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|| Monday, January 29, 2007 ||FRESH TEARS
Last Thursday night found me dreading the weekend, thinking that Saturday is January 27, which will mark Py's first month of having passed away.
And I was beset with loneliness again.
And then numbness.
Come Saturday, my husband's uncle also passed away. The date of his passing was not lost to my family, and my husband's family... and we all agreed we hated the number 27 now.
And as usual in deaths, stories of Tito Robert's last moments are repeated again and again... and I and my husband couldn't help comparing it to Pyro's.
And at the mass last night, seeing the coffin and the lights and the flowers and remembering how, a month ago, I was looking at a coffin and lights and flowers too, I broke down.
I was quieted by my husband with a joke that people might think am his uncle's mistress, because I was crying more than his wife and kids were.
But oh, the pain of remembrance. And the realization yet again that you're getting farther and farther away from a reality where a loved one existed.
Tito Robert gifted us with money just 2 weeks ago, part of which we intended to use for the PCMC thing in honor of Py. And now he's also gone.
Relating these to my brother, one cannot help but note the sadness in his eyes. And when I gave him chocolate versions of the milk pellets his son used to love eating (somethingw e could only get from Thailand), his eyes misted.
This coming Sunday is Pyro's 40th day.
|| Monday, January 15, 2007 ||BREAKDOWN
First of all, i've been receiving mails about people crying when they read my entries. And my sister says she'd sometimes read this blog and just cry. So now am suddenly feeling guilty for making people cry... but this IS my outlet... my way of staying sane.
SIL showed me a picture she took of Pyro's resting place last Thursday night, I think. That plunged me into a depression that would culminate into a crying fest starting Friday night. My husband was surprised to find me sobbing in our bed but I just couldn't stop.
See, I knew I haven't really cried the CRY yet. That time at the hospital, Jun and Angie had the right to crying the CRY... and apart from feeling guilty because I asked God to free Py from all the suffering, and all those people slipping on my vomit, I was detached enough to wonder about the impact of the loss to my family... if it would propel my brother into a half-life of sorrow and inability to move on, if it would traumatize my sister, if it will drive my brother and SIL apart, how to tell our Mom, etc.
I think I cried part of the CRY last weekend... the sort of cry where the world stops and you can't think... and you can't really cry silently.
And I was so grateful that my husband wasn't out on a gimik with his buddies that night... because having him hold me meant so much.
On the way to the cemetery, I started crying again.
And at the cemetery, I cried hard again. Enough so that people living in the cemetery stopped to ask if I was the mother.
Turns out, Pyro retained some sort of fame, even in death. The children living at the cemetery refer to him by name, know of his meeting with Batista, are aware of the bubble machine entombed with him, and vow to watching his grave all the time. What's more, there is a picture of Py on his tombstone (the picture I used for the Thank You cards I made, the one taken on my last birthday, which was laminated then carved onto the marble and covered with glass)... and there can be no visit there where someone wouldn't stop by to comment on how handsome my nephew was.
I just really miss him.
I can't go grocery shopping because I wouldn't need to buy stuff for him anymore.
I don't like eating a lot of stuff because he used to like them too... (so yeah Py, you can be my reason to really go on a diet)
I miss all the hundred little things I used to do that took him into account...
I miss being able to love him, even from afar (because they weren't living with us anymore).
So I cried and cried and cried.
Later that Saturday, we found out that GMA replayed the Wish Ko lang episode featuring him and Batista. We were not informed, but friends who saw the replay texted us.
I believe they added an, "In Memory of Pyro" at the end.
So I cried all the more and started feeling sick... and we were caught in a traffic jam from Las Piñas to Manila because of the Pyro Olympics (something I might not be going to for the coming years, at least).
But the crying fest helped...
And the Wish Ko Lang replay helped... because that was a testament to how much Pyro was loved and blessed. And again, I found that I couldn't really be that sad about our loss, because it meant we gave of ourselves a lot. Something we can never ever regret. Something we'd do again in a heartbeat.
HBO and Star Movies also helped me stop crying. I watched TV and listened to songs till I fell asleep so I wouldn't be alone with my thoughts... and wander again into that dark place where the pain over losing Pyro dwells.
At the cemetery, there was this kid, one of many who enjoyed the food we distributed during Py's burial (because of the tradition that you feed those who mourned for you, and the superstition that you cannot bring any food you served during the wake home) who talked to us...
He matter-of-factly told us about living in the cemetery... and where his family would be going next if they were evicted from the mausoleum of sorts they were inhabiting. He sympathized with us, telling us how sad it is that Py died when he was such a handsome boy. Then he told us about losing his brother, age 8, after that brother got run over by a car. They buried him somewhere in the cemetery.
Again, I felt guilty and blessed at the same time. For there we were, in a way, indulging our grief. How many kids who died will have so many people visiting his grave and crying over him?
While there are these people... who cannot have the luxury of grieving because living is a constant struggle as it is.
Hubby tells me that maybe God won't give us a child of our own till we can accept that the gift of a child is given according to His terms...
I think hubby is bothered because i've kept saying that I don't think I can handle losing a child. That has always been a huge fear, and much more so now that I am struggling with the closest i've come to that kind of pain.
I tell him that I doubt there's a parent who can say he/she can handle losing a child. But I have no doubt that parents have gotten over their loss. And I don't doubt that I will get over the loss... I doubt i'd ever love Pyro less, and it fills me with sadness knowing that someday, my (our)days will be occupied more with thoughts of those who ARE alive... but that knowledge fills me with faith too. I know that things will get better... the wounds will heal even if it will leave us all scarred.
Weird to feel some amount of sadness knowing there will be happier days.
I've also developed a greater respect for my husband's aunt... who had to bury five of her seven children... and her husband. It's a wonder she's still alive. And it's grace that she's continued to find a reason to live... to love.
Py's cousin Jopy has only recently realized that Pyro is gone. Her last conversation with Pyro had Pyro telling her that he cannot play or talk with her anymore... because it was being forbidden by his Papa Jesus.
Jopy would ask her mother why Pyro passed away... and she'd be reminded that Pyro was sick... to which Jopy would counter that she got sick (hospitalized for dengue around Nov) but didn't die.
|| Friday, January 12, 2007 ||THE HEART WILL BREAK...
... yet brokenly live on.
Where did I read or hear that?
Anyway, it's always come to mind when i've gotten my heart broken. Thank goodness, it seldom stopped there.
For the heart invariably repairs itself, given time and love... it dares to hope again, and have faith again.
But how do you comfort broken hearts when yours is also broken? How do you help mend a broken spirit when yours is also unravelling?
People might say that one can take comfort that others are going through the same thing... or that others have lived through the same horrifying experience, the same betrayal, and still found happiness... found a reason to live.
But what if I need taking care... and right now, cannot really care for others? Imagine being, for the moment, passed out... and suspended in a space filled with grief and loss. How then can I reach out to those who are in far greater pain?
Then again, others have, in moments when no hope could be found, given hope to others.
I know we'll get through this. We have love in our life after all.
I originally posted this at my main blog... but feel this belongs here.
|| Wednesday, January 10, 2007 ||HOW DOES ONE COPE?
Monday night, I got a call from my brother. He was asking if I can design some cards to be given away. I asked him, what kind of cards? He said, something like the 'Thank You' bookmarks we gave away at Pyro's wake...
Turns out, he and my SIL got to talking and decided that they want to go back to PCMC and visit the cancer charity ward there, and give away some things to the other sick kids. He further talked about how they thought of my message at Py's burial, how Py was a really blessed kid, and they want to share that blessing to these other kids.
I was touched. And sad and happy at the same time.
I asked them to talk it over and give me more specifications so I can design the cards for them. I also asked them to conduct the visit on a weekend so we could go with them... maybe take some pictures or what. I even began mentally calculating if I can find some money to hire a clown or something for the visit.
They, and we, cannot really give anything substantial (like a huge amount of money) to these other kids, since all the generous aid we received from Pyro's death went into paying off the debts they've incurred all those months before. But we surely have enough money for goodie bags, at least. I'm thinking maybe I can solicit from other people to have more goodies for those bags.
Just anything to cheer the kids up... and maybe inspire them to fight some more. Just anything to empower their parents with... and give them the spirit to care some more.
Pyro had a lot of those in his short life. And now, I think, we've begun on serious lessons on GRACE.
They'll be discussing this plan with Dr. Gepte first. And I think we'd have to forget the clown, since some kids in the charity ward might be too sick for a clown. We'll see...
Later on, I texted my brother that I am really excited about the idea... and how, this way, we can still continue loving Py, only we're sharing the love with other kids.
He replied with a thanks, and said that it was Py who taught him to love.
Sigh. I am so proud of how my brother has turned out.
I told my sister about this last night... and she's excited too. But of course, she cried too.
I also thanked my brother for Nemo... which he left for me last Monday.
So yes, Nemo's back in my life. For two nights now, i've been hugging it and smelling it and holding onto it for dear life... trying to smell Pyro's scent in it (bro told me it should have some of Py's drool on it somewhere).
God, I miss him.
sometime June 2004. We were supposed to have one each, but I gave mine away to another kid.
|| Wednesday, January 03, 2007 ||MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS AND STORIES
Last Christmas, Pyro arrived with his parents at our doorstep with a huge oxygen tank. He was already having such a trouble breathing so his parents bought a tank, to make things easier for him.
He looked too fragile and sick... but he ate a lot of spaghetti and managed to accept his Christmas gifts with thanks and kisses.
He even attended Mass with us, something he insists on any time it could be done.
That whole time, I was greatly irritated with his cries. I never fully understood what 'mewling' might sound... but there it was, incessantly coming from him as he struggled to breathe and eat and sleep.
I was irritated. Not with him... but with the fact that I could never remember a time that he seemed beyond saving. And I couldn't remember a time where I was really utterly helpless.
I was irritated. And I wished the mewling cries to stop. And for one brief moment, I wondered if maybe I shouldn't ask God to just end his pain by taking his life back.
Then I felt guilty.
December 26, Py was confined for routine chemo. We were again faced with decisions to be made because we were really running out of funds. I again raised the possibility of Py being admitted at a charity ward the next time, just so we can cut down on expenses. The fundraising thing was not yet working out because we still couldn't figure out how to make paypal work for us.
Py managed to finish one of two chemo treatments that night, and was even chatty. But then, he couldn't pee despite (or because of?) the catheter and got really upset... which proved to be the last straw for his heart. He was admitted in the ICU around 3 in the morning. We got the call to come at past 4:30 AM. We got there at 5:30... and he was declared officially dead at 10:45 AM.
Looking back on all the times I cried all day, due to a broken heart or a missed gimik or whatever triggered the melodrama in me... I cannot help but feel shame. For here WAS real sorrow.
There were moments when I thought i've used up the tears of my lifetime... but more will flow. And as the hours drew on to a close for my beloved nephew, I kept debating with myself if it was really my place to pray for God to end his suffering and just really take him. I was not his parent after all. I was still the person looking through a glass window... only, the first time I did that for him, it was to meet Pyro as a newborn.
The pain and loss overwhelms me so much that I am actually half-amazed that the world hasn't stopped for my grief. Multiply that grief by a hundred, and you might get an idea of how my sister must feel. Multiply that a hundredfold more, and one might begin to imagine what Pyro's parents, my brother and SIL, are going through.
Weirdly enough, I was too choked with grief that I ended up vomiting on the ICU floor... missing my nephew's last breath, only hearing my wailing SIL and my screaming brother... crying like a child several feet away, wondering if my husband was comforting my sister.
My sister kept the shirt he died on... but I convinced her later on not to hold onto something that will forever remind him of Pyro's suffering... especially when, despite the cancer, there were more good times to be remembered. That shirt ended up being washed and buried with Py.
Py was changed into the pajama set (Sponge Bob) that my MIL gave him for Christmas. He got it in advance and has loved it ever since. Call me cruel for making my loving MIL cry all the more by sharing that piece of tidbit with her at the wake. But see, the important thing was, Py loved the gift.
His uncle bought him a suit to cover up his frailness, his thinness, as he lay in his coffin. And during the days of the wake, we danced the mourning dance, getting teary-eyed with every visitor, repeating stories and reminiscences, crying to friends and family, missing meals, missing sleep, seeking comfort and assurances, praying, blaming ourselves and each other, getting mad, getting sad, and finding the love and the God that made Pyro such a happy child.
Later on, his wake would become a testament to how greatly he was loved, and how greatly he lived his short life, through the pictures and videos and trinkets that colored the wake. It was made more interesting because my SIL"s family was Christian, while we were Catholic, so traditions and superstitions and rituals kept getting confused and combined. And his cousins continued to play and create noise amidst all the grieving adults and sympathetic visitors.
Py's head laid on a pillow my husband gave him, a pillow Jojo kept as a souvenir from Thai Airways, a pillow Py never goes anywehere without.
As I said before, let it not be said that it didn't take much courage and even greater love for his parents to let him go. My brother admits to raging against the thought initially, especially since it was Pyro who set him straight and taught him about responsibility.
More importantly, Py was blessed with so much love that even strangers showed up to comfort us. I especially thank my DOF colleagues who I haven't seen in years, but who took a morning off to pay their respects. Special mention also to my husband's colleagues and old bandmates and friends of my brother, sister and SIL. A guy my SIL met in Korea who lost an in-law (who had her wake next door to us) even had his choir sing for Pyro too. And belated gifts like the bubble machine he wanted, and coloring books, and balloons adorned his casket.
But the love I really want to talk about is the love that comforts those of us he left behind, manifested in the fact that we knew we did everything we could... for him. Of course, there's always something we could have probably done more or differently, but we know that everything we did, we did out of nothing but love for him.
Heck, we even fought over how best to love the child! How many kids, nay, even people, can claim the same privilege?
That's why, when it was time to say some last words, I faced everyone and reminded them how blessed a child Pyro was. How, when he was a child, there'd always be at least two people hovering over his crib. And how, during his last hours, there were ten of us at the hospital to see him through. And I appealed to them to be inspired and love some more... those people who are still in their lives. Our time, our presence, our forgiveness, our strength, our love... those things are what make people happy. And having given all those things, we at least cannot regret not having loved Py.
Indeed, the thing that grieves us most is not being given more time to love him.
I do not believe easily in the supernatural but neither do I deny nor dismiss them.
Pyro's main playmates were cousins Jopy and Lat. Jopy is turning 4 years old this January 8.
The afternoon Py died, their Mom heard them conversing as if there was a third person/child with them. Lat actually said the words, "Pyro, diba pango si Jopy?"
The next day, Jopy will tell her Mom about how Py complained that he was not able to watch the Wish Ko Lang segment we were showing the mourners because the screen was turned to (away from?) his coffin, and that Py wanted her to open the casket (she did try prying it open), and how they just talked and ate cotton candy, and that Py asked her to tell his parents to eat a lot... of cotton candy. Jopy/Py also used the word PAROL to refer to the coffin. Py supposedly also said that he hugs the pillow his Ninong Jojo gave him (so it should rest on his chest), and wanted his SpongeBob pillow for his head instead.
Then the next day, Jopy seemed possessed, sometimes telling things that Pyro did and said, sometimes sounding as if she was Pyro. My sister couldn't look at her when she heard her sound like Py...
One of the freakier things about it was Jopy laughing Py's laugh and saying, "Haha, si Tita Mec, pinutukan ng lobo sa mukha". Exactly the way Py would have said it. And Jopy doesn't really know me, by the way, what more by name. And this has reference to when I was tying up all the balloons Py's cousins were playing with, concerned that they'd pop in someone's face and hurt them, when one balloon just popped in my hand.
The morning of the burial, Jopy asked her Mom why Py resembled a bird. Her Mom was confused why the association with a bird, to which Jopy asked again, why was it that Pyro had wings?
She saw the winged Py during the Mass, when we were all 'dousing' (?) his coffin with Holy Water.
Jopy is only 4 years old. I suspect that part of her stories are her way of coping with the loss of a playmate. But I believe that she couldn't possibly make it all up. She just doesn't have enough life experience to string thoughts together and create these storiers... especially since she gets exasperated when asked about them, complaining of having to repeat what we should have also supposedly heard and seen in the first place.
And such stories comfort us... even dreams of people where Pyro was featured happy and playing with other kids. Pyro has had so much suffering in his last year, he has no other way to be but happier where he is.
Another friend, a psychic, was visited by Pyro. He saw Pyro with wings and in white. Pyro thanked her, and told her he's saying hello to her, and would be his angel as well. Pyro also told him that he kissed his grandmother goodbye because she couldn't come home. But am not telling my Mom that just yet, because she's still really a crying mess right now. It's really hard that she's mourning by herself in the US.
To friends I owed so much kindness from, i've always said before that Pyro will thank them when he's finally able. Of course, I envisioned a grown-up Pyro, studying to become a doctor (or a priest), able to read this blog and the comments left here. But what if, in his passing, and because of his suffering, he was really transformed into an angel? And isn't it at all possible that the child who gave a lot of people so much joy when he was alive could continue putting a smile on our faces and in our hearts?
My cousin, who helped take care of Py and who forced Py's pedia to perform the x-ray that would let us know of the tumor, talked to us about a growing suspicion. She said that when she's alone at home, she feels Py's presence too. Only, she's scared by it. Being a Christian, she fears that the devil might be using our love for Py and playing with our feelings. She also told us that it doesn't feel right that Py is not crossing over.
My sis, on the other hand, feels bad and sad all the time... and doesn't want for Py to manifest to her. She wants him to move on and be happy.
I told them that so long as Jopy isn't getting scared of Py, we can at least rest easy that the Pyro she sees and converses with is the angel Py. But of course, i'd like for Py to leave Jopy alone too... lest the little girl starts thinking that people only like her because of Py.
So, Yapeeyee, be our angel if you must. Be the bringer of good tidings when there are, and of comfort when it's needed. But move on and don't worry about us.
It was honestly the first time I saw my brother reading a Bible... what more, he was reading it to my SIL... or during the early morning hours where we're the only ones left to watch over Py. It would have been funny if the reason wasn't so tragic.
But it was there. In losing Pyro, he has discovered God. And not only him. All of us were reminded that there is a God. My brother and SIL, though grief-stricken, surrendered their child and accepted that Pyro's life was God's.
And I sort of felt pity for those who didn't believe in a God... wondering where they would turn when they find themselves on their knees in sorrow, and desperation, and lack of answers.
Like what I said, I was traumatized by Pyro's last moments. Maybe because I expected a child to be given the sweet mercy of passing away peacefully... quietly... gracefully. But Py's last moments were a struggle from one breath to another. And I felt cheated and offended and violated for him.
I asked friends to pray for me... because I was raging inside against the manner in which he died. And I was scared because whenever I looked at him in his coffin, I couldn't see the handsome, peaceful child people were speaking of. All I could see was pain in his face. And I didn't want that. I wanted to recapture all the wonderful moments that came before his dying.
And God is merciful. He sent a pastor with a gift of eloquence that soothed my shaken faith, my broken spirit.
I don't know the name of that pastor, and he's pretty young at age 31. But he spoke gently of various scenarios wherein prayers are answered in different ways. He reminded us that there is a greater plan, and that Pyro has served his purpose as part of that plan. And then he said something about how it doesn't matter to God how one dies... whether it be from a crime or an illness... regardless of what age or status in life. What matters is that we'd be joining him... and because Pyro was too young to have really sinned... and because Pyro was too young and yet had a sense of the divine ever since... it shouldn't matter that Py suffered for 1/3 of his life because he is joining Him.
The pastor also reminded us about four things about life:
Life is a gift, which we should enjoy and cherish. Life is a chance, which we should make the most of. Life has an end and the end will seldom come the way, or at a time, we like. And each one's life will be judged, and there will be rewards for those who walked the right path, both here on earth (loving reminiscences) and in heaven.
The telling, though it doesn't diminish the sorrow, at least validates a life well lived, and a child well loved.