When Death becomes a teacher


Death. It happens. It’s the inevitable. Yet, one thing that strikes me about death is the uniqueness of our personal experience. So, here’s my take about the loss, the lessons I’ve learned so far…

  • When color and meaning fade… I haven’t really understood it well when people say how someone “adds color to their lives.” But with my lolo’s (grandfather) death, I saw how my routine can change, lose its color, more so its meaning. Our lolo died last Saturday; by Monday, I had to get back to work. And as the jeepney breezes off Cebu’s streets, I found total disinterest in the colors this city usually afforded for me. I saw the peculiar blue paint of a Christian school (elementary level), the lines that make and break the monotony of residential houses, commercial spaces, big and small. And that’s it. No amusement. No drama. Not even sadness. It’s like my eyes went mute: both could still see yet it ceased to see beyond.
  • When irony bares its fangs… The cause of his death was sepsis. Yet, as the facts roll between my aunts’ and uncles’ stories, it became clearer for all of us: it wasn’t just about the virus. The district hospital to which lolo was rushed had serious issues that ranged from incompetent health providers to the lack of laboratory facilities. Such ironies cross you when you least liked it: I work as a technical writer for a software company that supports the healthcare industry of another country. My talent contributes to the betterment of their healthcare system — yet, I couldn’t do the same for our own healthcare system! Suddenly, it felt odd to sit in my cubicle, typing the words that meant nothing in my own land.
  • When more comes out of nothingness… He may be dead but the brief moments we’ve shared continue to grow in meaning. He likes to express his pride in us (my sister and I). When we were around and with the company of our mother, aunts, and uncles, he’d always tell us how “great” we two were for completing our formal education and immediately finding work. This is probably one of the few things that I will miss every time my feet trudges the Badian soil. You see, my sister and I were raised in the city — a place whose standards consider the completed degree and immediate employment as something mundane (i.e., nothing special). Yet, through our lolo’s words, these things took greater form: both ARE accomplishments. In the future, when I come across moments where I don’t feel good about myself, I will send my mind travelling back to our province and sift through lolo’s simple but meaningful words. 🙂   

Putting all these down and looking at how there can be more in his sudden nothingness — this is how I can best cherish our memories.

Goodbye for now…

May you rest in peace, Lo!


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