I wasn’t supposed to come on this trip. It was initially a trip planned by two of my sisters, but when the other one decided to come along, my mom thought it best that I did too. My last visit to America was in 2004 and I was still in College then, so it was due time. The only problem was I hadn’t renewed my visa yet. But when I had a successful run at the embassy and was blessed with a 10-year multiple entry, it was clear: “I am kasama” (I am going).
I missed Papa the most yesterday. I don’t always think of him, I confess. I think I’ve compartmentalized a big chunk of that reality to cope… so most of the time I forget about him and then surges of memories come at different times of the day, especially when I’m driving or when I pass by his office. When this happens I feel a deep hurt in my chest and I cannot breathe. Then I remember he’s gone and I’ll feel tears run down my cheeks, and I’ll wipe it right away. Sometimes I even find myself shaking my head, like when you’re trying to get rid of a bad thought. I don’t like being sad. I know my being sad won’t really bring my Papa back, so I don’t want to remember him that way.
“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except Death and Taxes”
During Papa’s wake I had a momentary lapse while I was talking to one of my girl friends:
Friend: I think your dad knew my husband’s dad, he was a military doctor. I think they were assigned here in Villamor around the same time.
And within seconds I slapped her hard on the shoulder. I slapped her so hard because after she gave me the name, I made a mental note to ask my Papa, and then realized that I couldn’t do that anymore. Papa is gone so he could never answer my question. For a moment there, I immediately jumped to a familiar practice and forgot that he is gone. Papa is gone… and there is no remedy to that.