If Today is Your Last, What Would Be Your Last Words?

I know, the title sounds a little morbid, but we all know it’s inevitable,isn’t it? We don’t have a say as to how long or until when we are going to live in this world. Some people lived long enough to see their dreams come to pass. Others are only for short period, short enough to have to leave their children not yet fully capable to paddle to life’s surging waves.

With the end in mind, I’m sure we all want to leave a piece of advise to our loved ones,specially our children to better equipped them in life as they move on in this world without us. Words that we think should be their guiding principle. Their lighthouse in the middle of a dark sea. The gentle whispering of a loving parent to the ears of his or her vulnerable baby.

I remember my mother’s last words to me was , ” you need to be always strong in this life . And remember, God keeps His promises”. After a short while, nurses upon doctor’s order, started to slowly and one at a time pull out the cables and apparatus connected to my mom. And the next few minutes she started breathing heavily until her last. Her words have been and will always be the most precious thing to me. I’m sure it wont be easy all the time but I have to be strong if it isn’t. Some days would be bright and some wont, but I have to be strong if it’s gloomy.

So,any last words in mind to keep them going strong when you’re gone?

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Hello, Midlife Crisis?

Do you believe in midlife crisis?”

We were in the middle of our normal overseas chat, you know, a different- time zone -chat, when my partner blurted out that question. I was lying on my bed, stretching out, and found myself stunned at the question. I thought to myself, uh oh…why is she asking me this? Is she having a crisis? Do we have problems in our relationship? Have I done something wrong for her to think I’m undergoing a crisis, and worse, a mid life one?

My partner and I have been together for 18 years, and for the last five years, I have to be away in a foreign land because of work. The only thing that binds us is trust. She wasn’t my first partner but I always knew she would come along. We made an agreement right from the start that we will keep an open communication. No secrets,no surprises. When we were still living together, before we sleep at night, we would talk about anything, from what happened that day, what are our plans, and most of the time we would reminisce the time we first met. We wouldn’t call it a night without going through that routine. We both believe that open communication is healthy and would make our relationship stronger. I always assure her that even if we are apart at the moment, nothing would change. That I will stay the same and will always be faithful.
I know her well enough to think twice about her faithfulness to me. There was never a single moment that she became unfaithful. If in her mind she thinks of someone else, I couldn’t blame her. I don’t have the looks, I don’t have the figure. And if she does so, honestly, I’m not bothered, because I’m mature enough to think that she is only human. What matters to me is that in the real world she’s honest and she’s mine.

In that tiny space of time, between her asking that question and me asking her why she’d ask, lots of things came across my mind already. I lately realised I was afraid. Afraid that after 18 years she had realised I’m no good for her. I was dreading the moment she would say that she’s not sure anymore if she would still wait for me.

She kept me hanging for quite a while. Then she told me why… it is because her sister in law phoned her from Australia to inform her that her brother went away without telling where he’s going. That they are having marital issues. And who she’s blaming it for? Yes, mid life crisis.

My partner, thinking I know something about it, in which I feel insulted, asked me if I believe in the myth. I gave her an answer which I think was a very honest one. I explained to her that this midlife crisis is experienced by people between 40 to 60 years old. I couldn’t say that what my partner’s brother is going through today is because of mid life crisis. I went through it in details.  Based on what I read in the internet and health magazines long time ago, it is an emotional transition that can sometimes lead to depression. It can be a simple transition and for a short period of time but for others it could be more complicated. According to those  articles, people who are stuck in this emotional stage might experience any of ,but not limited to,these feelings: unhappiness with life or lifestyle; boredom, anger at their other half or being tied down,confusion about who they really are and what they really want in life, desire for a new and more intimate relationship, feeling the need for change or adventure,doubts in the choices they have made,or validating the choices they have made in their lives. Her brother has history of extramarital affairs. Why he is doing that could be for a lot of reasons. It could be that he is a natural philanderer,a good- for-nothing husband and father or the wife could be a nagger or had become undesirable in his eyes. It could also be that he is looking for fun because she isn’t fun anymore. I am not justifying his behaviour, I’m just exploring the reasons for his action.

So, to answer my partner’s surprising question: yes,baby, I believe in midlife crisis. But don’t you worry,as long as we keep an open communication, there is nothing we can’t sort out.

To Life and Peace! Cheers!!

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REKINDLED

I’m lost again,just like everytime I would tell my self to write. I’m waiting for my muse to visit me and whisper the words I need. I force myself to
write just about anything just to get rid of procrastination.

I know and I’m sure I want to be a writer no matter what it takes. I remember when I was only ten, I have written silly romantic script. Although not what you could call proper script with all its elements,but it was the only way I could express the flame that was burning me up inside. Romantic,really? Yes ,romantic. See ,this is what I mean, at a very young age, not even old enough to use the hob without supervision by an adult, I had these characters aching to come out to life. They were very real,and so full of emotions. So with my pen and paper, i let them evolved. I gave them names, assigned their personalities, allowed them to feel all the emotions any human being can feel at a given situation. The story was so real that after I exhausted my self and my hand felt numb and stiff, it was like waking up from a dream. It was like coming out from my imaginary world. I could feel right down my bones the emotions that my imaginary characters feels. It felt as if I am my characters in that story. Sometimes I prefer to stay in that world, my own world. I still see vividly all the details I had put in the story. I feel happy and safe. I would write for countless hours until my body surrenders.

But I was  young then, no other things to do but school and play. I wouldn’t not trade my time to write for playing. I didn’t miss going out with playmates and there wasn’t much,anyway. My parents would go out in the early mornings to run the store. I would be left in the care of our house help. While she was busy with all the house work, I would stay in my room or in the receiving room. Looney tunes on the telly would be my background noise. I said background because I wasn’t watching, I just didn’t want it dead quiet. Then for hours, I would be in another  place, playing the hero of my story.

Time passed, I went to secondary school,then to university. I have lost track of writing. I got engrossed in other things like  school reports, school trips, and so on.
I didn’t lose interest in writing, it’s just that I couldn’t squeeze it in my schedule. I haven’t forgotten writing that time yet. Not just yet,until I finished university and started to work for the family business.

The rigors of attending the family business snatched away my attention from writing. Totally snatched and stripped it off my system,unconsciously. For years I had forgotten about it. But the love for reading remains. Those two things are what I can call ” love of my life”. Reading stayed loyal to me until now. But writing had totally ran away from me.  Just recently, about a  couple of weeks ago, it  decided to come back and wooed  me again. I was working and the passion flared up,rekindled out of the blue. This time more aggressive. It teams up with my reading and my work. Yes, it pops in here and there while I’m working. It seems to me that it came with revenge. So like a true love lost and found, I am not going to give up on it this time. I will make up for the lost time. But this time, I will make sure that I will give myself time to hone my skill. What made me decide? The inner satisfaction. The way I felt when it came back, it brought me back to that forgotten time, when I only have my time and attention for writing and nothing else, it was divine. Categorically, I cant say I’m a good writer, but I’m sure of one thing only, I want to write.

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Happy Birthday,Bunso*

    Seems like just yesterday, I can still remember when you were still a small child, how everyone would like to get your attention so we could cuddle you and sit you on our laps. We would try all the tricks we know only to get your attention. For me, I would tempt you with colourful sweets, father would like to carry you on his shoulders, and Kuya**, would motion that he would like to throw you up in the air and catch you. Oh,all those tricks but still, your eyes would scan the room like a lost child looking for someone who would rescue you. You looked so uncomfortable,uneasy, until you see that figure. Even with her back turned on you, you would recognize her and that is when you would cry pitifully , then she would stop whatever she’s doing and will rescue you. She will lift you out of the crib and will wrap you around her arms to console you. Then, without delay, you’d stop crying. For you, even without tricks to offer, she gets your attention, in full and willingly.

     Today, you turned into a sweet and lovely sixteen year old lady. With your Kuya now together with her and father on the other side, and the rest of your remaining siblings in different parts of the world, more than ever, I know you are searching for her. But don’t despair, for I know that at this very moment, as sure as the sun will rise and again set, Mother is embracing you and assuring you of her love. So smile now, bunso. We all love you very much!

(Author’s Note: * youngest sibling, ** older brother)

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The Promise

My mother was the only person who really understood me. All my moods, what I like, what I want to do, she understood all of it. I didn’t have to explain to her, just our glances, eye contacts, body language, that was all that’s needed for us to understood each other. She was my safe haven. She meant everything to me. Then that fateful afternoon.
In 2005,she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent operation straightaway. After surgery, she went through chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the same time. She was so strong that I didn’t hear her complained of anything during the tedious process of those treatments. She had smiles ready to give away to everyone that come to see her. She was a picture of courage and hope.
Me? I was the great pretender. I never showed her how I was slowly dying ahead of her. I kept all the pain inside. I never showed her ( she told me from the beginning never to lose hope and that I must not show my sibling if ever I will cry) my true emotion.

One year after all she had finished all the therapy sessions, the cancer metastasize, this time in her liver. Again, all those appointments to see her oncologist and have her lungs drained of water that made her hard to breathe. From the beginning, I was her constant companion going to the hospital,for my father wasn’t that brave.

All these routines,and pretending that I am strong as how my mother wanted me to be, hearing from the doctors,firsthand , all the bad news and what should be the next step, all these were like shards of glasses being sewn around my heart. There were no other load much bigger than that to carry on one’s shoulder. To know that her case was hopeless, giving her false hope was all I could think of to ease the pain and sadness I know she felt then.

Then after few months,she passed away. All my siblings were there beside her death bed. Hapless, crying. It was unbearable. I wanted to scream. Like them, I wanted to cry and express my mourning. But  there I was, numbed, couldn’t believe that infront of me was the still warm body of mother, her eyes had just shut and then she shed her last tears. Did I cry? No, I cant. I want to honor the promise I made  to mother, I won’t show them my tears. I won’t show them that I am weak…that I will be strong for them.

The longer she’s gone, the more I miss her. And if I couldn’t help but cry I have to make sure I’m on my own or in private, without anyone to see me shed my tears. This is what mother made me promise. To be strong for my siblings and to my late father.

Sorry mother if I couldn’t help crying,but I will always make sure they won’t see.

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It’s About Time

Today I make resolve that I am going to write because that is what I am…a writer. I might be struggling for words most of the time but I have loads of ideas flowing in my mind. I feel that I have so many things to impart, the only thing that holds me back is how to put it down on the paper or on the blank screen of my computer. I know and feel deep within me, body and soul, that once I surpassed this great obstacle, I will make a  mark in the world.

I want to do at least this one, if I didn’t have a chance to do all the things I dreamt of doing. I have too many frustrations in life such as becoming a lawyer, a journalist, a pilot, and the list goes on. But this time, I am not going to let it pass me by…not writing.

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