Saturday, June 09, 2007

Celebrating but not really

Inaantok ako. Daig ko pa ang nagquickturn New York ng duty-duty.

I arrived in Manila a little before midnight of June 5th. On June 6th I went to the Makati office, did the usuals except for the fact that I was carrying my niece, whose yaya went on vacation with no signs of coming back. To make my trip sulit, I asked dad and mom and my sister if they want to go malling and have dinner afterwards. So we did and dad even decided we go on Dad's-Saisaki-Kamayan buffet at Glorietta. Tatay had just finished his second plate when Nanay checked on her mobile phone and eventually made a call that made me stop eating my salmon sashimi and wonder who she called.

Mutually understanding each other, dad signalled for the bill, I paid and off we went. To Bulacan. [My maternal] Lolo collapsed and was then being rushed to a hospital. Months back he had a stroke that left his throat and tongue paralyzed.

Anyway, when we got to the hospital Nanay talked to the nurse on duty at the ICU who was carefully explaining what happened and what's happening...until Nanay cut her off by asking, "Pero if he's off machines, could he breathe on his own?" to which the nurse shook her head and mommy nodded. I had to excuse myself from then coz Yana, my niece, wasn't allowed in the hospital so we left her with Tatay, outside. I thought Nanay would be better if she's with dad so I went out and went on sub.

I would later learn that Lolo had another stroke, his brain practically swimming in blood and that his was not a 50-50 case, rather, it was a 25-75. Between 1 and 2 in the morning we had to take turns sleeping inside the car parked smack right beside a national highway where buses and ten-wheelers go by every half a minute. By three, the nurse was calling in the immediate family. (I was still, and remained, outside, with Yana.) He flatlined in a matter of minutes.

Time of death: 3:05. To the avid McDreamers, yes, that's very Grey's Anatomy. Well that's what I felt like it was. Grey's Anatomy. I guess it had actually made me stronger in times like these: hospitals, deaths, sad truth. And it's also what my sister felt like. Ellis Grey dying: no tears. Because my mom, auntie and Lola can't bear to look at it, my sister was inside the ICU when the nurses took life support and tubes off. A cousin who was also there said my sister looked on, not even blinking, while he--a nursing student--was very uncomfortable.

It's been the second night of the wake, and we drive back to Navotas before dawn to catch a bit of sleep and take baths and drive to Bulacan by noon. I think I've had just about 12hrs of sleep in three days. Quite honestly, I don't know how to do this. The last death in the family was like fifteen years ago...

Tomorrow (well actually, today) was supposedly Lolo and Lola's golden wedding anniversary. I actually requested for these days off in Manila to attend the special day. Most working relatives filed for leaves, or booked bus tickets to get back in Manila in time. Little did we know that we'd be wearing blacks or whites.

I ask for your prayers for my Lola, who would definitely have one of the hardest times of her life today, celebrating but not really.

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