Rainbow Bridge

It’s been a week, and what a long sad week it has been. You have been bawling uncontrollably, emotions flying crazily everywhere at the mere thought and mention of her. It’s not the best time to be wearing mascara.

You still find yourself staring at her favorite spots in the house: in the yard near the gate where she people-watched with you usually on Sunday late afternoons; in the living room near the television where she kept you company as you lounged on the couch doing nothing; in the dining room where she always bugged you to share your food with her. You faintly smile when you recall how she was always hungry.

Mornings are different now. Gone are the days when she was always the first to greet you upon waking up. Afternoons and evenings are not the same either. She was always the first to welcome you home from work, always so cheerfully like you’re the best thing she’s seen all day, and the last you saw before you turned in at night.

You notice how the house now feels too spacious, too quiet. There’s an unquestionable feeling that something’s lacking. Home now feels sad. Home now feels incomplete.

A week has passed, but tears still fall. These tears fall now because she is missed and longed for. You’d like to expect — hope that you’ll see her again, but you know that’s not possible right now, at least not in this life.

So this is how it is – – – when you lose something/one you’ve loved and nurtured so much to death, it feels like you have a hole in your heart that keeps tugging at every memory you’ve shared. It’s painful, and the pain is in your heart.

And just now you realize, your days will never be the same without her.

Life will never be the same.

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On the 8th

We stare at the same stars at night

We bask under the same sun

Sheltered by two different roofs above our heads

Thousands of miles apart

We hold on to a promise dear

We rely on a love that’s real

One day soon the space between us

Will be nothing more than an inch.

Jeepers Creepers

It has been my habit to wait for my brother to arrive home from work as it makes me uneasy staying upstairs while he’s still out. Sometimes when it gets too late, I catch on some sleep on the couch while Marshie stays close to me.

Last night, I dozed off even if it was still fairly early at 10pm. I was only startled and awakened when Marshie started barking. My first thought was my brother has arrived, so I went straight to the door and opened it for him. To my surprise and confusion, there was nobody there. The weird thing was Marshie hasn’t stopped barking. When I turned to ask her what she was barking at, I found her at the foot of our stairs, looking upwards. She was clearly_CLEARLY barking at someone (or something) upstairs.

I immediately got my brother’s baseball bat and my eyeglasses (because I’m blind), and went upstairs to check. I don’t know what came over me. I was cautious that somebody must be upstairs, but I wasn’t scared at all. To make the long story short, I found nobody (or nothing) in the rooms.

When I went back downstairs, Marshie had already gone back to her bed, sleeping as if nothing had happened.

Still confused and a bit shaken, I sat on the couch trying to process what just happened. Yes, even during situations like this, I still manage to reflect.

First of, I didn’t just dreamed everything (although part of me hopes I did). It did happen. What I did though, just rushing upstairs to check for possible intruders, armed only with my brother’s bat, was not safe at all. I should have informed my parents at least. Again, I don’t know what came over me. My first instinct was to get something for protection and check at once.

But the question still remains: What was Marshie barking at?

Based on how Marshie looked at whatever it was last night, mom and dad think she saw my lolo. You see, my lolo was a tall lean man and when he was still alive, he had a habit of standing either at the middle or foot of the stairs. After he passed on, relatives would claim they caught glimpses of him or his silhouette on the stairs.

On the 30th of this month, it would be 24 years since he had left us. Maybe, he wanted to pay us a visit and check on everybody.

I don’t know what Marshie actually saw last night that creeped out both of us. Living or non-living, we had a visitor last night. Clearly, I’d welcome the latter more than the former. Reckless as I was though, I won’t be afraid to go full on-Negan on him. I have my own Lucille.

Kidding aside and above all though, prayers do wonders, as always.

Fight

The past two or three weeks had been tough for the family, more particularly for my dad. He was rushed to the ER for two consecutive weeks, and for the past few days, had been struggling to move and eat.

The most difficult and heartbreaking for me is to see my dad in so much pain, to see him cry, and for me, the whole family, to keep it together and remain stronger for him.

We remain strong in our faith and trust that the Lord will not let us go through challenges we as a family cannot overcome.

For the past couple of days, dad has been showing some progress. From barely moving in bed all day and needing to be lifted and carried, he can now slowly sit, stand, and walk on his own even without his cane. He’s also regained some of his appetite, too. Slowly but surely, he’s getting stronger and stronger.

We remain strong in our faith and trust that the Lord will not let us go through challenges, we as a family cannot overcome.

There’s still so much to be thankful for though despite the challenges.

—-
I wrote that two days ago, as dad was undergoing a bone scan.

Today, we received the results, and unfortunately, the cancer has metastasized to dad’s bones, particularly his skull, sternum, clavicles, scapulae, ribcage, vertebral spine, pelvis, humeri, and femora. Dad has to undergo IV treatment, similar to chemotherapy, once a month for six months, and after which, another bone scan if the medicine is helping.

Help, that’s all the treatments can do – – – help slow down the cancer, because to put it bluntly, there’s no more cure.

To be honest, I am feeling a mix of anger, pain, exhaustion, and sadness. But I also quickly realize, what the hell for? Where will feeling negatively bring me? Nowhere. And if I’m feeling this way, how much more for my mom, and especially dad.

We are badly bruised as a family, but we’re not beaten. We know to remain strong in our faith and trust that the Lord will not let us go through challenges we as a family cannot overcome.

We are not beaten. Our fight continues.

Flush

I’ve been reflecting on the past week, but I’m finding it difficult to even know how and where to start.

To say that last week had been physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting and stressful is an understatement.

Our office conducted a legal conference in Davao for three days, but prior to that, we’ve already spent weeks making last minute preparations. Ours was a team of first-timers, so as expected, we encountered a few bumps along the way. A few rocky bumps along the way, that when we finally finished, we literally fell on the floor (of our room) after our shaky knees had already given in.

Apart from work duties far from home, I worried about some family concerns, too. On my first night in Davao, my dad was rushed to the ER, and my aunt twisted her ankle in an accident. It was the first time I felt so frustrated and helpless, to be so far away and not be able to do anything. “Why did I have to be on this work trip, just when my family needed me?”

It wasn’t the best feeling, to be in that situation, but I was. I didn’t know whether to keep a straight face (in front of my bosses and colleagues), or cry. I wanted so much to grab my things and fly back to Manila, like Manila was just a jeepney ride away.

I still assumed my work duties, while I waited for updates about my dad and aunt. I never looked at my phone as often as I did that night. I was anxious, so much, that after I used the toilet to do a Number 1, I absent-mindedly clicked on the bidet when I meant to reach for the flush. Yes, I got drenched in toilet water. Don’t ask me how that happened. I can’t explain it either. I laughed, and I guess I needed that.

The events of last week reminded me about how hard work and preparedness should go hand in hand; when faced with obstacles, it’s always best to focus on the solution, rather than the problem, even when it’s easier said than done; and to keep calm, always keep calm.

But I feel, more importantly, I was reminded to keep strong in my faith. It wasn’t easy to be in such circumstances, and I could go on and on about feeling stressed and tired, but in the end, faith sustains and endures.

My team and I successfully conducted a legal conference. My dad although still with health concerns is doing fine. My aunt despite the twisted ankle shared more love and laughter with us before she flies back to America later tonight.

Indeed, I needed that instant toilet water shower. It was a wake up call, I think, to trust in the Lord and keep faith.

Perspectives

On the 22nd to the 24th of August, I attended a workshop on Change Management conducted by Microsoft Philippines. Have you ever attended an event that left such a huge impact on you that you just couldn’t stop thinking, reflecting, or talking about it? Exactly how I feel now. I’m on a high.

I’ve been feeling like I’ve hit plateau at my job for the past year. I’m less motivated and less challenged. There’s still a sense of contentment, but there’s also an urge to find more growth. And with ‘find’, I mean explore some place else where I can fly and soar yet again. I’ve been constantly praying for contentment and guidance on what path to take.

About a month ago, I was asked to join ‘a workshop that was going to be held in Makati’ because one of our consultants, who was originally supposed to go, was not going to be able to for some reason. A ‘filler’, a role I’m trying to get accustomed to in government service. Despite that, I accepted the offer and only had two concerns: 1) what’s the workshop about; and 2) will a shuttle be provided (~because Makati). I was a bit hesitant, but more excited, looking forward to what I may learn and eager to have a change in environment.

The workshop was postponed twice which made me less interested about it. When I was informed that it will finally push through, I wasn’t too ecstatic about it anymore.

It only dawned on me how cool of an opportunity it was to be sent to this workshop on the first day upon arriving at the venue. From then on, considering that I am after more motivation and challenge, I embraced the task at hand and resolved to maximize the opportunity.

I sat right on the front row, something I don’t really do, determined to focus, listen, and engage. It wasn’t at all difficult to do because the workshop was very reflective and hands-on. In fact, I was so engaged that I managed to win the best project pitch for my team and a quiz game on the last day. Hello, competitive. I was dubbed the class valedictorian.

The workshop allowed me to realize I may still have more to give professionally; that I still had more to offer and contribute; and that this brain of mine can still think and produce wonders. (Those peanuts I endlessly munch on are working overtime, kids!) 😁

Kidding aside, apart from the many takeaways I had from the workshop, I realized that the solution to every instance you hit plateau is not to run and seek a new home. Yes, change is inevitable, but most of the time, you just need to step away from the plate and take a breather.

I’m thankful the consultant was not available for the workshop. I’m thankful I was the next best choice to attend ~ the ‘filler’. I’m thankful for opportunities to breathe fresh new air, learn, and reboot.

Scarred (Revised)

It’s been one month and six days since my finger accident, and I’ve spent the same period of time applying Betadine and protective band-aid it. It has been one month and six days, but my finger isn’t 100% fully-functional yet. Visibly, my finger looks okay because the wound has closed-up, and all that’s left is a scar that to me resembles a lightning-bolt, like Harry Potter’s. Do you see it? No? I do.

There’s still some pain though when I press on my finger which only means the wound inside has not fully-healed yet.

There are days when I get impatient, I skip the usual Betadine and band-aid, and just end up hurting my finger more. I miss pointing at things with my pointy finger, gripping on my pen when I write (I write with conviction!), and properly holding my utensils when I eat, but my finger needs time to heal, so I listen. I let it heal.

My injured finger loosely reminds me of people, who may appear ‘okay’, with big smiles on their faces; who engage in fun and laughter, but are actually not truly happy; who are most probably hurdling through struggles of their own.

People, like things, aren’t always how/what they appear. The way a person (re)acts in a particular circumstance does not always define her/him. Think Dobby, or Sirius Black, or best yet, Severus Snape – – remember how time and time again, Harry Potter was proven wrong by his initial judgments about these three?

Pause. I got carried away with my Harry Potter reference, I think. I blame the lightning bolt-looking scar on my finger.

But I do have significant realizations. With people, it’s best not to judge too quickly. It’s best not to assume too fast. It’s best not to conclude so easily.

But as for my Harry Potter finger, I should allow time for healing. It’s best to be patient. ❤️

*Harry Potter pic borrowed from the internet.