Street but Sweet


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Years ago, my family's All Saints' Day ritual consisted of going to the cemetery at around midnight, where a tent was pitched earlier in the day. We'd play cards, sometimes my brothers would have their guitar and their song hits, and we'd go see our cousins who were visiting their own relatives in other parts of the cemetery. Then we'd lie in sleeping bags laid out on the damp grass. In the morning, we'd queue at the portable toilets (the worst part of the whole stay), pray the rosary, trek to the Last Supper monument, then chow down on sweet spaghetti and fried chicken. If I was lucky, a Magnolia man would pass by and I'd buy some pinipig crunch. Right before going home, Carlos and I would collect the melted candles and form colorful wax balls. I remember having muddied sneakers, the heady smell of scented candles, and the heat of the midday sun.

When the crowds and traffic became unbearable, we moved our visits to a few days before All Saints' Day, and made them short and sweet--over the years, we had more graves to visit. We'd make the rounds of Loyola in Marikina, Libingan ng mga Bayani, and the crypt at Christ the King; afterwards, we'd have lunch or merienda or dinner out, depending on the time we went.

This year, we decided to head to the cemetery Monday night. Had dinner with both my parents first (my dad actually came along this time--and he wasn't his usual surly self), then grabbed some frozen yogurt before heading to Loyola. At the cemetery, my mom and I said a quick prayer. My dad just stood in front of my brother's grave, quietly looking on. I saw my mom gently touch each of the graves--my brother's, my lolo's, my lola's--before we left.

It always pains me to see my mom sad, but I've seen it a few times before. It had been a while since I went there with my dad, and seeing him in front of Tonton's grave made me think if he was ever able to grieve properly. If he was over it. But as H says, it's probably something you never get over.

On our way home, my dad made a spur-of-the-moment decision to swing by Iggy's place. When we got there, Dad just lit up upon seeing his grandson, Diego. It's not something you see often.

H is right. I guess you never forget.


  • At 6:37 PM , Blogger lei said...

    they say losing a child is the most painful. i believe that.


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