I wonder why not a day goes by that I do not think about them. One word―enigma. I think about the fond memories. It makes it all the more bearable―a form of escapism. I lost my brothers (both to heart attacks same as my mother) and my parents. Essentially, they lived lives worth living. What is ironic is: it makes me think about my own life when I am missing my loved ones. They are what you may call “high-impact-life-altering-lessons.”
Moreover, it is never the same―an altered state of reality: that really bites―that is challenging to overcome. A part of your heart seemed to have drifted with them. Sometimes you feel like you are just going through the motions. Eyes are blank and just staring at the far distance. What do I think about when I remember them? Well, pretty much every joyful memory when they were still here on Earth. The smiles and the laughter.
I was in denial. Now, I accepted that one of the reasons I lost the drive to write is that I lost my two brothers too soon. Their passing was sudden and they left while still quite relatively young. They did not even reach the senior citizen status. It left us with a subtle melancholic version of the Portuguese saudade.
And, I know why they wanted to go. It is because our parents were gone too. I guess that is one clear and pressing ramification of a close-knit family. When one leaves, again for emphasis, even if just one member leaves, it will be different. The first one who left was our mother. She died considerably young. It was a shock to all. My father then was like a soldier who lost a battle. Believe me, he was never the same from then on.
When he was alive he would make comments how he missed her so much. And, when we lost our brothers it was too much to handle. Some fun things stopped. Just imagine a total of fourteen children with two brothers gone. They were both loving and fun to be with. So, when they left, those went with them.
A sense of emptiness filled our home even though twelve of us still remain primarily because we just love them so much.
One of my Aunts told me to show how important family is that we should not get rid of family no matter how sometimes during trying times we are tempted to do so. Family is family and more relevantly, blood is thicker than water. Freud would be exhilarated because it, actually, slays the ego.
My father wrote that my parents’ love live on in each one of us and that love had been passed on to the next generation. Talking about the next generation, personally for me, gives me precious hope. That is what kept me going all these times. I may have been, metaphorically, shot in the heart, and wounded as I was, it made me to, literally, stop writing, nevertheless, I have witnessed the cycle we call life.
Life goes on no matter what and I am glad it does in so many instances in each wonderful small hour. When I was stuck in a rut. It again made me think about writing and that writing is my passion. That writing makes me feel alive. When I put into words my thoughts and feelings I become eloquent in relating what I went through and things changed. And, they changed for the better.
Now, I write again. The wounds are healed. Just scars for evidence and I am not ashamed to show them. It makes me human. It makes me relatable. It makes me all the more genuine. It makes the words I write filled with love and with a clarity and a depth.
Having written that stage in my life I am well and wiser. When I pray to them, I smile because I know they are with me, helping me. I realized they never left. It is part of the Catholic Creed, the communion of saints.
I remember last Christmas Season I had a poignant conversation with my godson. I asked him how he felt coming home for the holidays and that I tried to make our home just as it was like when they were still here. He told me they gave him a sense of comfort. Wow! It felt amazing. It made me think to myself that the next generations do need us, the ones remaining, basically trudging on as fellow pilgrims here on Earth.
I could not let go of my vocation of writing. It is a responsibility I chose on my own. I cannot take the easy way out. Because I will not be able to make you smile yet again.
Numerous wondrous things have happened in my life while I was away. I travelled and joined the entertainment industry. Now, that is fun. I found joy and my friends and family are pleased and happy for me. It was a celebration. A new exciting chapter in my life.
Again, I write that the son of my Publisher told me not to forget Bicol Mail. I never for a moment forgot Bicol Mail. It is one of the reasons why I was given a U.S. Visa and I saw for myself the American Dream. Dreams do come true and Bicol Mail made it a reality. I am indebted and honoured to continue doing this for you, my dear readers.
If there is one word that I want to resonate with you is the word, “miracle”. No matter how small or great, miracles do happen. The mystery called life is in itself is a miracle. The chances of you of being born is one in a Trillion. You and I are special living miracles. While you breathe is a miracle.
I do not want you to go through what I went through. The sad parts of my life I meant. Hence, I encourage you to seize the day. Do what you have always dreamed of doing. Hold on to hope and faith. So that you do not take things and people for granted.
In the end, we hope that we would only have few regrets; make your family feel your love; be joyful and feel being alive; ultimately, be bold and grandiose. Life is a huge adventure. Make your life story one for the record books.
And yes, I also have to add that I turned older externally; salt and pepper hair and beard, but let me tell you this that I feel like a teenager yet again just like my other living older brother who wrote that he had found the elixir of youth.
I had known my purpose many years now. Living a purpose-filled life makes everything worthwhile. I pray that if you are young you find it early and if you are in your senior years you enjoy the fruits of your labour, and remember to cherish the happy memories meaningfully; our youth, the simplicity of it; the smiles and the laughter; they light our minds with beauty. I recommend to erase the lugubrious ones―a form of displacement.
On the seemingly overlooked topic of pictures, my father was an amateur photographer, hence, our house is filled with pictures, he even utilized the old reliable tripod. They should not be taken for granted at all because they are not only for ourselves but also for the next generations so that they will know how we lived and how we looked like prior to the time that we have had also reached our own sundown.
I recall seeing the younger version of my own father in vintage photos of himself, in conclusion, I told myself that I do look like him. Then, I had a flashback of our conversation: I told him, “Pa, people say that I look like you.” Then, he told me, “Yes, son, a better version of myself.”