Sunday, November 05, 2006

family ties

november 1 is not just a day for remembering the dead. it is also for remembering the living who are nearing death. it is a duty for the family to care not so much for the healthy but more so for the sickly and suffering members. one must face reality. one must accept the fact that earthly life will end and a transition to the other worlds will come. our attachment to those we love makes this painful. and yet, how many of us seem now to distance ourselves from sickly and suffering family members? now that they are emaciated, skin and bones, and immobile, why do we not find time to be with them? how come we find it difficult to hold their cold hands, to whisper in their ears white lies of their "good"health, to talk with them face-to-face smelling their foul breath?

we must do all these now, while warm air is passing in and out of their nostrils, while their saliva can slide down the corners of their mouths, while their eyes are open, and the sunlight can still awaken them.

Monday, October 30, 2006


i remember brandy. he's probably the biggest dog i've ever buried. we found him by the garage frothing blood in his mouth. he was poisoned, father opined. we tried to make him drink some sugared water but his tongue's too stiff to even lick the wet sponge we offered. his eyes were closed. all of his body is stiff. but he's still alive. we can tell by the faint movement of his chest. don't move him anymore, father said, let him be. we left him for a while.

when i returned he was dead already. his legs were outstretched. small red ants have already found their way inside his gaping mouth. i thought i saw a hint of tears in his eyes. looking at him it is just now i realized how long his body was. although he was a local breed, he was a lot bigger than the others. i held his front legs by my left hand and his hind legs by my right. i had to drag him out to the front yard. he was a lot heavier now that he's dead.

i patiently dug a large hole in our front yard about five feet long and 3 feet wide. i tried very hard to make the hole deep enough to accommodate his stiff body. but i only was able to reach about 2 feet deep into the earth when my spade had hit hard adobe floor. i can't make the hole any deeper.

i hauled his body into the hole. the length and width were sufficient but the depth was not. i tried to position his body but his stiffened legs just kept on jutting out. there's just one way to fit him into the grave. using the spade, i broke all four of his legs to be able to bend them. i heard the bones crack but i know there'll be no pain for brandy anymore. i said sorry, as i covered him with earth. death is real. i know the body i buried is not the real brandy. i firmly believe there is another immaterial part of him that has transcended physical death and will journey back to its Creator/Source. brandy is not different from us.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


two day's ago, father was way too early to be knocking on my door.

"son," he said, "your mom's calling on you. she's having some chest pains, could you come and see her?"

it was about 6 in the morning and i had just woken up from a hard night's sleep. i hurried over to the other house with father hardly able to keep in step with me. like mom he's also advanced in age. mom's about 81 now while he'sabout 79. unlike mom, though, he's still very mobile while mom never really recovered her mobility after she suffered a stroke 4 years back. what's surprising was while her doctor claimed that she had recovered about 94% of her good condition, she never exhibited such recovery. after the stroke, she became too reliant on father. she demanded that father be constantly at her beck and call.

and so father became her nurse and her companion. it was difficult to see father like that. although he's already a retiree, father is still very active in his extra curricular activities. these he lost all when he devoted most of his time to attend to mom. but as his husband he must perform his duty. when they got married it was part of their vow -- to take care of one another always.

i entered mom's room and there she was lying, eyes half closed. when i held her hand she clasped my hand tightly and opened her eyes. she smiled a faint smile, and pointed to her chest. she's having difficulties speaking now. she resorts mostly to signs and gestures.

i asked her loudly, "are you having trouble breathing?" no, she shook her head. "is your chest still painful?" yes, she nodded. "shall we bring you to the doctor?" no.

she motioned to me to come nearer her. she wanted to whisper something to me -- "this is just natural for someone who's close to dying," she whispered in my ear.

it's my turn to shake my head. but she smiled again. and stroked my hand as if convincing me. her eyes were half-closed once again. how could she suffer like this, i thought. how could someone be gifted with long years of life but spend that existence in pain and misery? it's been taught things happen for a purpose. things happen so one can pay back. to even things out. if one had planted seeds of negativity one will one day reap negative fruits. if one had planted seeds of positivity, one will gather positive fruits. either way one is getting a payback. either way one will have the opportunity to even things out with the Great Creator and with one's fellowmen.

i stroked mother's hand in turn.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

death news

a few nights ago as i read my emails i came upon one that has this news of a high school friend who just died. he was about two years older than me. he was found in his office. dead. just like that. he had no more time to contact his family. death came so swiftly he was not afforded the time to inform his family of his predicament. he was not able to use his office phone, his mobile phone wherein he could have sent a text message, his laptop where he could have scribbled a few short notes on email. none. not any of these communication amenities surrounding him did help.

he was found there sprawled on his chair. probably Death's fatal visit came right in the midst of his intense struggle with his work. maybe he forgot to take his medicine if he was taking any. maybe he got so engrossed in his job at hand that he failed to feel the mounting tension and the uncomfortable effects it has built up deep inside him.

i sure wished that during the last few seconds when his mind is still clear he was able to utter a short prayer or a split-second remembrance of who he really is --- a soul personality that is anchored in the unending, unbending Love of our Creator. i sure wished that his mind did not focus on the material wealth that he has left behind but more so on his love for his family, his friends, the countless folks that ran to seek his help in times of trouble.

yes , i sure wished he focused on love. that power that binds us to our Creator and our fellowmen. now, he has gone to where all of us shall eventually go. may he find the glorious truth that has been promised. may he continue to abide in the hearts of all that he has touched. may he not be forgotten.

i cannot promise that i will remember him always but when memories of him come to mind, they'd surely be fond, happy, positive memories of a person who had tried to make the most out of this life not just for himself but also for others.

Monday, October 23, 2006


the wife was shrieking loudly outside. she was about to clean up some cooking utensils she had used. water supply had just been cut. water service is on scheduled basis. this morning, it is our turn to be without water. so she had to go out and clean her things beside the water drums.

i rushed out to see why she was shrieking. SNAKE! she wailed frightfully, pointing to a spot on the ground near the cooking paraphernalia she had put down. i had to put on my glasses to see. it was a snake indeed. a newly born snake. just about 3 inches long and still colorless. but it was alive alright and wriggling briskly on the wet cement floor. it could not crawl as much as it wants to probably because the floor's slippery. it' s head was bobbing up and down just like the cobras we see in films. it may not be a cobra. it may be another kind of snake.

the wife was shaking as we watched the baby snake struggling on the floor. it really is trying to get out of thewet floor but it's not making any headway. how it got to there i don't know. TAKE IT AWAY! the wife demanded. I CAN'T CLEAN MY UTENSILS WITH THE SNAKE WRIGGLING THERE! just do what you have to do, i told her. it can't hurt you. it's just a baby snake. see, it's still transparent even, you can see it's insides.

NO, NO, IT'S A SNAKE. TAKE IT AWAY FAR FROM HERE, PLEASEEEE.. i snatched a length of toilet paper and picked up the soft body on the floor. i went out by the road and carefully laid it down. it was still wet and the rough pavement had started to get warmed up by the morning sun. i looked at the creature by my feet. thoughts raced in my mind. a few months from now this baby will have grown up. it may not look as innocent as it is now. it will be a REAL snake capable of exercising its attributes. it will have the potential to harm as we have grown to know of snakes. adult snakes are a threat to us. it is what we have been raised to believe.

i raised my foot and dropped it on the baby snake's head and pressed hard against the pavement. i can see the tail twisting and turning. it did so even after i have removed my foot from the crushed head. some seconds later it was not moving anymore.

most often, weighing potentials is clouded by the mind's accumulated impressions. when one is confronted by situations where one is to choose between the potential to be harmful or to be beneficial, one is given actually a choice between killing and letting to live ...

Sunday, October 22, 2006


this will be my first entry on this blog. nothing much to say. things are really not moving much here in my corner of the universe. or, perhaps it just i who'd stagnated. as they say, " a rolling stone gathers no moss". i probably believe this now. i've just read emails from high school classmates and have found out how affluent they have now become. others are really owning condominium units and prime properties left and right. they are successful indeed! -- if material wealth is the measure of success.

i have nothing real to speak of. my 1989 mitsubishi galant' s still at the repair shop. it's been there since 2004. i have kept on promising the shop owner i'd soon get the money to pay him for his services. but until now i just can't manage to do so. gasoline prices have gone up since i took the car to his shop and i wonder if i really need it now. perhaps i'll just convince him to help me sell it.

right now i'm immersing myself in the wisdom and encouragement that the desiderata brings. i think i have so much envy in my heart and remorse and bitterness. reading the desiderata brings some measure of comfort. i am not poor but my family's needs are getting to be bigger and more complicated as time passes. i am trying hard to live by the dictum " simple living, high thinking" but seeing my family struggling to cope with the demands of this current times -- must-haves now are mobile phones, ipods or mp3/mp4 players, updated versions of home appliances-- really make my heart bleed.

of course my family understands how i really like to live life. nothing fancy. much just like a leaf that hangs upon a strong twig high up on a tree branch. when a bird comes down to perch, the leaf listens attentively to the lively birdsong. when sunlight manages to pierce through the upper conglomeration of leaves, the leaf basks in the sun's heat. then, slowly turns brown and crisp and lets go of twig to fall when falling time has come.

then, comes the Leafpicker who'll pick it up, and whistling his favorite tune, carries the leaf over to the rest of the pile of fallen leaves. the Leafpicker may dig a large enough hole and bury the leaves, or he may build a fire and burn them, or just leave them be to rot naturally....