I have not had my hysterical breakdown, my sustained ugly cry yet. I have had moments of tears and some sobs. But not as much as I had thought or maybe even wanted. I thought at first because I had to be person in chrage.
It was a flurry of activities from last Friday, April 12 to Tuesday, April 16. One had to arrange for the mortuary and funeral services. One had to coordinate with the hospital for the settlement of the bills and the release of the body and the death certificate. Thankfully, Tatay had a life plan that covered some of the expenses. But more importantly, they (The service provider) assisted me from start (pick-up of body from hospital) all the way to burial. Loyola Lifeplan and its service provider, Santuarium, were very professional and helpful. I cannot thank them enough.
It seems almost surreal now. I was there when the doctors and nurses tried to revive him. I was there as they wrapped his body. I had to go down to the hospital morgue to ID his body before it was taken away (they might pick up the wrong body!). Late afternoon, I checked on him again, to approve his appearance, especially his make up. I didn’t like to be the one to do this because I honestly didn’t know how to judge whether it was done correctly or not. Tatay had lost so much weight so even using his pictures as reference was inadequare. Yet my Ate No. 2 didn’t want to accompany me (because that meant leaving my mom). Thankfully, the base appearance was improved. Visitors also commented how well he looked.
Then I was on full event organizer mode as the wake details were being planned. My biggest concern was the food. How does one plan for the feeding of thousands (I exaggerate)? I have to give myself credit for executing that well, including the logistics and venue set-up. (We were so fortunate to have been allowed to hold the wake at the nearby Home for the Elderly, run by nuns. Tatay used to be their doctor.)
And as all of that was going on, I also had to entertain the visitors, especially from my side (colleagues and friends). Telling the story over and over and over again to different people!
Then came the plans for the funeral Mass, and that trip to the cemetery to bury him. I thought this would be my breakdown scene. I even decided not to sing at the mass. But I surprised myself by being so composed, managing to even be lector and singer.
Heritage Park is quite far from our place. But that was where we were able to get a lot. If I had my way, I would have had him cremated and his ashes at the columbary near our Parish. But he explicitly did not want cremation.
It was super warm and sunny that Holy Tuesday. By 2pm, the funeral convoy had reached the park. We started the last blessings and viewing by 230pm. Though sunny, there was a nice breeze all around us. A handful of friends and family joined us. There was a lot of crying, except me. I was holding up very well, till they lowered the casket six feet below. And we all solemnly went home, mindful most of all of our mom’s condition.
With all that over, there still wasn’t any major breakdown. tried to induce crying. I listened to my playlist of super sad songs. I watched “Dad”, that 1989 movie of Jack Lemmon and Ted Danson about father and his son. Yes, I teared up but again, limited waterworks. I remember crying much more when I broke up with an ex. I was thinking that would be the level of my anguish.
Did I love him less? Is there something wrong with me? Have I become this husk of a person? Ok, a bit over the top. But now, after almost two weeks, I have stopped wanting to cry. I suppose it would just come. And even if it wouldn’t, it didn’t mean any of that nonsense.
I love you, Tatay and I miss you terribly. i honor you for being a humble yet exemplary doctor who brought healing, humor and genuine concern to your patients. I hold you in the higheat esteem for being a loving husband and dedicated father to us. I have the distinct pleasure of serving you and being with you to the very end of your mortal life. I hope that when my own time comes and we meet in heaven, you will tell me that I have made you proud.
Till that time, Tatay.
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