How most days of my September went

It all starts outside the ICU. It’s quite a pain in the ass for a nurse when a lot of relatives force themselves inside the unit. If conscious, the patient is stressed when loved ones cry all around him. Most of the time though, it’s the hospital staff who are stressed because of the endless questions and (sometimes) bitchiness of significant others especially regarding visiting hours. Being on the other side, you now understand the pain and longing to always cross the damn door.

IMG_0214Three days of sleeping on the floor, of not taking a bath, of crying and of doing other things done during these times — taking a break is crucial. A frappuccino is essential.

IMG_0224The last death in the family you experienced was way back in high school so when the inevitable happens and you’re sort of already considered as an adult, you can’t be a crybaby all the time. Some of those emotions you need to let sit in one corner for a while. You can’t steal the best actress award from the siblings, after all. You help in doing adult things like signing in a Do Not Resuscitate form (which you wish you never have to do ever again) and going to the funeral parlor.

IMG_0257You find it personal when wakes are held at home. Funeral parlors, no matter how convenient, are just so…detached.

IMG_0269It’s not that you can’t stay at home. Defense mechanism just dictates that you always go out. Go out to forget a bit. Go out to eat. Go out to get away from the repetitive questions of what why how where when happened. You were never the extrovert type so you prefer night shifts when only the closest kin are present.

IMG_1123And this is where food begins. You’re a stress eater. Never mind your ruined diet and weight. It’s comforting to know that there are things you can gain back after losing them.

Lipa City’s Panciteria where the noodles are home-made.

11Hermanas where the city-wide black out forced you to have candlelit dinner.

333Cafe de Lipa where they utilize Kapeng Barako in their frappes.

2Bojok’s Sisig care of Kuya Buddy where you kill yourself with pork and alcohol at the same time.

444Papay’s where they serve oven-fresh pan de sal with malunggay 24 hours a day and 7-eleven where they sell, uhm, stuff.

777Orbits which offers better food than the previous store which occupied the place (Wada’s) plus chips on the side.

5555Traveller’s Lomi Haus in Pangao  where tito Del used to always drive you to whenever you’re home.

8888Big Belly’s near De La Salle Lipa where the meals are cheap and the serving, huge.

9999And good old McDonald’s because it’s almost always the only fast food open past midnight.

IMG_0303Thank God for the beautiful flowers which help in lightening the otherwise gloomy mood at home.

IMG_0489And for butong pakwan because really, eating these takes time and patience.

IMG_0487Another practice for improving the mood: taking pictures (since almost every Filipino smiles at the sight of a camera).

3Pinoy silogs in the morning. It really makes a difference when it’s cooked at home and not bought, eh. Or it’s just you.

IMG_0471Special Toasted Mamon from Maning’s Bakery in San Jose. So good you ate 10 without realizing it. 😐

IMG_0310Siopao with chili sauce pasalubong from cousin. Not better than your Pangs’ version but the chili sauce gave it an interesting kick.

IMG_0314Bonete from somewhere in Tambo. At this point you’ve lost track of what you ate. You just trusted your cousins and they let you taste all the things Lipa has to offer. Been going back and forth for 21 years but you haven’t had half of what’s posted here. Guess you’ve never stayed this long, though it’s for a rather sad reason.

IMG_1089Ate Galo’s chicken feet.

IMG_0890The weather was in unison with your feelings. Gloomy, unpredictable, wet. Thanks to the strong winds, a transformer broke and the lights went out. There is a light that never goes out, eh?

IMG_0510It was one of your childhood dreams to pave cement but not in a tomb.

IMG_0601 IMG_0610It’s a funny thing, grief. Right after the drama of interment, everyone was smiling.

IMG_0617You were all so exhausted nobody wanted to cook so you had pizza and ice cream instead. For the next few days, eating out would be the norm. It can safely be assumed you were in denial.

23Plus JolliSpaghetti for Gian.

IMG_0484A day after the burial you went through old pictures and saw a lot of photos that made you laugh and sad (especially the ones with a thin and ugly Tito Del in them). On another note, look at how beautiful black and white photos are. Your maternal grandparents on their wedding day.

4Going out yet again.

5Crab rice from Max’s.

IMG_08107-cheese overload from Greenwich.

IMG_0993Vanity with your favorite picture buddy, Gian.

6You were invited by a relative to attend the Brotherhood for Christian Businessmen and Professionals breakfast. Why not?

66666Not content with the breakfast served, you went to the famous Gotohan sa Barangay in Pangao where you ate Jelly Ace while waiting. Goto in Lipa is not rice porridge. Instead, it’s beef meat and innards cooked in broth. Best eaten with rice, calamansi and sili.

12After a week or so, some of you went back to the province, others to their respective countries while the rest stayed in Batangas. It was when you were back to your regular lives that the loss of Tito Del was felt the most. You were done with denial, some bypassed anger and are bargaining with themselves. It’s time for depression. A few times, your mother called saying she was so sad while your grandmother would just burst into tears.

By now you have settled and semi-accepted what has happened (because really, it was all too sudden you still haven’t digested everything and you’re not sure if you can ever fully accept that a loved one is dead) and in a few months or years you’d all be fine but there’d always be one thing, one instance or one memory that would trigger the loss. Going home to Lipa would never be the same. So are New Year’s Eve celebrations. And riding that red car which has been around since you were 8 or 9.

123This note your younger cousins wrote before they left the hospital a few hours before he died captures what you feel, wrong spelling and all.

IMG_0261Thank you Tito Del. You inspire me to enjoy life.


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