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.
The 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.
It’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.
Lipa City’s Panciteria where the noodles are home-made.
Bonete 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.
A 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.
Not 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.
After 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.