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A few months have passed and I am walking along the same dusty path again. This time, it’s to accompany my brother’s best friend to his grave.

The mango trees are as grand as they were last time, still bearing fruit.

The sky is all white now. I can’t distinguish the clouds from the sky.

We pass through the maze of tombstones. The ground is still damp from the recent rain. I hear my brother weeping softly beside me, so I begin to cry too. I can’t stop my tears.

I always thought they would both stay friends until they reached senility.

My heart is heavy. It feels like an anchor, dragging me, slowing me down.

My mind is still in the church, replaying the eulogies. I’m touched by all the stories people have told. My heart is breaking for his own brother, who stood at the pedestal with his head in his hands, at a loss for words. I couldn’t bear it when he broke down crying. Everyone else did too.

My mind is still in the funeral home, where his mother held a framed photo of his in her hands, posing for a photo with the family. He should have been there, standing with them.

They lay him down beside his father inside a small mausoleum. When they seal his tomb, we say our goodbyes. We walk away, we part ways with wet eyelashes. He’s gone.

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Coming back from a funeral home during heavy rain

Has caused so much cold to seep into my bones

Some of it is resting on top of my shoulders.

Sadness washes over me like waterfalls.

I feel lethargic

I can’t get enough warmth back inside my body.

Last night, I went to the wake of my brother’s best friend.

He died at 23 due to pancreatitis.  Most of you know it as “bangungot.”  I couldn’t believe it.  The news was unreal.

I’m sad beyond words.

He and my brother have been friends since kindergarten. He’s really close to our family and was like a second son to my mom and dad.  Only 23.  23 is too young to die.

Death has always been so sneaky.  He comes into your home when you least expect him, undetected.  He steals lives right from under your nose, snatching people away while they’re sleeping.

The only scary thing about going to a wake

Is seeing the person

Under the glass

Because it makes his death a reality.

 

It cements the fact that he will never open his eyes again

Reinforcing the truth that he is permanently, hopelessly gone.

She liked this photo of  our gumamela.

She liked this photo of our gumamela.

 

My cousin, Ate Riza, passed away yesterday at 8:45PM.  She was severely injured in a motorcycle accident that left her unconscious in the ICU for 6 days.  Her condition deteriorated and we received news that she had hydrocephalus.  CSF was quickly building up inside her skull, compressing her brain.  She was supposed to undergo surgery.  I don’t know all the details yet, but it was cancelled when her blood pressure kept falling.

It took me awhile to process the news.  This is the third death in the family this year.

Although we live apart from each other, she kept in touch and gave me and my family support through trying times (as much as one could over a distance).  It was always her reaching out towards other people.  We all loved her dearly.  Even if I haven’t seen her in person for years, her absence is something that will take time for me to get used to, and I’m going to miss her.

I find myself coming back again and again to her Facebook page.  I go back to her posts before the accident and those of friends and family afterwards.  I don’t know exactly what to feel about social media and death, but I can’t stop reading and re-reading her page.

I don’t have much else to say.  To anyone who cares, please pray for her, and to anyone who travels on a motorcycle, please be careful.  Stay safe.

We walk, following the dead through narrow streets that could barely fit a car.  It is a procession, a solemn flash mob invading the small country roads.  People look at us as we pass by.

We continue along a small path that leads into the town cemetery.  Stone and gravel are crushed repeatedly under the shoes of almost a hundred mourners.  

In November, this same path must be covered with drops of candle wax, flower petals, and a mix of trash and dirt.

There are tall trees heavy with green mangoes.  I get a sudden thought that they must be well-nurtured by the dead.

They finally lay his casket down inside the chapel.  Sounds of weeping fill my ears, but I hear none from his wife.  She is not allowed to cry.

Outside, someone whimpers softly like a dog.  The wind carries the sound along with those of shovels scraping the ground, mixing cement.  When the cement has covered everything, the whimpering turns into howling.

A real dog comes along to sniff at our feet.

The sky is bright blue with barely a cloud in sight when they let white balloons fly into the air.  People start clapping.  

I hear someone tell a child, “look,” pointing up to the balloons with his lips.  ”Say goodbye to grandfather.”

  1. Anger is infectious.  It spreads and turns into rage quickly, like a wildfire.  When someone is angry, don’t fight fire with fire.  Back down and calm yourself first or you’ll end up burning the forest down to the ground.
  2. Avoiding your problems won’t make them go away.  They will only add up and come back to overwhelm you.  Immersing yourself in things like work, gaming, TV, drinking, or whatever else to distract you is not going to be effective in the long run.  You’ll have to face them all eventually, so face them as soon as you possibly can. Don’t run away.
  3. When something is making you unhappy, change it.  If you can’t change it, then remove it from your life.   Do that, instead of removing yourself from life.  There are other solutions.  Suicide is not, and never should be, an option.
  4. You never know when it will be the last time you ever see someone.

Recent events just gave me a lot to think about, and that’s where all of the above came from.  A dramatic, emo rant is about to start one sentence from now, so please stop reading if it’s not your cup of tea.

It hasn’t been going especially well at work or at home.  Work is well, work.  You all know how I feel about work.  It still sucks.  

One of my close friends has been missing for almost a year now.  In December, it will definitely be a year since she last disappeared.  She left home and cut off all contact with everyone.  No one knows where she is- no one’s heard from her since.

Two days ago an old co-worker of mine jumped to her death from 6th floor of her condo.  The details are still fuzzy, but they say that she left a note on her laptop, and that she was holding her cellphone when it happened.  This came as a huuuge shock for me.  She never struck me as a person who would do that and I just can’t believe it.  I can’t imagine what her family is going through.  May God help her find the peace she was seeking.

I have nothing further to say.