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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.

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.

How I miss playing this game!

I can’t sleep, so I think I’ll write a story about my dog, Webster, a happy little yellow labrador with big feet, named after the dictionary because he’s bookish smart.  Okay, not really.  He wrecked a few of my books as a pup, but he’s one of the two smartest dogs we’ve ever owned (and we’ve owned more than 30 dogs in my lifetime).

He’s respectful of personal space.  No slobbering on your lap.  He loves to be hugged and is friendly to kids.  You know, kid-friendly.  Won’t care if you pull at his ears, tail, or cheeks.

He can dodge cars and he knows how to skateboard.  Well, he just sort of props his front legs on the board and pushes it around with his hind legs, but I’m pretty sure he would have learned true skateboarding had he lived long enough.

Since we don’t have any kids around the house, Webster is the only one always willing to play tag and (hide and seek) with me.  He’s always the it, and I always get caught.  At least, until one day an evil plague of parasites destroyed his liver and caused his tummy to swell with fluid.  Weeks passed and he continued to swell and swell.  Ascites is what you call it.  It made it hard for him to move around, and probably made it harder to breathe.  When playing tag, I had to run slower because it was heartbreaking to see him panting and stop in mid-run.  He hates losing. 

And then he couldn’t run anymore. 

Off to the vet he goes, and the peritoneal fluid was drained from his tummy.  The vet obtained a bucketful of fluid, maybe a gallon, maybe more.  (Someday I will post a picture of this.  Yes, there is a picture).

Oh by the way, Webster is afraid of cockroaches.  I saw a cockroach approach his paw once, and Webster sniffed at it, jumped up, and ran away like he knew how truly disgusting and vile roaches really are.  Gosh, they must really smell bad.

So back to the story.  A few more sessions of draining peritoneal fluid did very little to help him.  One morning, while walking around the yard, he laid down on the ground like he was very tired and rested forever.

When I arrived home from work my family had already buried him in the yard.  We kept a candle lighted on his grave for three days.

I miss that poor dog.

This is Webster’s impression of Eeyore.  He’s just acting, he’s not really sad.  He’s up there slobbering in dog heaven.

unhappy mask

Okay. The truth is, I am feeling down right now. Sore eyes is no biggie, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I feel like trash. There, that’s how it goes.

Have you ever been in a situation where you know that a certain action on your part will hurt another person, and yet you can’t help yourself? That’s me, I still go ahead and do it.

I’ve been taking my anger and frustrations out on someone who doesn’t deserve it. And it’s not the person’s fault- the anger is not even related to that person. This is a defense mechanism, I know. It’s called displacement. I learned that in my psychology classes. See? I even know what kind of defense mechanism it is, but I can’t help but lash out. I just watch myself hurt the person. It’s like shooting a gun. You feel the recoil as regret instantaneously.

It doesn’t help that you don’t have anyone to depend on, because the ones that you actually can depend on, you spare from helping you with your personal problems. Why? Because you don’t want to burden them with that task. And then being alone with your problems takes such a toll, it angers you. And because anger seeps into everything you do, you end up hurting the ones you didn’t want to burden in the first place. Then you start wondering about the next time.. It’s defeatist.

I’m rambling. I’ll get over the drama soon. I just needed to say all that.