Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An Impromptu Reunion at a Funeral
03 December, 2006

Written in: Poblacion, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, PHILIPPINES
Composition: Impromptu - recalling something from a month ago, with the help of some notes
Previous Post: ...and again in Santa

After shopping for supplies at the town of Bantay, I returned to find that my Tito "Pete" had arrived along with Loy, his third son. As well, more of my Mom's cousins - all of them hailing from all over the map - had arrived to pay respects to their departed Auntie Ninay.

Even my Dad's sister, Tita (aunt) Lina (Catalina) came to visit from nearby La Union when she heard that my last remaining grandparent had departed.

Later in the evening, a reunion catalyzed out of the gin, beer, basi and caldingen pulutan.

I had to get in on it of course! But not just to partake in the consumption of the glorious and sweet basi (sugarcane wine), or the tasty calderetang calding (a type of richly sauced dish) and papaitan (bitter soup) but also to connect and bond with my Uncles.
And for good reason.

Out of the whole table occupied by my barakong Titos, I only recognized three other ones in addition to my Mom's brothers: Tito Heling, Rizal Santa's Barangay Captain; my Mom's cousin through Lola Ninay, my Tito Nanding (Fernando - a corporate Lawyer); and the Mayor of Santa, my mom's cousin through Lolo Luis, Tito Popoy (Jesus Jr.) . To the others, introductions were necessary, for either I have only met them in passing once, or I was only meeting them for the very first time.

Just like what Tito Pete said, "Nothing brings people together more than a wake or a funeral. And this gathering of my cousins- your Uncles- cannot happen in another occasion. Weddings, christenings.. you can just send your deepest regards. But funerals and wakes: People - Asians especially, tend to make it an obligation to attend..."

If in some small way, I managed to gain a deeper understanding of the legacy of one's life whilst playing stand in for my mother to greet those extending their condolences, this too - a Pinoy Inuman borne out of a wake - was another good tool in understanding my place. ...where I stand, and where I'm going.

"She is also the last of her generation," Tito Nanding remarked when it was revealed that Lola Ninay was also my last grandparent.

He added: "Ubos na ang lahat ng mga Tatay at Nanay namin. Susunod, kami naman" (Our parents are all gone - dead, passed away. We are the ones next, our generation)

That they were musing about their mortality, also made me think of my own. When a grandparent dies, especially one that you have been expecting to give in sooner or later, you don't tend to feel too much sorrow and mourning. I mean, to be frank, I didn't. Most of my regrets consisted of thinking how sad it was that my Mom wouldn't be able to see her own mother off.
If my parent's generation is next, then in due time, I too will be next.
Sorry if it's morbid, but I guess that's life - we're all going to die sometime. 

So it goes.

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