The Last Trip
“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know.” — Lemony Snicket
More than a month ago, we celebrated the memory of our dear departed. For Filipinos, we do this by visiting their graves, lighting candles and offering prayers, flowers and food. Yeah, the last one might be odd but that was something I distinctly remember when I was young and whenever I accompanied my grandmother to the cemetery during All Souls’ Day. I don’t mean to sound morbid but lately, I’ve been reading on my Facebook newsfeed about people’s loss of a parent or beloved family member and my heart goes out to them. Anyone who have lost someone important know very well that when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.
I have written before about my experience when I lost my father very suddenly. He’s been gone for over 14 years now but the memory of that time still haunts me. If I may, I would like to share that blog post (edited) for those who have never read it. This could be a bit long so I beg for your patience.
FLASHBACK: When I first I got engaged (update: now divorced) and decided to have the wedding in the States, I immediately worked on obtaining visitor’s visas for my parents and sisters so they can be there for the occasion. I knew it was a long shot but I was optimistic that they will be approved. Unfortunately, their first application was denied. Feeling despondent, I considered the possibility that none of my family will be present on such an important event in my life. My father almost declined to file again, worried about the financial costs it entailed. My mother persuaded him to try again after I told her that I would have to make that trip to the altar by myself as I didn’t feel it would be right for somebody else, other than my father, to give me away. I guess they just couldn’t bear the thought of their daughter looking like a forlorn bride on her wedding day so they hastily reapplied.
Fortunately, the second time was a charm. I was so glad to pick them up at the airport two weeks before the wedding. That was their first time to be out of the country. I showed them around Chicago and watched their faces lit up with amazement from every little thing that they found interesting and different. Finally, the big day arrived. Although we were both nervous, the moment felt perfect when my father and I sauntered to the altar. I couldn’t ask for anything more at that moment.
Weeks later, I was at the airport again, bidding goodbye to my parents. Although I was sad to see them depart, I knew they had a great time during their oh-so-short of a vacation. Little did I know that the time we spent together was one I will forever treasure as it will never be replicated. Almost six months later, I felt homesick and impulsively decided to visit my family. My sisters were pretty bummed out that they didn’t get to be there for my wedding so they looked forward to my coming. In retrospect, it’s as if the trip was designed by some cosmic powers-that-be. Whether you believe in it or not, what followed was just pure kismet and tragic.
To be continued …