Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dealing with death

Amah passed away in the early morning hours of Tuesday, the 1st of August. Her remains lie in state at the new wing of the Funeraria Paz, Araneta. She is survived by her 7 children, 23 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. We will all miss her, but at the same time we find comfort in knowing she is finally at rest.

* * *

It's already August 3, the 3rd day of Amah's wake, and I haven't even been to Paz yet (and I'm feeling pissed at myself and guilty besides). I was supposed to go on Tuesday after I came home from work, but I developed a fever and a bad head cold during the day. My mom told me to stay home and sleep it off. The following day I was fine, the fever was gone, and I had already put on my white shirt and pants when my dad came in and asked me where the hell do I think I'm going. Like an idiot, I answered, "I'm going with you to Paz." He frowned and told me, "No you're not, you stay at home and rest." And when I sputtered in protest, he snapped at me not to be pig-headed. So I spent the whole afternoon and evening sulking alone at home. I appreciated my dad's concern for my health, but I really was completely recovered, and I didn't want to miss another day of the wake, especially since the cremation's scheduled for this Saturday, leaving just 2 more days for me to be in attendance. My relatives have already flown in from Cebu, Zamboanga, Singapore, Saipan, even the US, and I was stuck in Greenhills getting unnecessary bed rest. Bah.

* * *

This is only the 2nd time we've had a death in the family. Angkong was the 1st, and like I mentioned in my previous post, he didn't pass away until he was in his mid-nineties, just like Amah. I'm fortunate to have grown up with a complete set of grandparents on both sides of the family, as well as 6 pairs of uncles and aunts on each side (well, 5 pairs and 1 single aunt on my dad's side anyway), and a great many number of cousins. In a way, it has made me take for granted that all of my family members will be around for as long as it takes (as improbable as it is that all of us will live as long as Angkong and Amah did). It has also left me ill-equipped to handle the death of a loved one, as I've had little experience in dealing with it. Besides, when both of your grandparents lived up to the ripe old age of 95, there's really almost no reason to mourn.

I suppose that's why I find it awkward receiving condolences from friends, as sincere as they are. Because I don't feel too broken up over Amah's passing, whenever my friends say "I'm sorry", I get this urge to tell them, "Don't be, I'm not." If I'm to be totally honest, what I feel more than anything is relief: I'm just glad that my grandmother's physical suffering is finally over. It may sound horrible, but that's really the prevailing emotion right now. Perhaps I'll feel differently on Saturday. Or perhaps I'm just not very good at grieving... and in any case, I don't want the practice.


At Saturday, August 05, 2006, Anonymous Christa said...

Ms. Lim, my condolences.

Like you, I was lucky to have been born with a complete set of grandparents on both sides. My lolo passed away some years ago, and I guess for me, it was hard to deal with.

I think that's the case when it comes to the death of a grandparent. You aren't used to dealing with having them gone when they die...I'm not sure though if you feel the same way.

I hope my angkong and a-ma get to live up to that kind age. My angkong is turning 93 next year, and a-ma is turning 90 (chinese calendar) this sem break. They're still quite healthy, and I'm dreading the day that they too will move on.

At Monday, August 07, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Thank you Christa. I don't think there's any easy way to deal with the death of a loved one, especially if like me, you're very attached to your family. However, it helps to focus on how they lived their life rather than how they ended it, and in that regard, my grandma had a very full life indeed. I hope for the same for your grandparents.


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