Day 12 to Thirty: A Death in the Family

1. Woke up at 2PM to Mama and her brother, Lolo “Carding” Ricardo,  speaking on the phone. He had some important news to tell her but was still thinking of how to break it to her. Told her he’ll call her back. Being both in their 80’s I thought to myself, it mustn’t be good. Must have to do with something about their health. I hope Lolo doesn’t have to say he just found out he had cancer and had a few more days to live. They ended the conversation.

2. Phone rang again. Mama answered. Nobody was answering on the other end. Mama put down the phone before I could tell her that it might be long distance and there is usually a delay in the other person’s answer. It rang again. It was Ninong. “Ha?! Patay na?! Kelan?!” came Mama’s gasp. Ninong broke the news that Lolo Ricardo was trying so hard to say.  Lolo Armando, Mama’s youngest brother, passed away this morning. He had Alzheimer’s and was hardly already getting up the past weeks. All he did was call out “Sangco” (Lolo Ricardo). Ninong talked to be and somewhat scolded me for not telling her myself. I told him I haven’t been in FB since I was sick in bed so I didn’t know myself.

3. After putting down the receiver, Mama gave in to the tears. I too, cried with her, mourning her loss. In the thirty years she has taken care of me, I have witnessed her lose siblings to illnesses and old age one by one. Lola “Pacing” Pacita, Lola “Cording” Concordia, Lola “Trining” Trinidad(?) – the sister closest to her. They were 12 siblings all in all, but now, they are down to two — the two who have the smallest families. Lolo Carding only has one son and daughter who both still live with him ’til today.  For some reason, they both didn’t have families of their own. Lolo Carding still drives them to work. Together nwith their mom, they all live a very secluded life… just like mine.

Mama, Lolo Carding and Lolo Manding were the last remaining three. They were eldest to youngest in age too, respectively. I wonder how hard it is to keep losing brothers and sisters over time – the loss of a loved one happening repeatedly. I have only one sibling, and I know that if I lose her, it will be like losing the world. What more could it be like for Mama to go through mourning 10 deaths?

4. I got to thinking how we – my Mom, Ninong (brother of my mom), and I – are close (in our own very little ways) just to the family’s side of Mama, and not to Papa’s. We hardly know anybody on Papa’s side. I don’t even know how many siblings he had/has, nor do I know their names. Could be coz Mama didn’t care much for them and since she has been the governing body of the household, we weren’t brought up knowing them. I guess they don’t care much for us either, so it’s no biggie.

5. I’ll connect with other family members over FB to find out when and where the wake will be held. I need to get better myself so I can accompany Mama to wherever she has to go.


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