A Story of Transcendence

He first met her on college when he’s about to cut his Physics class with his friends. Just when they’re about to leave, he caught a glimpse of her by the stairway. They made a deal – he’d ask her out and if it’s on, he’d change. A silly bet. Minutes later, his palm is all sweaty and he’s almost trembling in both anxiety and excitement.

“What the hell happened dude? It looks like you’ve seen a ghost! You barely had a conversation! She just left!”, asks one of his friends.

“I.. uh.. She.. uh.. agreed.” he hesitantly replies.

“She what?? Are you mad?”

“N-no.. No! Of course not!! I couldn’t believe it myself. It’s like… She was waiting for me…”

“Jeric, dude, can you hear yourself? Hahaha. Have you been high?” asks his other friend while joking about it.

“Get lost you two!” he says while he sits back on his chair. There is no cutting of classes that will happen today, he decided.

***

Just like that, his life took a 360-degree turn. He’d spend less and less time with his old habits and friends and more and more time with her. They’d talk and chatter just about anything continuously, day and night. Little did they realize that they were also influencing each other more. She’d help her on her studies while he gives her a bit of life outside school. It was, in paper, a perfect combination.

When they both graduated, they took different jobs. He took an office work at the city while she helped manage the family business. After office hours, he’d visit her almost everyday and 100% of the time, she’ll have a treat of some sort from him – a cupcake, flowers, a diary, even a camera at one point when he had saved enough. In return, she’d cook all his favorite meals which would put a big smile on their faces.

Weekends are just the best though. They’d spend all their time leisurely having each other on all sorts of activities – traveling, hiking, swimming, or just plain singing at a videoke bar. To the eyes of everyone, they were soulmates.

***

One rainy and particularly windy night, on the night of their anniversary, the both decided to eat at a nearby restaurant, nothing fancy. He was holding the umbrella with his right hand while his left wrapped around her waist as they try to prevent from being soaked up from the deluge. A quick and sharp gale then blew and carried away their umbrella while they were crossing the road. He instinctively leapt backwards to try and catch the umbrella, but he was met with an overtaking motorcycle traveling at blazing speed. The driver tried to break hard to prevent the impact but the suddenness of the moment made it impossible to do so. The motorcycle and its driver came off flying to the right as a result of the collision, hitting a car that’s parked on the side of the road.

As for Jeric, he flew off several meters and spent a few seconds in mid-air, then came crashing to the ground, rolling helplessly at least four times before coming to a halt. From a spectator point of view, it was the harshest couple of seconds one can see. From Daisy’s timeline though, it lasted for several minutes. Her heart jumped out of her chest and her breath taken away from her as if some vacuum entered her throat and lungs. She couldn’t stand and yet she couldn’t even fall. Her mind wants her to run to him but his body won’t respond. Her body is nailed to the ground, burning hot with her mind dazed.

She couldn’t even muster the energy to lift up her phone from her pocket when she realized that ambulance vehicles are already arriving fast. It must have been the bystanders who have witnessed the tragedy. Before she knew it, she was already standing in front of Jeric – his body being lifted and taken to the back of the ambulance van. Without her noticing it, she was in it too. It was so painful for her that she couldn’t even cry – for crying is only for heartache and pain. There is no fitting human reaction to this at all.

***

She’d spend the next year visiting him to the hospital frequently, almost everyday in fact. She’d bring fruits, flowers, and lots of stories to tell. The fruits though, he couldn’t eat, the flowers he couldn’t appreciate, and the stories he couldn’t listen to. There are times when just looking at his lifeless face would draw out bursts of tears from Daisy, each of those due to severe pain. He hasn’t spoken a word since, nor even twitched a muscle. The doctors said that with him being in a state of coma, the people around him will suffer greatly and will someday have to make a decision. But they are all hopeful. For it can only get better from here.

During the following 12 months, the once frequent visits by Daisy had normalized down. Sometimes, she’d visit only once in two weeks. And during those long periods of time when they’d meet again, she’d tell him lots of stories so he can catch up. She even told him that she met a very nice fellow who helps her on everyday struggles. She told him about the similarities that Jeric and this fellow share and wonder how they can come from different parents!

“You know what, no matter what happens, I still love you. And I’ll be waiting. Until we can come home and live like the way we used to.”

***

The following eight months, Daisy regained her energy. She wasn’t as enthusiastic as she used to be but it’s a massive improvement. She’d still bring him stories and flowers every month that she visits and would still talk about this nice fellow whom he met more than a year ago – how he changed her life and helped her get back to her feet, and how he would tend to her needs even though at times, he’d look physically exhausted. She also showed him a bracelet that he gave her.

“He gave it to me. He said if I feel like giving up, just look at this bracelet and know that you are not alone on this journey. Kinda sweet, huh? I hope you don’t get jealous though. Anyway, I’m still waiting for you. Please come back to us. Your parents are dying to talk to you again!”

***

It was soon their anniversary again and just like before, it’s raining. As usual, she hailed a cab from her office so she can get back home and prepare something for dinner. And just when she sat down on the taxi, her phone rang. It was Jeric’s parents. This was the first time they ever called her. Moments later, the cab’s destination had been adjusted – to the hospital.

When she arrived, she did not know what to expect. There was not much that his parents told her. But as she opens the door, there was his parents on his bedside, crying and holding his still lifeless hand. The doctor was also there explaining something, but she didn’t understand one word out of it. All that’s going through her mind was “What’s going on? What’s going on? What’s going on?”

“Ah, Daisy, please have a seat.” the doctor urged her.

“Wh-what’s the matter? Wh-what’s going on?”

“About Jeric. Well, to start with, he had an outside chance of waking up when we first looked at him more than 2 years ago. From our first few months of observation, his body is responding ok and we never failed to believe that someday, he could do it. For the past several months though, things weren’t as good. Even though he’s still lying down here, it’s as if his body is being constantly fatigued. It’s very hard to explain it because even us professionals couldn’t understand much what’s going on. It’s like he’s trying to get up in his mind and do something but his body won’t obey him. Also, due to the lack of physical activity and having been bedridden for a while now, some of his bodily functions are starting to give up. At this point, it’s very unfortunate and I’m sorry to tell you but Jeric’s whole body is starting to surrender now.”

His mother hugged her so tight, it just added to that familiar feeling of breathlessness. His father whispered to her that they’d be removing his life support and free Jeric of the agony and suffering.

They all wept as the doctor prepare to move outside of the room to give them a little time with Jeric. But before he left entirely, he had a question directed to his parents.

“Madam, if you don’t mind me asking, did you take something out of Jeric’s pocket? A bracelet, to be specific.”

“No, we didn’t take anything.” told his mother.

“I see. That’s odd. I’m sure I placed a bracelet there before. My mentor gave it to me a few years back when I lost my wife. He said that if I’m feeling helpless, just look at this bracelet and I will know hope. So I kinda pass it to him since he needed it more than me then. Oh well, I guess it must have dropped off somewhere. Anyway, time for me to step out side for a while. Just call me when you need me.”

And like a needle piercing her heart, Daisy remembered.

“Excuse me! Was that bracelet of blue color with one yellow thread on its knot?” asked Daisy.

“Why, yes! That’s it! So you’re the one who picked it up then? I see, well that explains it. Take care of it alright?” tells the doctor as he steps out and closes the door.

When she heard that confirmation, she thought she’d be more surprised and confused than she is now. For some reason, that affirmation was comforting. She turned back to his parents and told them if she can get a moment or two with Jeric, so they stepped out of the room momentarily. Daisy then sat down to his bedside, and held his now very thin hands.

“At first, I thought that was you. Then I told myself, “Don’t be silly, that’s just impossible!” He’d treat me the way you do, and maybe that’s why my heart grew closer to him over that period of time. I felt really bad and told myself that I was being unfair to you. But instincts are never wrong, are they?”

At this point, she could no longer hold back the tears. She cried a lot but still tried to talk with her sobbing and quivering voice.

“Instead of me looking after you, you’re the one looking after me, aren’t you? How selfless are you, you, you…! Giving up your own life for a little of my happiness! How could you do that! Please stop doing that!! How do you expect me to live on knowing you’re no longer with me from now on! Please… Stop being so kind to me…”

She wept several minutes more before she can wipe away the tears from her eyes and kiss his forehead.

“I will keep this bracelet you’ve worked so hard to give me. Now, take a rest. The world is too cruel for you to stay here. I will be fine. I am comforted by the fact that there’s always someone who loves me more than his life. I’ll take care of myself.. and your parents too!”

And just when she’s getting teary-eyed again, she just shrugged it off and kissed her on the forehead one last time.

“You are the love of my life, and it will stay that way. I’ll miss you forever!!”

She couldn’t hold back the tears then as she tightly covered her mouth with both her hands, trying to stop the crying. She then took the bracelet out of her bag and wore it. Afterwards, she carefully walked away from him without looking back, opened the door quietly, and nodded to the doctor. The doctor with the nurses then entered the room and closed the doors. Jeric’s parents and Daisy wept many tears but as long as the bracelet tightly hugs the wrist of Daisy, she knows she’s never alone. That in itself makes living and moving on all the more worthwhile.

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From this point on, nothing will ever be the same again.

A 10~20 year old Sherico once asked, “What do you fear most?” Probably several years later, that fear was sub-divided into different categories – fear of losing, fear of pain, fear of not knowing, and so much more. Until then, I had no clear answer to that question.

3 days ago, I was caught off-guard. Fear confronted me face-to-face, mano-a-manoIt showed me its total darkness wrapped around a layer of full unexpectedness. It kicked me in the groin, shoved me around, and sucked every life of this body until I was left there bleeding and lying on the ground, grasping for air. But – that wasn’t the worst part. It brought its friends along with it – distress, agony, helplessness… each inflicting a major wound on me.

To cut the bullshit, January 7, 2014 ~7:00 PM: my mom, who has been at the ICU for 24 days already, was surprisingly wide awake and still being taken care of by her sisters. She was diagnosed with severe acute pneumonia just after 1 and a half session of chemotherapy of her recently discovered lung cancer. For all but 5 days during her stay there, she had a ventilator run down from her mouth to esophagus, to her lungs to help her breathe as it was REALLY difficult for her to do it on her own. She showed good vital signs that night though and we’re still very hopeful that this would continue en route to her recovery.

A couple of hours later and a lifetime in between, the doctors were already resuscitating her after her blood pressure continued to drastically go down all of a sudden. Then, at around 9:20 PM, my mother breathed her last. And I didn’t know about this until about 10:30 in the evening when my aunt called me. When I saw her name flashing on the screen of my phone, that was the very definition of fear.

What happened (is still happening and will continue to happen) afterwards is beyond what words could describe. Every tear that fell from my eye and I held back had a certain emotion – a feeling – that I wanted to shout out loud. But I couldn’t. I realized then that I was much stronger now than before. I didn’t know where I found the strength to accept and take in everything but hey, I just did.

But the one person that I should really be crediting is my mother. If there’s only one person I know of that had a weak body and a fragile resolve – that would be her. During the whole course of her battle, of our battle, this weakness and fragility didn’t even show up.  Not even a tiny speck. She endured every physical pain (which was very horrendous and tormenting to watch for us as relatives) and demonstrated great determination to go back home and live a ‘normal’ life.

In the end, the suffering was too much for her body to handle and too much for our eyes to see. She was well and ok about 5 months ago and to tell you that everything happened in a flash would be a terrible cliche, but very true. It was a well-deserved rest to a place where pain is just a myth and joy and fulfillment are of abundance.

Looking back, if there were only 2 words to describe the life my mom has lived, that would be simple and selfless. Ever since she gave birth to the three of us, her life is nothing but fulfilling our desires and going beyond what a mother could possibly do to her child. That was basically a longer description of what love is.

So – to all the people who made my mom who she was until her last moments, thank you. To her friends who colored her life, thank you. To my friends and my family’s friends who were one with us in our loss – I will forever be grateful to you. May God bless and your families always!

In this new year, I wish you all nothing but health. Everything else is easy.

Time and Memories are our Witnesses

When a person we love dearly leaves to live the afterlife, we who remain feel an agitating uncertainty towards basically everything. Everything.

As cruel as it is, such is the mystery of life and as that person moves on, so should we. Time and the memories you left behind are our witnesses. You’ve been with us, we know. And we are forever grateful for that. Though we may never hear your voice again or catch a glimpse of even your shadow, let your memories be our guidance on this fog of uncertainty.

My Most Precious Treasure

Whenever we saw each other all we did was fight.
But those were also wonderful memories.
You taught me so much; I’m not scared anymore.
No matter how difficult I can grab hold of happiness, so…
I’ll go by myself, even if it looks painful,
I’ll always carry on the dream I had with you.
Being with you was so wonderful; There was no one else.
But when I woke up in the morning, you weren’t there.
I felt that we could play forever.
But I know that’s just what I believed.
I don’t regret being born any longer.
Like the feeling after a festival, it’s sad but let’s move on little by little.
I’ll go anywhere, you know that.
I’ll show you that I can grant your dream of happiness.
Even if I’m separated from you, no matter how far,
I’ll be born with the new morning.
I’ll go by myself, even if I want to die,
I can hear your voice; I mustn’t die.
Even if it looks painful, even if I’m crying in sadness,
Deep in my heart I feel your warmth.
Time changed as it ebbed and flowed.
I can’t remember what happened anymore but,
If I try and close my eyes I can hear someone’s laughter.
Somehow that’s now my most precious treasure.

To Those Who Needed This Most

To those who have lost someone they love, think of it this way: God has a plan for everyone of us and I’m sure why He has taken your loved one. We should be happy for him/her because he/she can finally be with Him. But don’t worry, we’ll all meet each other again at the end of time.

Nan’s Song Performed, Written by Robbie Williams

You said when you’d die that you’d
walk with me every day
And I’d start to cry and say
please don’t talk that way
With the blink of an eye
the Lord came and asked you
to meet
You went to a better place but He
stole you away from me

And now she lives in heaven
But I know they let her out
To take care of me

There’s a strange kind of light
Caressing me tonight
Pray silence my fear she is near
Bringing heaven down here

I miss your love I miss your touch
But I’m feeling you every day
And I can almost hear you say
‘You’ve come a long way baby’

And now you live in heaven
But I know they let you out
To take care of me

There’s a strange kind of light
In my bedroom tonight
Pray silence my fear she is near
Bring your heaven down here

You taught me kings and queens
While stroking my hair
In my darkest hour I know you are there
Kneeling down beside me
Whispering my prayer

Yes there’s a strange kind of light
Caressing me tonight
Pray silence my fear
She is near
Bringing heaven down here

The next time that we meet
I will bow at her feet
And say wasn’t life sweet
Then we’ll prepare
To take heaven down there

If you want to hear this song, you can search it on imeem or in Youtube. Really beautiful and moving. Love is love. Even death cannot stop you from loving them. And that’s why we continue to love. Because of love.