Today, it would have been my Dad’s birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away (July 28, 2008) the day after his birthday, the 27th of July 2008. He celebrated his natal day via his usual party the day before, an annual family celebration that has been carried on year in and year out. Now, because of the timing of his death, our family still commemorate his birthday, and his death anniversary annually. That must have been his way of making sure that his birthday is going to be celebrated even long after he’s gone.
With each passing year, the pain is still as fresh as it was six years ago. I don’t know if that pain of losing him so abruptly will ever go away in my lifetime. It’s a fact that losing my Dad was more painful than losing my Mom for the simple reason that perhaps, we were more than prepared when my Mom passed on. My Dad had no pre-existing condition that warranted his untimely demise. He still drove his car and rode his bike (his fave exercise) regularly.
Before the third death anniversary of my Mom in April this year, my sister-in-law flooded my email with a lot of photographs of our ancestral home with the subject: ‘Missing Home?’ Her intention was to get me to take the trek back home in time for the anniversary. Looking at all the photographs had me shed a tear or two, I was actually depressed for a few days.
Unfortunately at that time, there were more pressing events that I needed to take care of right here in my current home. Not that I should have been the one in-charge of everything, but for the lack of compassion and in-action of someone (who in the face of God and society has a sacred duty towards the one who needed assistance), I took on the responsibility without hesitation.
I will always miss ‘home’. No matter where I am in the world, our ‘home’- the land where I grew up will always be ‘home’ to me. I have a lot of fond memories growing up in this house, the same property, same neighborhood. Yes, the landscape has changed significantly and it now lost its quaint little town feel but I guess that’s the price of urbanization and development. I was actually greatly surprised when I was there in 2011. I can no longer clearly hear the chirping of the birds, the church bell is no longer as profound, and most of all, the main road which me, my siblings and cousins rightfully claimed as extension of our backyard where we used to play is no longer what it was. It is now a major artery for traffic to the nearby Mall.
I was more than glad to see (even only just in pictures) that our ancestral home is being taken cared of properly. Oh those bougainvilleas are growing wild! I’m sharing here a few of the tons of pics that I got from my SIL.
The interior and layout of the furniture still looks the same, just the way my Mom had them.
See the picture frames that I marked? That’s yours truly : one with my very short hair circa 1998 and the other one (longer hair) is circa 1993.
These woven, wood chairs are older than me. It must have been re-finished and re-woven a hundred times (lol).
Our mini pool table is still intact in our family room. You don’t know how much tears I had shed when I got so ‘pikon’ and acted a sore loser every time I lost. And that 32 inch Sony TV with sub woofer (they were the rage at that time)is still working – a lasting reminder, and one of the things I acquired when I got that fat signing bonus that was offered to me when I was hired by a Fortune 500 multinational company in Manila. It’s one of the few things that I made sure to send back to our ancestral home before I left my condo to move here.
I miss standing on this side of the balcony right by my bedroom ( I have easy access courtesy of 2 sliding doors). I used to count the houses as far as my eyes could see. You see, our home was built considerably higher than the whole neighborhood, so I had a good view of the rooftop of the homes with only the church bell tower obliterating one side of my view.
This is my bedroom, and I’m still the rightful owner to it. Every time my husband and I go home, it is our ‘hotel’ room (lol) (this Ethan Allen queen size bed was from my condo in Makati). Nobody occupies the bedrooms in our house except my brother and his wife. And sometimes, relatives who go on vacation stay in our house once in a while.
I have to thank my only brother and his wife for maintaining our house as livable and nice as can be. Though this six bedroom home is not anywhere close to a lavish mansion, it’s the only house where we will always come home to. It’s the house where it will always feel like ‘home’.
I really, miss ‘home’.