Sunday, September 21, 2008


death has been all around lately. like a bad smell, it follows me around. this smell, it sticks to my clothes and my fingertips so that it mixes with the smell of nicotine when I smoke. all those news of innumerable deaths, sporadic in frequency, but overwhelmingly frequent, nonetheless: the grim consequences of a tragedy in the high seas, and floods, and car crashes and murders in between.

closer to home, already, i've been to three funerals this year. all second-degree relatives, all deaths from a cocktail of everyday diseases, matured to a full ripe with complications.

i was there to witness their grief - and by 'them' i mean everyone else who wasn't me. it was much like what i saw in TV, only that the tears are not anonymous. and the smell is more pungent. i know these people, i grew up with them around: kissed their hands at family gatherings like the good niece i was, run to their biddings like the good niece i was, and now, after their deaths, i make sure to dutifully attend vigils, like the good niece i am.

but the good niece wasn't really here to grieve. i was here to be a spectator. i see the precarious threads from which my cousins' sanities are hung, but pushed to the sidelines, i sit silently enthralled in this strange circus of deaths.

this most recent death, i find myself racking my brains for memories of this aunt i grew up having around but i find i can hardly remember. conversations float around me: of what she was like, how she was the kindest person they knew. she was kind, true. she was human, more true. and i scarcely remember her and this i deeply regret as i avert my eyes every time they cross paths with those of my cousins.

those nightly vigils are filled with all these nameless faces, all vaguely familiar: faces morose when at an arm's length from the coffin, then suddenly shift to their everyday countennance - just another death. nothing to be all hyped up about.

i wonder if my face was like that.


Aiken said...

talk about going to funerals, murag pare pareho tag batasan. pero mas maayo ka kay vigil jud. hehehehe... death's all around me pud. distant relatives too. pero wa ko kaadto. tsk tsk... char. wahahahahahaha

one thing lang, we all live to die. death is really what we live for. if I only know I'm dying... yes i'm dying... pero di pa jud kaayo klaro, i would live tomorrow and the next like no other. chaks.

Verna T.S. said...

it's funny how death can sometimes mean the unofficial reunion of the whole family. and attending vigils mean you're gonna have to refresh your memory as to who's who.

but on death itself, it puzzles you when you think about what's next? a minute ago this person was breathing, the next gone. the latter scares me~~ hehe.