Monday, June 15, 2009
As I walked to the casket that bore my ninang, I dreaded for the onslaught of memories that might reduce me to tears in the middle of that buzzing room. I braced myself for one look and stared at my favorite Ninang. She was barely recognizable to me. It didn't take me long to figure out that the strength and the aggressive joy by which my ninang carries herself is heavily expressed by her eyes. It wasn't physically gorgeous- she'd be the first one to tell you that, but there was definitely wisdom there. And fierce protectiveness. You'd just know she'd leap for anybody's throat if they as much as scratch you. But it was gone. The tears didn't come, as much because of expectation; she has been in heavy treatment for the last couple of years or so, and she herself has accepted the direction that her fate had turned. She tried to battle it out but it wasn't long before the cancer won over. The last time I saw her was at Davao Doc and we laughingly joked about the colostomy bag that she was to wear for the rest of life. It was no laughing matter and for someone with less self-confidence, with less life, would have been such a touchy topic. But like everything else, she accepted it in stride and gave more than a smile to it. Still staring at her, I heard her laughter as clear as a pealing bell in a quiet monastery. It reverberated in my head and the buzz of the room got muffled and diluted and tuned out. Instead of the sad ones, the good memories came in and it made me smile. I took one last gaze at her, accepted life on its terms and turned away.