Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Home Service
Funeral Service at home
04 December, 2006


Written in: Poblacion, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, PHILIPPINES
Composition: written the night after the fact, but written in present tense to simulate a play by play analyis.
Previous Post: An Impromptu Reunion at a Funeral



I think the lead is talking about my arrival now and how providence guided things so that at least, I'll be seeing my grandmother off. I think they're talking about how mom desperately wants to come, but wouldn't be able to - and that at least I'm here.

I think.

The service is in the Ilocano dialect, I'm still sweating Gin, and my stomach and sense of balance are still all haywire from last night. I didn't eat anything all morning because I couldn't hold anything down.

I feel like crap. I only understand a few words here and there, and I don't know what's going on.

We stand up.

They pause to read off of a booklet of a prayer for funeral services.

We sit down.

They say Hail Marys, Our Fathers and other prayers.

Then we stand up again.

I want to go have a shower - and by 'shower' I actually mean splash myself with water from a wash bucket with a smaller handbucket. Showers don't exist here.

I think I over-bonded with my Uncles - and by bonded I mean got totally wasted with.

We sit down again and listen to the lead say more things. I think they're talking about Tito Pete's arrival now. Or maybe how Lola is now off to join Lolo.

I think that's what they're saying.


My mind drifts back and forth from the topics discussed last night. I almost pass out from the heat and humidity of a few tens of people crammed inside the living room with stone walls.

Out of respect I stick it out. For my Mom, I manage to snap a few photos.
But I really, really want to go elsewhere.

I sit with the crowd. I stand with the crowd. I try and mouth off the Ilocano prayers being said by the crowd.

I pretend to listen to the lead's words.

This? This repetitive praying and scripted program is supposed to facilitate my grandmother's entry to heaven?


Then they let my Mom's brothers speak. Finally, I thought.

But they also say their eulogies in Ilocano. Having very little understanding of the words being spoken, I suddenly remembered from "The Alchemist" a very lovely thought.

Instead of trying to understand the words that you're hearing, listen instead for the emotions and you might just hear the Universal Language of the World.

I did, and the words disappeared as the meaning and the weight of their intentions became apparent from the intonation and body language.

"bye mom"

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Next Post: The Burial

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