It was drizzling as I sat by the window. I looked out as the bus passed by the streets quietly moving unceremoniously through the not so busy traffic of a normal weekday. It was not a usual sight and so I had to take a snapshot.
It reminded me of something. Something I heard in Philo 101 and it was all about a thing called “wonder”. We go by the same streets everyday en route to God knows where we are heading. We might see the same signs, the same buses, even the same people, but we need to keep our eyes open. We need to look again.
Looking again is a revisiting of the usual with eyes a little bit more open for the not so usual. If we don’t keep an eye open life can become a ritualistic piece of machine. The world can speak to us but we need to be open.
Hmm… what caused this awakening?
It is surprising what a death in the family can do. An unexpected death all the more so. My brother-in law dies via a motorcycle accident. He was healthy, fit and conscientious with his diet and even abs. He has three kids, the youngest being barely four. He goes out one December night on a motorcycle that he has driven for some 3-4 years already after throwing a despedida party for himself at home ( it seems he had a plane ticket to go abroad as he wanted to try his luck again outside of the country). He is some 1 kilometer away from his house and he meets another motorcycle with three passengers, gets hit by the side of his own and skids to a stop, being thrown in midair and hitting his head on the ground fatally. As the adage goes, he never knew what hit him.
His wife and the his whole household is awakened by the news that he was rushed to the hospital by one of his brothers who he was with that night but whom he left at the place where they were. ‘He wasn’t there anymore, when they brought him to the hospital” his wife said when I talked to her. But they tried to keep him in oxygen support and tried to revive him a couple of times before they finally accepted the fact that he was gone. He was just 38 years old and yesterday, they were supposed to have celebrated their 11th year anniversary as husband and wife.
There is more to his story that I do not know. I just know and tell my husband who is in deep grief that, his youngest and closest brother has a mission that he has to fulfill with God. He is not gone but is even closer to us because he is with God. It is both magical and scary this thing called death. Magical because one sees and experiences that yes, there is something out there outside of LIFE. Yes, we can continue to feel those we love who has gone ahead of us and yes they remember us and continue to love us. Scary because, those who are left behind stay in a “tomblike” existence for some time, and it is like literally staying in front of the tomb or the grave. I have felt Death’s presence, we can all say after this experience. A presence to reckon with. Something that you can’t shake off. Something real.
We stay in silence in front of him and somewhat speak to him in a child’s tone and we ask “Why?” Why him… why not somebody else… why now? why so soon? etc etc etc
We stay in silence and even though it is unnoticed, we all think and ask ” How about me? How about him or her?” I catch myself many times looking at my slumbering husband each night to check…”Is he breathing?” It is unnerving. I guess it is part of the whole experience.
It is a grace to those who are left behind in one sense because we have been given a taste of it and therefore we begin to ask… What do I do now? What is left for me to do?
And maybe that is why yesterday, I bought myself a notebook and a pen. Maybe that is why when I think of the present and the future now, there is an awareness of the question… have I really loved those who have been given to me? Have I loved enough, have I served enough, have I asked forgiveness, have I forgiven… have I shared and cultivated what God has given me?
Sometimes, I think to myself, what have I left to share? Writing my thoughts… sharing what I see may be a venture in pride exhibition of what I think I can do and say. And so, I choose not to think anymore. I will write and continue because I think and feel that in doing so I become more of the person my Creator has made me to be.
I have nothing much to give but at the very least I have “something” to say.
I remember one of my talks with my sister in law. She was crying and sobbing saying… I LOVE HIM SO MUCH! I gave him everything… I wanted him to have all.. I gave him all that I can give.. I love him so much!
I do not know what to say in the face of such grief, I think we can really not say anything to appease the pain or to comfort. I just told her to LOVE SOME MORE… This is the last act of LOVE for him here on Earth that you can do… LET HIM GO… GIVE HIM to God… this is what he needs you to do. However much you love him, he cannot stay with you in this way, you need to accept, you need to make this ACT of LOVE and say farewell… Then he can love you and your kids more fully in the way that is possible for him at this point…
Death is both ugly and beautiful. It is human and hopefully divine…