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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Grief comes in very huge packages

Tell me, what are the odds of a blogger posting entries about the passing away of a loved one twice in a row? It's practically nil, right. That was what I thought until I realized I have not blogged anything since my friend's, Arlene's, death. Now, I have to post this painful entry over the loss of my mother and realized I am wrong. But then, I have been wrong all the time about my mother's passing. You see, she has been suffering from alzheimer's and arthritis a long time that I thought the news of her death would not come as a surprise to me anymore. She's 87 years old, did nothing else but lie on her bed or sat on her wheelchair. She would not recognize anyone, much more, me, who could only come on Sundays for a visit.

My eldest sister would often call the house to tell me our mother has been looking for that bald, big man sitting by the tv. She can only surmise it was me she was talking about. Who really knew?

At any rate, that morning of the 23rd still came as a shock as I received a text message from my nephew that my mom has gone. I immediately went to her home in Marikina to find out what happened. She was no longer there. My only brother has taken her to the morgue. It was my sister and her grandchildren who greeted me. They were waking her up and she would not respond. They tried everything to revive her to no avail.

It was a long wait. My nieces and nephews and their families started to come and we all helped in cleaning the house for her arrival.

I couldn't find the tears when she arrived. I watched her peacefully lying in her coffin assuring myself that that was the way to go. Die in my sleep. No struggles, no painful goodbyes. We have been deprived of a memory of a doting mother, strong-willed, assuring for a very long time. She was deprived of her dignity, being bathed, clothed with diapers which probably irritated her as she continuously divested of them in spite of our incessant demands not to. She was tied in the hospital or she'd hurt herself getting rid of the dextrose, tubes stuck in her nose to feed her.

And yet, during the interment, it finally hit me. She will no longer be with us and she's buried six feet below the ground. Nobody could ever go away from there. The coffin entombed in sealed cement and buried with thick dirt. I cried. The person I loved most, the person that brought me into this world, the person that cared and nurtured me is no more. All I have left are memories of a distant past. Memories of me growing-up, being taken in front of the tv and fed with landing airplane spoons just so I would eat my food, being taken to and from school, watching plays I was a part of, a memory of a loving, responsible mother, who did her very best to rear her children the only way she knew how. Memories of my teen-aged years which were barely a parent's pride. How I wish alzheimer's did not touch my mother that robbed her of her dignity, her pride. She was robbed of her talent for cooking, baking and all that stuff that mothers loved to do. My only consolation was, she probably did not realize how much in pain she was in. It would have been more painful knowing her children suffered with her.

When she arrived in her coffin, I thought the box was too small. Her legs were bent like as if she was made to fit the coffin. And then I remembered, even her toes were bent. Her toes were all curled up, the big toes landed on top of the other toes and yes, her legs were bent that way causing her too much pain everytime we straightened them up. If you could bear with me for much longer, I would like to share two poems I wrote (not the only ones, you know) about my mother as a tribute to her.


She wouldn’t have minded
the stranger for he feeds her,
helps her bathe and dresses her up,
puts talcum powder on her back

But he ties her hands…

Moves her every two hours
just when she is about to fall
asleep. Says he has to
or she will wound herself scratching

her itchy body. Her healing wounds
feel like a thousand ants
crawling, biting, nibbling her flesh.
He may look nice.

But he ties her hands…

She wonders who he is.
He seems to know everyone.
Talks to them, laughs and tells jokes.
By her count, there are at least
five adults, two children
and a frequent visitor.

And he ties her hands…

“Who are these people?”
she wonders. They say this is her house
she sleeps on her own bed
eats off her own plate,
but strange as it may seem
she feels she is
the stranger...

a stranger in her own house

Is She Really?
(Working title)
This is where alzheimer finally takes me.
My mother - alone in her bed

with neither memory nor care.
She is nothing but a shell

fleshy mollusk meat gone
the soup down to the last gulp.

Like the debris found in the morning
of a full night's revelry

confetti strewn thick on the pavement
amid trash of firecracker paper.

A birdcage without the bird
or a flower without the scent.

This is what she finally seemed to be

With probing eyes and withered hands
she held my face!

Nay, goodbye for now and always remember, I love you very much!!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

bossing, nakikiramay kami ni jet sa pagyao ng nanay mo. alam namin ni jet na mahal na mahal mo siya sa mga kwento mo sa amin tungkol sa kanya.

naiyak ako sa kwento mo rito sa post.

ingat na lang,

4:34 PM  
Anonymous bugsybee said...

Tito Rolly, I know there are no words that can console you at this time. Let me instead offer my prayers - for your mother's eternal repose and for strength for your family in your hour of grief.

7:56 PM  
Blogger VICKY said...

Thank you for sharing Rolly and remembering you on this day and praying for the peaceful repose of your mother's soul. You are a great son and that is only because you had a great mother who did her best for you. My sincere sympathies and her memory will always be with you till eternity. Hope that 2007 will be a great year for you and your family. HAPPY NEW YEAR! am just waiting for the new year here 5 minutes to go...

9:56 PM  
Blogger cathcath said...

My condolences. Two in the family also said goodbye, this December. I have barely recovered from the loss of my MIL. Then another tragedy struck in the family. It's a long wait.

Sometimes peolple think that you are mad when you wish that they should die instead of suffering but it also pains us to see them suffer.

God is so good to her to die in her sleep.

May she rest in peace.

3:58 AM  
Anonymous bayi said...

This was the poem I immediately remembered when I read that she had joined the Lord.

It is a good thing that she passed away in her sleep.

May her soul rest in peace.

I agree that grief sometimes come in big packages. That's why we need friends. We'll always be there for you!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Luchie said...

Condolence Rolly!
I am sure your mother will stay alive forever in your memories.
Take care and God bless!

9:21 PM  
Blogger hoop said...

Sir D,

My Deepest Condolences on your loss again. Be consoled in the fact that she is in a better place right now, free from all the pain and suffering that this world begets us.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tito R,
Ako'y nalulungkot at nakikiramay. Masakit but at least we know she's Home. Her long journey has ended. No more pain, tears or sorrow. God grant her eternal peace. Take care.

1:13 AM  
Blogger Dr. Emer said...

"A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You're free at last."

I'm sure she thanks you and your siblings for all the love you gave her.

Take good care, Tito Rolly.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Mik said...

Tito Rolly, had to de-lurk when I read this. Condolences to your family, am praying for your mom.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous LAR said...

My condolences to you and to your family Manong Rolly!

3:04 AM  
Anonymous DatuPanot said...

i share your loss and grief, ka rolly.

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Gigi said...

Tito Rolly, I wish there were something I could say to help soothe the pain, but all I can do right now is tell you that I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you find peace in your mind, heart, and soul, knowing that your mother will be with you forever, at least in your warm, sweet memories. My thoughts are with you at this most difficult time.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

I'm so sorry for the delayed response. I am currently without a home computer where I usually do my personal stuff like blogging and bloghopping.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Lito and Thelma said...

Pareng Rolly,

Nalaman lang namin kay Mareng Loren ang nangyari sa Mama mo. Bagamat huli na ay lubos kaming nakikiramay sa yo at sa buong pamilya mo. Masakit talaga ang mawalan pero hihilom din yan pagdating ng panahon.

Again our condolences Rolly. Kamusta na lang kay Mareng Nitz at sa mga bata.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

tito rolly, better late than never. My condolences to your family, at least rested na si mommy.

12:18 AM  
Blogger ipanema said...

Condolence Rolly. Sad year for us. I feel for you. Take care.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous nao said...

can't type more.
naiyak ako.
condolence tito rolly..

11:55 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Thank you all for the support.

Bingskee, I got your comment in my mail but couldn't publish it. Thanks.

5:58 PM  

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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
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Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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