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HONORING MY MOTHER | It’s just the way it is

He would have been 94 to my 69. Numerologists’ dream digits. Just two old men looking at the world from a smaller window of a big family. Oftentimes, he would come to me in a dream but more often than not, daily in a thought. Always trying to sneak in an idea or two, yet most of which I either forget when I wake or when I move on to other chores. The important thing is, like my mom’s, I still haven’t forgotten that voice in my head, especially when he’s calling me with his accentuated long drawl coyyy.

Time was when the slumped shoulders weren’t still there and he could still actively play golf. Some of my tennis buddies back then who also delved in that sport never missed a chance to remind me that “your dad was killer on the green”, a slow little man with shots always accurately heading towards the flag, they liked to add. But I guess it’s really true, some things about a person you only hear about from others and never get to witness for yourself. Once in high school, he brought me and my brothers to the fairways but that had been the only time. He must’ve thought we weren’t a fun lot then and moved on to his peers.

When he passed away two years ago, there were many more things we learned for the first time, from old and new friends who loved his company. In one group where he was active till the end, he was affectionately called “bunso” (youngest child) because he was the oldest. In the group of young professionals, I gleaned at a certain fondness there, although I thought, hidden in the funny. Throughout all his musings, I never reminded him, all of his friends his age had moved on and that was why he was now going out with a much younger bunch. Needless to say, I particularly liked the way many people always referred to him as Mang Ading, because the ‘mang’ salutation remind me so much of his Tagalog roots and his fiery mom, our Lola Tonying.

While we remembered and commemorated the day of his passing yesterday, these little snippets of old tales ran like a silent reel in my mind. They lingered till we all sat for a brief prayer followed by a hearty family merienda which I know he would’ve loved to preside over if he were still here. The gang’s all here Pops, the mothership is full again and the greats and great-greats are running about. But I guess you’re seeing all that still. When the time comes when the rest of us will finally share your little window there, new grass would’ve grown in the yard by then and much younger feet will be trampling on them just like before. Through it all, our house of spirits remains.


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