February 25, 2008
February 03, 2008
We were fifteen then. We were walking out of the campus when my high school friend told me that he thought I was very lucky. He was comparing me with other people and he knew I had no problems except for little things, such as hiding my childish infatuation from a classmate.
Everything seemed so rosy back then. I had a very close and loving family. I didn’t lack anything financially. I had good grades. I was happy and pretty much living a very normal life waiting for my dreams to happen.
Well, isn’t it, people say that handsome babies grow up not so good looking while not so cute ones grow up beautiful? Well, my life started as a very charming baby. It grew up ugly.
My dad died of complications from diabetes before I even turned eighteen. We never expected it. In fact, my mom even went to work that day and I was left alone with Papa in the hospital. Seeing my Dad breathe his last alone and being the person whom the doctor confirms the bad news with, I thought that was already the hardest thing I could ever suffer in my entire existence. I was my papa’s girl and I grew up dreaming with him of many things, one of which is becoming a lawyer. I haven’t even begun my second year of college when he left me cold in that bare hospital room with a lifeless body.
Life went on though. I even attended summer classes and my classmates were amazed at how I handled the loss. One of them told me she admired me. She noticed the joy inside me amidst all the pain. I knew there were still a lot of other things to be thankful for. I had a good life ahead of me.
My mom stepped up and became mom and dad for me and my sister. She was exceptionally strong and I admired her. When my father died, I worried about nothing except my grief. After his burial, my tired and weary mom even had to accompany me to Manila, worrying that I might have become too affected by my dad’s death to be traveling alone. It never occurred to me at that time, that I was not the only one suffering and that as painful as it felt, life did not easily end that way. My mom had bills to pay, my college education to support, two daughters to raise and a fatherless home to maintain.
We managed pretty well, anyway. I graduated from college and got a good job. After a couple of years, my mom became successful in subtly coercing me into fulfilling papa’s dream of myself becoming a lawyer. I thought that it was hard to argue with a dead man so I tried my so called “luck” in law school. Besides, I wanted it as a young child anyway.
I got accepted. After learning of my resignation, my boss’ wife congratulated me. She said I was so lucky to have qualified to enroll in a good law school. I was elated and I thanked God for the things that were going really well for me.
Little did I know that the nine years after my Dad’s death was a period of preparation for something more awful. Last summer, my mom received several death threats. They were election related. No, she was not a politician. She was a simple government employee in La Union, who had to faithfully fulfill the duty of keeping the ballot boxes safe.
My Mom became paranoid but I was quite unfazed. I felt that I had some sort of immunity already. When Papa left us, I was so sure I’ll be spared from another family member’s death. Besides, my grandfather just passed away the other year. Surely, my mom would grow old and enjoy the company of my children. Surely, our plans of traveling Europe together and her ballroom dancing plans at my wedding reception will come to pass.
I was gravely mistaken. Who else will say that I am lucky? Not when a man riding a motorcycle fired several shots at our house on the eve of the elections. Not when close in security had to stay in the house or go with us to church or eat with us in our favorite restaurants because my mom’s life was in danger. But I thought that was just a phase. Maybe, my mom had to experience VIP treatment once in a while.
I was wrong, in fact so wrong. My whole life crashed when they murdered her.
I was in my room in the dorm preparing for a midterm exam when I got the terrible news. She was about to go to work when a man approached her in front of our house and fired a gun at her chin at close range. It was that fast. A bullet in her brain. It was that simple.
I was stunned, shocked. Ten hours earlier, we were just talking. She was using the same red cellular phone that my cousin used, to break the currently most unwanted news in my life.
I had to leave school behind for a while. I went home unaccompanied and had to sit through the whole trip crying on my seat. I didn’t even notice if the other passengers gawked at me or if they heard each telephone conversation I had to make. I didn’t care if the bus didn’t take my usual route and had to stopover in the airport in Pampanga. It was better to watch the small planes taxi in the runway than to arrive at the morgue, to feel the cold body of my beautiful mother, wearing her Monday office uniform stained with red blood.
Now, I’m waiting for people to tell me again that I’m lucky.
Or aren’t other people feeling lucky when they think of me? Because they didn’t have to go through the same painful events I had to go through in my 27 years on earth. The same friend in high school told me that he can only imagine what I’m going through. He was so right maybe that is why he barely noticed me afterwards. Perhaps, when I was just 15, with my life almost perfect, I wouldn’t expect myself to relate to misery so well either.
But I ran into my college classmate again and she said the same thing. She said she admired me for being so good. I thought, was i so good at disguising pain? I don't know.
I’m trying to have my life go on, the best way i could. Just the way my mom moved on when her better half passed away.
I do cry a lot and I do have a lot of sleepless nights thinking about papa, thinking about mama, thinking about how I will walk down the aisle without anyone giving my hand away to my groom, thinking about my graduation without the person who sent me to school, thinking about having children without grandparents from their mom’s side of the family.
Maybe people expect me to hate the murderers from the gut. Maybe people expect me to strategize a plan of revenge. Maybe I am intelligent enough to do so. But I am not that person.
My mom and dad raised me up well, I never felt I lacked love in my life. This is why I know that a life full of hate isn’t life at all.
Why would I care about them? Do they care if I cry myself to sleep? Do they care if I blog instead of study just so I can get my feelings out? Do they care if I have recurring bouts with self-pity because I don’t have a mother nor a father? Do they care when loneliness envelopes me like crazy? Do they care if I miss them?
Never mind if lawyers don’t want to take my mom’s case for fear of reprisal. Never mind if lawyers don’t want to help us find justice because of all the political color. Never mind that the man who shot my mom has his own private lawyer notwithstanding the fact that he told us he was only interested in my mom’s bag. Never mind if someone told me that my mom is not a famous person and prayer rallies held for her only mean that there is a political handler. Never mind if he told me that there’s almost nothing I can do to make the situation better.
Maybe I’m not really lucky. But who cares? In the first place, I don’t even believe in luck.
We make our own decisions. Yes, there are things totally beyond our control. But I still believe that everything happens for a reason.
My God is just. David beat Goliath. The stammering Moses led the Israelites.
My God is good and powerful. So why should I darken my soul with anger?
My sister and I prayed for the gunman and what a relief it was. To forgive someone does not mean we will also stop a mistake’s consequences. We will seek justice but we will try not to hate anyone.
Sinners go to hell, anyway. My mom, who gave her life to Jesus, is now walking in streets of gold. Someday, I hope to meet her there and I’ll tell her all the wonderful things that happened while she was away. Maybe she knows what’s happening.
My friends and family love me. I don’t go hungry. I’m still alive.
Yes, I’m still blessed. And I have faith that no matter what happens, God is always at work. Even if circumstances say otherwise. I pray everyday. And I have faith, a new season is coming. Maybe one of these days, i'll meet my friend again and hear him talk about how lucky i am or maybe not.
Posted by gonewiththewave at 4:14 AM