No More of Them
During my senior year in High School, a classmate of mine wrote an essay weeks before graduation entitled as above. It chronicled her thoughts about the overall make up of the class – different personalities, cliques, and the first and lasting impressions it elicits – during the first few days and the last few weeks, memorable class experiences (the almost always 4th place wins during batch competitions in singing, dancing, choral speeches), the dramas that unfold due to the chemical combo of puberty, friendship,hormones, and schoolwork (aka growing pains that somehow made each one in class become their own person), and disbelief that senior year went by too soon and would no longer endure and enjoy spending days together.
How I wished we were able to keep a copy of that simple write-up which she posted on our bulletin board. And how I wished I could have written something that well.
Although I may never see my former classmates as often as during my high school years, reunions are usually just around the corner for meet ups (or when necessity dictates. lol). Especially now that it’s already November.
“No more… of them…”
But November brings other memories in mind. It’s a time to reminisce people that you see no more… of them… no matter how many reunions or homecomings I may decide to attend.
As I lay quietly in the comforts of my bed and listen to the familiar noise in my neighborhood, I am reminded of how long I’ve lived here that each residence has its own familiar “natural” sound. Even though most homeowners are just tenants, every house has its own voice. The quiet slam of the car doors from two doors away, the noisy chatter from visiting transients across the street, and the thundering footsteps on the second floor of the house next door are just some sounds that I have come to be familiar with in my lifetime. But the most deafening noise I’ve heard so far is from the silence of the gates from three doors across our house – the home of one of one of my mom’s oldest friend, and my honorary aunty ever since I can remember.
The sound of her gates opening and closing could be heard even inside our own house and would usually signal to me that she’s home at night or leaving for work in the morning. Day in and day out, it has been a part of my life. When mom and dad would have to be away, I’d get to stay at her house. I learned how to play Word Factory with her and experienced my first overnights. When her nieces and nephews would visit, I’d be invited over to play. During parties at her house or even in her hometowns, we’d be asked to attend. She never got married so she was like a second mom to me too while growing up. When my mom passed away, she was also in remission due cancer of the stomach (or was it the colon). I’d occasionally visit her at home just to keep her company while she waits for her niece, and for me to not feel lonely too during my mom’s first year in passing. Then life progressed. I kept myself busy but would still listen it to the rusty sound of her gates shrieking open. Then suddenly… no more… for a really long time. When I would call out on her… no answer. At first, I thought she was back at the hospital or stayed for a while at their family house. Then during October last year, I called for her again (knowing October was her birthday month). But still nothing. It was then that my godmother from two doors away informed me that aunty Frosy passed away on September.
I never got to visit. Not even to pay my respects or hug her and thank her. I never even got to write about it last year when I should have. But the words would just escape me. I could only think of then was “No more of them.”
I am constantly reminded that I live alone. More so lately now that I seem to be surrounded by a new set of people I’ve had the priviledged to meet. They wonder if I’m just okay by myself and ask if don’t I ever get scared. Honestly, for now, yes I’m fine and no I’m not scared.
Last week I had a chance to meet a Jesuit priest who was part of the school community my mom worked for during my basic education years. Fr. was surprised to have heard that Mom and Dad passed away that the 2nd time we met up again, he kept on asking what happened and how I’m getting by. Naturally, one day at a time. I may not see more of them, but being where I work, seeing the people who knew them occassionally, doing the things we’ve been used to doing, and being here at home makes it easier to get things back to normal.
But nevertheless, Novembers are the toughest. November 6, 2010 was when my dad passed away. And since Mommy has also gone to eternal rest, visiting the cemetery during All Souls Day gets tough… especially going there alone, cleaning up, placing flowers, praying, and talking. Nobody to share with. And sometimes, going home to an empty house after visiting… physically reminds me… no more of them.
Just this afternoon (November 7), we laid to rest one of our co-teachers. This one hits a bit closer to home since she was in the same grade level I’m currently assigned, and she has been one of my supporters for my Broadway Productions in Grade 1. Seeing the events of her fall and hospitalization through other peoples eyes and mine, breaks my heart most especially witnessing the loss, the uncertainty, and the fear the family members are left with. Stories and sorrows from friends and colleagues who, upon returning to work would definitely feel the void… the freshness of seeing no more of Tr. Jess.
Nobody said that it was easy. Sometimes we’re only prepared to say goodbye since we know we’ll meet again soon enough… but for the long haul, it’s a scary prospect and we’re never fully ready. Just have to take it one day at a time.
In saying goodbye, reunions, grieving, and in healing, I guess we just have to make the most of it. The beginning may be rocky at first, and we encounter a lot of bumps in the road. But it’s never the destination that makes it worthwhile… it’s the journey. No more of them maybe, but it’ll be okay eventually. Especially when they will always be in our hearts.