“The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.” Psalm 104:19
it was a long, sad walk from our parish church to the cemetery. the weather was hot because it was almost noon. it was summer. i tried not to stop waving the fan so roobee would feel a little comfort. she didn’t complain, but i knew that aside from her grief, she was not feeling well. it was her tatay’s funeral and as tradition dictates, we had to walk behind the casket. and i held her as we walked. she was crying…
that was the last time that we were together for long. because when we were about to leave for our flight back to KSA and they were, likewise, headed for manila for her nanay’s check-up, the goodbyes were brief. we hugged each other. i could not recall if we beso-beso. all i could remember now is, that was the last time we would see each other.
after that last moment when we said goodbyes, we never really did. roobee never stopped texting me. about her family, our friends and acquaintances, if not her favorite quotes and sayings. i couldn’t keep up with her texts and apologized for not being able to respond as religiously especially to the latter.
and that last sweet gesture. she sent our silver anniversary reunion souvenir t-shirts and dvd through megan. the first time i saw those shirts on fs photos, i already asked bhoy why they ever chose those to wear. it wasn’t like a reunion, i said. it was like attending a wake. for everyone was wearing black. and only now that i realized why. it was only after she died that i was able to pay attention to the dvd. she had a message written on the cover “boy and aninie, happy watching! miz ya!” if only i gave it due importance, if only i read it when she was still alive. she should have read what i would have had texted back. “miz ya 2!”
the news was a shock. it felt as if the world stopped turning for a moment. i felt numbed. and my mind went blank. after a while, i knew i had to, either accept it or deny it. i chose the latter. i dialled her number. her mobile rang, but there was no answer. again, i tried. but her mobile just kept on ringing. once more, i dialled. but even the ringing was gone. then i knew deep in my heart that i had to accept it. she was really gone.
even if i tried so hard to control my tears, i couldn’t. i stayed long enough at the comfort room until i had no more tears to shed. at least for that moment, i had to gather all my strength again, because i was at the office. and even if i had to work, i couldn’t. my spirit suddenly travelled back to all the moments that we shared together. all of 32 years that we had known each other, flashed back as if i was watching a replay of my favorite movie. all i could hear was her laughter. it was just so alive.
there were just so many that i wasn’t able to tell her, so many that i didn’t do to show i love her. all because i thought, there will be more time to share. i thought when i come back, she would still be there. i thought time will come, when instead of pains of ageing and household worries, we would be laughing and talking about how successful our kids have turned out and how beautiful our grandchildren have grown to be. but i thought wrong.
she is gone now. we never even had a chance to say one final goodbye this time. i couldn’t be even be there for her funeral. but i love roobee so much. i don’t know if i texted her that. but i knew that long before. it’s only now, though, that i realized how much.
and now grimly, as i recall our long, sad walk for her tatay’s funeral, i also remember there was too much love and overwhelming grief that we silently shared. it could have been her funeral that we were already crying for.