In the months before her death, my mother gave us kids the task of tracking down a long list of her favorite songs…songs that reminded her, I suppose, of special times and people in her life.
These are some of the songs she asked me to get…my brothers have other lists. Sa Ugoy Ng Duyan (In the rocking of the cradle) by Lucio San Pedro/Levy Celerio, is the one, she said, that would remind her of me…a lullaby she sang to me, and that I sang back to her when I was a older. The music was played at my parents’ house yesterday, where friends gathered to hold a party around my mother’s urn. One of my friends shared this about her visit to the house:
“16 years hence, i once again find myself up in the quiet, wooded villages of Antipolo , amongst the company of old friends from the art circle, most of whom have chosen to live reclusive lives away from the big city. We were gathered in a private “wake” of the mother of another good friend. It was a wake like no other : the banter light, the atmosphere warm and tender, and talk was eclectic : of diving, art, of wine and food, and of the Antipolo of old. It was an evening which left no moment for sadness, just for loads of laughter and the ocassional teary eye. It was as if Tita Lina was still amongst us, puttering around in her kitchen and serving bottles of wine, Except that now, her cremains were in an urn in the foyer. But even in death, trust her to bring us, friends who rarely see each other, together in a magic circle honoring her memory.”
Awesome. That’s exactly as she would have wanted it, because death is a merciful and wonderful thing worth celebrating, and what miserable creatures we’d be without it.
“We forget that we are all dead men conversing with dead men.” -Jorge Luis Borges
Thanks to everyone who took the time to drop me a line, yesterday. I am fine. I am actually quite light-hearted and relieved that Mom finally passed away.
As some of my friends may know, I have been praying for death to come and take her away from the misery that living had become…blind, unable to walk, her body filling with waste liquids, what little peace she had shattered by painful and long dialysis sessions, sitting alone in the eternal murky twilight of that bedroom both day & night…an existence without meaning or anything to look forward to, it was like she had been buried alive.
True, I was desperate to see her one last time before she died, but when that plan fell through and she passed away, the urgent need to visit the Philippines evaporated with her. I was only going over there to see if she wanted help in dying sooner, which I would have helped her with.
So, there’s really no reason to be sad…we are alive, let’s carry on with living, cram our days full of the people and activities we love, be audacious with our life situation, knowing that when we’re tired and our bodies have failed, death will come to lay a blanket over all that, and make it all better.