After Papa’s death, exactly two months and one day ago, I thought I’d never be able to write again. They say writing is a therapeutic repast, especially when one goes through life’s many tragedies. In my case, typing out words to make sense of my grief literally makes my acid reflux act up. The term heartburn is quite fitting — nothing could possibly douse the embers in my chest, smoldering with the remains of last year’s misery. Whenever I would try to write happy memories, of times in childhood when Papa would buy balut from the old man in the street, and the wonderful moment when we’d eat it under the warm glow of our dining table with the funny-looking rooster salt shaker, the thoughts are immediately replaced with the sound of his death rattle and the feeling of his cold, lifeless skin. I remember the grim faces of the men who entered his room and placed him in a blue body bag. I recall with painful accuracy the sound of the bag being zipped up, like a heavy luggage that will be checked in on a plane to Brazil. No matter how much we humans try to glorify death, it all boils down to the same, mundane thing that it really is. Thank goodness our bodies have souls to go along with it. Needless to say I’ve resorted to stick to writing press releases, memos, business letters, hasty text messages and meaningless Tweets and Instagram captions. It’s easier to keep down my gastric acid that way.
So here is my feeble attempt to go back to writing.
It turns out life is a matter of simply going through the days, rolling out from bed in the morning and facing the daily grind. There is no other way. Christmas has passed, and so has New Year’s Eve. Two days ago, it was Valentine’s Day, and thankfully, I am still breathing. I am profusely grieving yes, but fortunately my appetite for life is back. While I give most of the credit to my loving support system, I have to say that this newfound zest for life can also be greatly attributed to this person who recently came into my life when I was least expecting it. Oh, and he happened to be my Valentine. :’)
Delightful white Holland tulips, personally delivered to me by Vin at work in the morning of Valentine’s Day.
Post-dinner stroll along the streets of Makati. This was taken in the lush gardens of Washington Sycip Park in Legaspi Village.
The following day, I spent time with my family to celebrate the birthday of my mom’s brother, our dear Tito Vitt and his daughter Mischa, who was born on Valentine’s Day. After a delicious and filling lunch at Chili’s, we bonded some more and simply enjoyed each other’s company.
Yours truly with my brother Ryan and cousin Mischa. It’s always a wonderful time with these two around!
Me with my mom Vivian, the strongest and most beautiful woman in the world! Again we have this whole matching outfits phenomenon. Great minds think alike, I suppose?
And of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t all about romance or extra time spent with family. After a whole day of sleeping soundly in my cozy bed, I decided to take myself out on a dinner date, something that I have never done on a Valentine weekend. In my most comfortable summer Mango dress and my trusty pair of flip flops, I crossed the street to the mall across us and satisfied my craving for Jonas’, the favorite beef pares place of my dad. I ordered a big bowl of beef mami and Chinese kikiam on the side while a live acoustic concert was going on in the middle of the mall amid a squealing female population (I didn’t bother checking who the singer was but I’m sure he was one of those good-looking artistas that makes girls swoon.) I found myself being moved to tears as I walked around and heard a live performance of Noel Cabangon’s iconic song Kanlungan. Just what I needed as I was strolling alone and thinking about Papa!
To cheer myself up I went to a Little Orbits donuts stall to consume shameful amounts of carbs and calories. I ignored the guilt-tripping voice in my head and indulged in the mini donuts and even went to the Gong Cha milk tea place to enhance my solitary food trip. A Sunday well-spent indeed.
Whew. Writing didn’t seem so bad after all. I should do this more often.