Epilogue

Sept. 25, 2011 – I made some carbonara for us on the weekend. You liked it so much you said “Ganito uli sa birthday ko.” (“I’d like this again for my birthday.”) I was so happy, I made a mental note to make you some more two weeks from then.

Sept. 27, 2011 – You, Mama, and me were lying in our beds and talking about family and the war – there was nothing left to do since there was a blackout since the morning of the storm and the ground floor is flooded. You said you’re lucky that you’re still alive when many of your cousins, siblings and friends have long passed away. You also said the US is just waiting for all veterans to pass on before approving the privileges you are supposed to get.

Sept. 28, 2011 – We were finally able to go downstairs and check the flood’s damage to the house. All furniture and belongings touched by the waters, save the ref and stove which you carried, were all soaked and destroyed. I felt terrible. As you walk over to the office door to look out into the flooded garden, I said “Our papers… all lost…” referring to the important life documents. “It doesn’t matter if we lose all our papers. The only important document that should be safe is our passport to heaven,” you calmly said.

Sept. 29, 2011 – You were in pain. Your leg was bothering you nonstop. You have been dealing with gout for year, and now it’s even worsened by your diabetes. I knew it would get better with meds. By night, it was getting worse, and I was getting so worried. I wondered silently if we should bring you to the hospital. Mama asked it out loud. You said you just need more meds. You were in terrible, terrible pain. You could hardly move. Way past midnight Mama and I were still trying to make you feel better. I suggested taking Tramadol since your regular pain meds were not working. That was my last go-to med. Cured the worst headache I ever had, but made me feel I was falling an endless well. I was afraid to give it to you. Mama swore she would never take it anymore after taking it once and it messed her up. You asked if that would make the pain better. I tentatively said “yeah.” You said you might not wake anymore if you take it. I prayed that is not true. How could that happen? You are always so strong and you always, always get better. I gave you a capsule and tried to ease your pain by putting a hot water bottle to your swollen legs and foot. You worried about me staying up too late despite you being in pain. You kept asking me not to worry and go to sleep because I needed my rest. I eventually obliged.

Sept. 30, 2011 – You woke up earlier than anyone. According to Dolly you crawled down the stairs since you could no longer walk. You could no longer speak coherently. Mama was sitting at the dining table when I got down. I asked her why don’t we bring you to the hospital. She said something about not being sure and to do what you ask/wanted. I decided to bring you to the hospital. I had to stop worrying about savings. You didn’t want to be brought. You asked your client to send someone with a signed promisory note they will pay despite whatever happened to you. The person came. Both of you signed. On our way to the hospital, as I was trying to ease your pain and repeatedly telling you that you’ll be well shortly, I held your cheek to make you know I was just there. Amidst your throes of pain, you calmed down. You gently touched my hand on your cheek, seemingly to tell me that everything will be alright. For a few moments, it felt like everything was going to be okay. And then you went back to twisting and turning on your seat and clutching at the seat belt. I lost you two hours after. You took your passport with you on that trip.

Oct. 8, 2011 – We laid you to rest. I wasn’t able to make you your carbonara as I promised to do, two weeks back.

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