the driver to bring him to the hospital.

Carol woke up a few minutes later. No sign of Loring. Went to the kitchen, he must be preparing breakfast now, she said. No sign still. Went outside to the street, rain showers fell on her head. Looked on all directions. Nothing.

Then the returning tricycle driver approached her, told he was already in the hospital.

Carol then was relived. At least she knew where her husband was. So she dressed for class, and went to see him after her last morning class. Went back to teach for the afternoon session, home after class to prepare food, then proceeded to the hospital.

Thay had petty chats about their three siblings. And then a question was thrown to the wife. "If I die, would you re-marry?". She answered in the negative. He smiled. Just smiled. Sort of contented. Sort of secured. The farm boy must have loved the coastal lady so much. He is nuts!

With that assurance, he called for dinner. He asked his wife to hold his hand for the prayer before meal. They held hands. Closed their eyes. Prayed together. "Amen..."

Loring is no longer breathing. He went ahead. No need for a last supper. He isn't Jesus.

Hundreds were saddened. He must have touched ten thousand lives. The whole town said he was a good man. But that was even an under-statement. In our hearts, Daddy was the best.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tiny and Jelai

Note: Jana (Tiny) was a Mini Pinscher, and Jelai was a Maltese Terrier. Too bad, both of them are gone now. Tiny was run over by our family driver, while Jelai was bitten by a snake while fighting it off to protect her litters.

Jana Cassandra first came to us summer of 2007. We have yearned for years having her. Countless moments of imaginations playing with her. Prayers too, maybe. But plenty of wishes, definitely.

And so suddenly, she came into our life. A very cute and tiny tanned little girl, thus her nickname, Tiny. And our three little angels were just so happy of her arrival, already wishing for the day when they could play together. But she was just too small. I guess we have to wait for a while.

Everyone had a handful of her antics. We saw her grow up to be a pretty young lady. Witty. Jolly. Hyper. Everywhere we go, she would come with us. We gave her the best she could ever deserve. Damn we love her so much. It was written all over our hearts. She is family.

But there was this something that my wife hated about her. She liked her, yes. But if she can have her way, she would not want to be near her. Ridiculous I would say, but we all learned to live with it. My wife would buy her food, cook, but would never serve. She would buy her special toiletries, but would never bathe. She loves Tiny, we all knew that. But she just can't be touching her. Never..!

Then came the time we have to isolate her. It was quite sad, but it must be. Afterall, she grows so fast too.

We may have bought her a new house, but we are still her family. Our home can't be anymore complete without her. It shall be flawed. She would still give us the same joy and laughter, but her isolation made it limitted somehow. But whenever she catches our attention, we don't see any shortages. She is always witty... jolly... and hyper. This pretty young lady really knows how to tickle us. She would embrace us with all her force, and sometimes my three flimsy angels would get hurt. But that's just what you get being a little physical sometimes. It's the same when playing any outdoor game. We can have some slight cuts, but still are happy and contented.

And so somehow her personality has made us realize that we want more of her, but is hard. Her agility, being perceived to be quite different, have disuaded us from her somehow. And my angels wanted someone else that is more friendly, more cuddly. Someone whom shall embrace with tender loving touch, not one full of passion. Someone who can be around and yet gives you some space. Everyone wants that to be her, but it can never be. Mini-pinschers are never like that. They are highly locomotive. And so we had a hard time deliberating whether we really want another family member. There were nay's. And aye's too. It was a tupsy-turvy journey.

Until came Jelai. A light complexioned, tamer specie. I hope my wife won't be aloof with her this time. She's just about 2-months old today, and they should have a long way to go.

(RIP to both of you, cuties. Your names and memories shall always linger in our hearts.)