Saturday, November 1, 2008

Of Life, Death and Hearing Aids

I was meaning to write the first part of this entry a couple of weeks ago... But since work started to get in the way, writing about a death in the family was pushed to the back of my priorities. Until another family member died...

- O -

Two weeks ago, I got a call from my second cousin looking for my mom. My mom wasn't at home at that time so I just got her message. My 'Ta Rosie (Mom's cousin) was rushed to the United Doctors' Medical Center due to high blood, pnuemonia, diabetis, etc. Too many complications.

When my Mom arrived, she called my second cousin immediately to know exactly what appened (since I'm so useless for family stuff like this). My aunt was already in a critical condition solely dependent on a life support system. My Mom rushed to the hospital. 'Ta Rosie was her nearest relative here in Manila, and probably closest na rin as we've lived in the same street for more than 30 years.

When my Mom got home from the hospital, we finally had a clear picture of how serious 'Ta Rosie's condition was, even the cost of staying in an ICU and the medicines needed every 3 hours or so. My Mom started calling relatives in Bohol, Davao and in the States to inform them of this bad news.

By nighttime, my second cousin called my Mom again. They were asking my Mom to decide if they should pull the plug or not. Odd really, because at that point in time, my Mom was the farthest relative my 'Ta Rosie had. The decision to pull the plug should really come from 'To Rudy (the husband) and the children. But obviously, it was a hard decision for them to make. My Mom, also, cannot decide at all. The next few minutes were spent on the phone crying.

Don't grieve for me. I didn't cry. I have always been "indifferent" with death, causing me to think that there might be something seriously wrong with me. When my Lola Naling died a few months ago, I felt no sadness, I shed no tears. I blamed it on the fact that since she lived in the States and came here to Manila for short vacations, we never became close. But 'Ta Rosie was a close relative. I grew up frequenting their house which was a just a few meters away from us. Still, I felt quite normal.

The one that bothered me most was how my cousins were having a hard time deciding to pull the plug or not. I even saw it from my Mom. Being the tactless and insensitive creature that I am, I turned to my son and said: "Francis, listen. If other people will ask you this question (without telling or explaining to him what the question was), you tell them YES! Understand?" "Opo," was his reply even if he didn't understand what we were talking about. I just hope that when he grows up, and able to discuss things like this, he will understand why I want him to say yes.

To make the long story short, the family decided to pull the plug. My aunt held on to dear life for more than 12 hours before finally giving her last breath. I only went to the wake twice, for just a few hours. But it was enough to see how 'Ta Rosie's death affected 'To Rudy's condition. He looked gravely thin and he seemed to be in such a frail condition.

- O -

In all the commotion that a sudden death brings to a family, my Mom was the one diligently updating relatives from all parts of the country, and even the world. And even if she was worried to be the one to announce to her aunt, my Lola Dading, that 'Ta Rosie died, she found an effective way of telling her, without causing another death in the family. (Hehehe!) Of course, it wasn't easy. Not only was it emotionally difficult to say it, but to do it a soft manner while shouting....? Confused? Lola Dading can't hear quite well anymore. Quite well... Hmmm... She recognizes a few words but it's really difficult to let a sentence pass through her.

- O -

A few days ago, we got a call again from our cousins informing us that 'To Rudy was rushed in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. He constantly needed blood transfusion and our cousins were asking us to donate blood as a form of payment to the blood they're getting from the hospital.

Sorry for being so insensitive, but I jokingly told my Mom, "Ano ba naman si 'To Rudy, di pa nga nakakarecover mga anak n'ya eh... Di pa nga tapos magbayad sa ospital at sa punerarya."

But even though I joked about the current scenario, it was also a clear indication of how true love ends... it never ends. Naks! We can look at it as 'Ta Rosie wanting 'To Rudy to be with him, or 'To Rudy not wanting to live a life without 'Ta Rosie. Whatever it may be, I found it romantic.

Today, November 1, 'To Rudy died.

- O -


My Mom immediately called Lola Dading in Bohol. While crying, she was shouting over the phone so Lola Dading can hear what she had to say. Remember, my Lola Dading is almost deaf. When you hear my Mom shouts over the phone, it becomes so irritating. She keeps on repeating her words, getting louder with each and every word. My brother and I were telling her to talk with other people in Bohol. But Lola Dading was all alone at the house.

My Mom finally gave up. She'll just have to call her later when she thinks that other companions at her house have arrived. Before putting down the phone, my Mom heard Lola Dading said in a very Boholano tone: "Bilhan mo ng ensyor si Ro-de."

And my Mom burst into a laughter while she cried.

- O -

Mommy: Francis...

Mokong: Yes? (Looking up from his gameboy)

Mommy: Pag ganyan na si Mommy, bilhan mo naman ako ng hearing aid ha...

Mokong: Ok. Ano yun?