January 2024

January is a rollercoaster full of emotions.

January 2: Unexpected Death

My cousin from Canada was going to get married on January 3rd; then we’ll have a family reunion on my mom’s side on January 4th. We were all excited to see the whole clan.

But then…

A day before my cousin’s wedding, we lost my brother-in-law (Second Sister’s husband). What we thought was a simple fainting turned out to be his last breath. 

A good samaritan who used S’s Messenger app called my mom and said “Kilala niyo po ba ‘tong mamang ‘to? Nahimatay po dito sa Dahlia.” I remember ordering my niece (his daughter) to call her mom via Messenger while I call on phone.

Mom, D, Little O, my nephew, my niece, and I were already in Silang, Cavite when that happened. 

A few minutes later, mom’s boyfriend video called and told us the bad news tha t S has passed away. He’s been revived several times, but they all failed.

I felt helpless that day.

I called my eldest sister to tell her the bad news. She, her husband, and our brother were 30 minutes away from where we were. They drove to Silang as soon as the heard the news. 

After telling her, my mom and I decided to tell my niece. She cried, but it’s not the cry you would expect from someone who lost a parent. She couldn’t let it out.

We were torn.

Are we all going to leave for Manila?

Are we still going to attend the reunion?

Since the car can’t fit all nine of us, we decided that my eldest sister and her husband would drive my mom, niece, and brother back to Fairview.

It was D, Little O, my nephew, and I who stayed back. I tried to talk to D about what happened but it was too sad for him. I did’t want to push him.

My tita called us for dinner. Since Little O was asleep, D stayed with her while I got food for him. While getting food, my tita told me to socialize with my cousins and I would… But I couldn’t.

I then brought the food to D and went back to get mine. As I was walking towards the dining hall, I read my eldest sister’s message “I almost cried when Sister B hugged me.”

And I broke down…

I called my friend Bj and cried my heart out. But then the line got choppy and we had to change platform.

I couldn’t sleep that night, but I needed to as we still had a wedding to attend to. 

January 3: The Wedding

D, Little O, and I were the family’s representatives. Third Sister and her boyfriend arrived around 5AM, but since they helped out with January 2’s happenings, they decided to rest first. They skipped the wedding.

The reception started in the early evening and lasted around 8PM for me… well, because it’s Little O’s bedtime. I said good night to my cousins, titos, and titas. I told them D would be my representative.

She didn’t really sleep immediately, she was busy chatting with Third Sister’s boyfriend. When my cousin went to our room and chatted with him, Little O couldn’t butt in, so she just slept.

As for D?

He did well. He got back to our room past 2AM. He drank wine with my cousins and their friends.

January 4: The Reunion

It was what we were waiting for since last year. Cousins, titos, and titas from Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania flew to the Philippines for this much awaited reunion.

Mom and my cousin from Canada hosted the reunion. The gathering but we missed Second Sister, Bro-in-Law, and Niece.

Going back to Manila: Back to Reality

The happy feeling we had during the reunion soon faded away when we got to Manila. We’re facing reality. The reality that we’ve lost a family member.

Among all the deaths I’ve experienced (3 grandparents’ deaths and an uncle’s death) this was the one I’m most devastated by.

My mom was going to my bro-in-law’s wake, and I asked if I can ride with her. She picked me up here and brought some stuff inside bro-in-law’s store. And I smelled something nice. I ignored it… until my mom said “Amoy bulaklak.” It was the scent of flowers you can smell in funerals or cemeteries.

I grieved over the next few days. I played two songs on loop: Memories by Maroon 5 and See You Again by Wiz Khalifa. 

January 9: Burial Day

My friend Bj and I rode with my mom. The convoy has left the funeral place while we were still on our way, but we were able to catch up. I saw lots of motorcycles, and then it dawned on me – you know that someone is a good person when lots of people bring him/her to his/her final resting place.

My bro-in-law was a good man. He was quiet and chill. He lived a simple life. He loved his family so much that he didn’t push through with his OFW endeavor to be with his family. 

January 10: Second Sister and Niece’s Return Home

My Second Sister asked me if she can sleep in our spare bedroom, and I said yes. I was expecting it. I can’t imagine how hard it was for them to sleep in the same room when you know someone is missing.

January 11: Eldest Sister’s Dinner Treat

Everyone except for him was present. It was our first family dinner without him. Second Sister tried to socialize, but you know deep inside she’s still hurt.

I guess this is where I’ll end January recap. After these highlights nothing much happened anymore.

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