I’ve been back in New York for more than 24 hours now. I’d like to think, too, that I have started to move on, yet the grief seems to linger.
I tried to sleep as the fatigue crept in at midnight, but the tears started to come instead. I remembered Papa and everything that has come to light since he passed. I thought the grief would lessen after I left Manila, but with all the questions that have arisen since he left us, I cannot help but feel myself bobbing up and down a sea of grief.
Sadness blankets my heart.
I brought home one of the baseball caps I had given him years ago as a memento. I also took back a white handkerchief I had gotten from Pope Benedict’s visit to New York which I had given to him last year. I busied myself taking photographs of his photos to take with me, leaving the hard copies with my brothers and sister instead. I also took home the letters I had written him before which my half sister had returned to me. His letters to me are in my dresser.
I’d like to take the mantra of dwelling on the good memories instead of the bad but I don’t seem to have a choice as to which one comes to mind at any given point. I try to remember Daddy smiling.. laughing with his booming voice resonating in the room.. my father was a very charming man, always the life of the party. He loved and lived hard.. he had so much love to give he loved a lot. Not always in the right way, or in the right circumstances, but I figure he just followed his heart.
Deaths in a family always brings the best and worst out in us. I am grateful for the outpouring of sympathy, and at the same time hurt by the nonchallance or insensitivity of others. It brings out deep seated anger that would otherwise have simmered beneath the surface. And at the same time, it brings out a sense of compassion we would otherwise have not realized we had had it not been for the difficulty and pain of mourning.
I am trying to get on to going back into the swing of things so to speak. I have groceries to be bought, sundries to be restocked, clothes to put away. When I left, we had just had our windows replaced and Alan and I are in the middle of a repainting-getting new window treatments-redecorating bit. He just asked me if we might consider doing wooden floors for our dining room. Maybe. I said we have to study the best alternative although I really have no idea what that would be right now.
Work awaits. When I left, I only let a select few know I was leaving to lay my Dad to rest. Tomorrow when they ask me about my vacation, I will tell them I didn’t go on one — it was to say goodbye to Dad. At least now I know I can deal with the condolences.. when I left, I was afraid the expressions of sympathy would make me burst into tears.
I have been lucky that those whom I told were very understanding. My boss sat me down for a talk. In many ways, she helped me to put myself in a better frame of mind heading home. Less pain, less anger — enabling me to deal better with the grief. The pain and the anger remained and had somehow grown, but then I came in with a stronger composure that helped me to see things in a more positive light. So forget that there are those I expected just a little more compassion from who were too busy worrying about other things. As I said, when things like this happen, we see the best and worst in those around us.
I relied on my immediate family and friends from way back to provide me the crutch I needed to go from day to day. And rely on them I will continue to do. Alan and Angelo provide me strength to look forward to tomorrow with optimism. My Mom and my siblings have moved forward.. or are hoping to move on.. My friends have always been there and continue to be there.. Life goes on.. even with Papa gone.