Friday, November 27, 2009

Just in case you want to know

The first thing I noticed when I woke up at 5:30 yesterday morning was that the light on the Rama VIII bridge, which I can see from my window, was switched off. As it was still dark outside, it should be lighted up. For some strange reason, I said to my self that something must have happened, not pinpointing specifically what that "something" was.

At 6 a.m. I went down to the first floor to prepare my usual breakfast of muesli and soy milk, which I ate while watching the news on TV. And then I brought the newspapers to my bedroom at around 7 a.m., read a bit, and eventually dozed off. Work is still an hour and a half away.

At 8:30 a.m. I woke up to the sound of my cell phone ringing. I picked it up, pretty much half asleep. The screen said "private number". My sister's voice was on the other side of the line. She was sobbing.

"Daddy's gone."


"Daddy's gone."

I remember my hands shaking and telling my sister to calm down. I said goodbye and called my mom. She was crying and I could not understand much of what she said. I just remember her saying over and over again that my dad has left us. The best I could tell her at that time was that she calm down and I promised her that I'd call later.

The previous evening, my sister messaged me that my dad had a heart attack. When I talked to my mom, she said that they were in the hospital and that my dad is generally OK but is just a bit weak. This did not worry me much and since he was already sleeping I planned to check on him the following day.

After talking on the phone with my mom yesterday morning, the instinctively I make a list in my head of the things I felt I needed to do right away.

Buy air tickets. (How long do I need to be away?) Wash clothes. (The water pump is broken, so I have to bring my clothes to the laundry shop.) Ask permission from my boss that I will go home. (For how many days?) Get a haircut. Cancel trip to Bali and Java. (Not that I will get a refund, but someone else might need to use my seat in the plane.) Finish the project proposal I was working on. What book shall I bring along? Do I need to bring leather shoes?

The list was quite random, it hardly was coherent, but I had just this compulsion to immediately organize things.

When I told my boss about the death of my father he instantly said that the office will pay for my air tickets. Damn, I could not be more lucky considering how expensive the tickets are at this time of the year. For that I could not be more thankful to my office.

Having the ticket cost covered I had to decide how long I was planning to be away. I thought a couple of weeks would be enough but when I talked to my sister she said I better stay for Christmas and New Year, assuming that my mom would want that. It made sense, after all the holiday mood might in fact make her much lonelier and that the best I could do is be there for her. I opted to stay until after the New Year.

Damn, these air tickets are expensive!

By eleven o'clock I've ran out of things to do. Until then I haven't really given much thought to the death of my dad. I felt there were more immediate things to do and that I can deal with mourning for him later when I'm in Surigao.

Strangely, I had the urge to tell my friends. I SMSed first my BKK friends and then I YMed the Czarina of Penang, who then told some of our blogger friends. The BKK friends called to check on me and soon enough messages from the blogger amigas came in one by one.

Until yesterday, I did not have a very clear idea of how to comfort people who just lost their loved ones. When I received my friends' messages of condolences though I honestly felt less and less lonely.

I wasn't particularly sad but looking at it now I was just completely lonely, that someone left me on my own. I remember asking my self while staring at my computer screen: where is everyone? I don't know what I meant with that question, I was simply yearning for people to acknowledge my loss.

So I wrote that blog post about the death of my father. I suppose I wanted to lessen the desolation I felt by sharing my mourning. I haven't had this kind of feeling before and to tell people about my grief was almost instinctive.

As the day progressed I felt that I needed to inform more of my friends about the death of my father. Not that they can do anything about it, but I figured maybe they should just know. Again, this feeling is really foreign to me, that sense of urgency that my closest friends acknowledge my loss. I swear it's strange.

I initially planned to inform my friends in Davao and Surigao. As I checked my list of people to inform, I kept on adding one name after another. I started with just four names but ended up sending the email to about two dozen people: former colleagues, classmates, etc.

And the email was supposedly just a short notice, instead I just kept on writing, adding nonsensical details about my dad's condition, my plans of going home, and so on. When I reviewed what I wrote it dawned on me that I must've over-done it. I seriously asked my self: why do they need to know all these?

Until now I have yet to find an answer to that question. It just felt good writing what I said and realizing that these people know what I'm going through. Perhaps, I needed to validate my feelings while I was utterly incapable to describe them. Strange. Really strange.

The entire afternoon I had this really, really strong urge to write, write, write. I had many topics floating in my head. Things such as how my father told us bedtime stories, or how he and my mom met, or how he performed magic tricks when we were kids, or about his humor, or how he loved to dance with my mom.

I pulled my self away from my desk instead, scared of the flood of emotions that would engulf me if I wrote about my dad.

In the bus to meet my friends in Silom, I was wishing that I had something to write on while the bus is stuck in traffic. The urge to write was just as strong, it does not really make sense to me. And it's not just writing my thoughts and emotions but also to put it out for others to read. Really strange, no? But I always asked my self: who really needs to know what you think and how you feel? And so I eventually tried to resist the temptation to write.

Until a few minutes ago I have been frantically ticking off the things on my list. I had a haircut and picked up my laundry. I sent some emails to friends. Read blogs. Called my mom. Updated my albums on Facebook.

I finally ran out of excuses not to sit down on my desk and write, hence, this post. Just in case you want to know.


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