Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nanay Sabel

(I had written a tribute to Nanay Rosing, our neighbor, last week. I felt guilty that I hadn't blogged or paid my own tribute to Nanay Sabel, my aunt and mom's eldest sister, who passed away last May 27. But I did start to write something on paper after the funeral and only got to finish it today... Nanay I hope you can read this as it was written from my heart...)

I couldn't help it, tears started forming in my eyes. We started the funeral processional walk from the house in Cuyapo to the Church, walking side-by-side with relatives, friends and neighbors.

Many thoughts were with me. Those thoughts accompanied with the sentimental music coming from the funeral van brought more tears. At first a little embarrassed, but then realizing that if there was a right time and occasion for tears, this would be it.

My thoughts, if I can share them... Partly of guilt. I wasn't the best of nieces to Nanay Sabel, who through circumstances or fate, did not bear any children of her own. But she did have many nephews and nieces, some of us having lived with her and having been raised up by her when our own mothers were away.

There were countless times when we, my cousins and I, would talk about Nanay Sabel. Not in the nicest sense, but that which magnified her faults. The biggest being her attitude with money and her scringiness. She wasn't perfect. But who is? We saw her imperfections and not her good traits. I believe she loved being around people and told us stories, mostly of yesteryears. But many of the stories were bittersweet and I could hear the pain in her voice when she told them to us. She had a good laugh, a sweet smile, a dimpled smile. You can tell even at her old age that she must've been very beautiful when she was young. Mom even admits that among her siblings, she was the most beautiful.

My own guilt. Not giving Nanay Sabel the time nor attention she asked for, especially in her old age. I saw her a mere burden, someone to take care of when I had my own family to take care for. And so she was, as if, put aside and left in the province where other relatives, in exchange for a salary, would care for her.

"Iingatan ka, aalagaan ka...", the new tune from the memorial van rang through the mid-morning air. Hindi kita iningatan, hindi kita inalagaan. We visited you rarely and only for a short time, ignoring your pleas: "Sama na ako sa inyo." Clutching your bag and ready to go. But no place to go for we didn't take you. We just said we'd be back. We did come back, but you could no longer plea with us, silent and lying in the hospital, dependent on the manual oxygen pump that your nieces and nephews took turns to pump. Until your body could take no more.

I had a dream of you, you know. After the funeral a week after. I don't remember exactly what it was but I know you were there. As if on queue (or did she dream of you too), Joselyn asked me the next morning: "Mom, anong dream mo?" And I remembered and I told her I dreamt of Nanay Sabel. And so she visited me. Where she could not go, or where we would not take her, she is now free to go. Her spirit is now free to move and go where she pleases. Her spirit is alive.

Nanay, I know you can hear me. Please forgive me for all the times I hurt you, not only for the unkind words and actions, but for what I failed to do, for ignoring your pleas and not loving you as I should have. Nanay, you are free now to move. You are free indeed. May you find the joy, love and mercy that you did not find here on earth. Dear God, dear Jesus, dear Holy Spirit, Mama Mary, all the angels and Saints, open the gates of heaven and welcome her in. For only with You can Nanay be finally be at peace. Amen.

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