13 August 2019

Carlos Soriano Ballesteros, 1944-2019



It's been nearly 40 days now since my father passed away. 6th July 2019. We were walking to the Church for the 10.30am mass when my younger brother Doods phoned. He said Tatay has been very sick and very weak. After a quick chat, we entered the Church. Ten minutes later he rang again. Tatay had passed away. 

Everything happened so fast. I stayed in the car speechless. I phoned my good friend Jason. Inbetween tears I asked him to pray for me.

The days after that happened so fast. We were busy for the next nine days for pa-syam. Friends came and sympathized and prayed the rosary. Tears were shed.
It's been a difficult past few days. Tiredness and lack of sleep is taking its toll. It's been difficult keeping focus at work and at home. I forget plans and schedules. 

This is a different feeling from when my Nanay passed away. Back then I felt so desolate and sad and depressed. This time around I feel so confused, I don't feel like myself, I blank out, and I'm just so tired.

In my dreams I'm back in our home at Carantes St. I was sitting on our wooden sofa. I've forgotten all about that sofa but it was so vivid in my dream that I woke up recalling how it felt sitting there and wondered what that was about. And I wondered where that sofa is now.

In another dream I was in our kitchen and for some reason I found it cramped with unnecessary stuff so I decided to move furniture and rearrange stuff all by myself. When I was done it was late in the night and I woke up my Nanay so she can see my work. She woke up without complaining and went to the kitchen with me. She looked happy with it and was chatting when a corner of the kitchen wall broke and roaches started crawling all over the place. One flew and landed right on me and that's when I woke up. I felt so tired.

I don't know what to feel in this time of mourning. This uncertainty is overwhelming.

06 April 2019

Lost and found

[In the midst of things that have not gone the way I want to, there are actually many instances when fortune smiled my way. Though I can say that it wasn't actually fortune, but something or Someone who looks after me. I'm starting a series of short stories highlighting these #smallmiracles. Hopefully this will also encourage you to look into the small miracles in your life.]

Udon soup
I actually have 2 wallets, 1 for frequently used cards, and a smaller one for minor cards plus my bus card. Keeping just 1 wallet for everything was too bulky. Each wallet would go into my pants' back pockets, but on that fateful day I decided to wear shorts with only 1 back pocket. So the smaller wallet went into my front pocket along with my phone. Being the designated driver, I had to drop off the kids to their sporting activities and also get the family to our other destinations.

By late afternoon I realised that I lost my smaller wallet. In the next couple of days, I retraced my steps and enquired from shops, but turned up empty-handed. Nevertheless, I did not feel troubled, like something is reassuring me that the wallet will find its way back.

Sure enough, I received a phone; a kind soul dropped it off at a shop. I have since collected it, with all contents intact. It was the best thing that happened to me that week.

(Not related to the story, but I had 2 udon bowls this week due to the cold, wet weather. Yum. Might try to recreate at home.)

04 March 2018

Take time to do the things you love

When my Nanay passed away last year, I felt so lost. I felt hollow inside, like some part of me was missing. I would wake up each day and feel nothing. It was very scary. I did not know how I should feel. But I knew that I had to keep moving with my life, for the sake of my family. An automatic mode kicked in. I would wake up, list the things that I need to do in my mind, then do it. The morning routine, the commute to work, the tasks I needed to solve in front of the computer, the commute home, dinner, side jobs before going to sleep, then turn it in.

There were countless times though that the evenings can give me problems. The day has finished, and I would be left alone with my thoughts. The emptiness would set in. I would panic and consciously start doing things for the sake of doing. There was a time when I started cleaning at 9pm and did not stop till 2 in the morning. I exhausted myself to sleep.

2017 was a very dark time for me. I lost myself. The things that I loved to do no longer mattered. I love my cacti and succulents, and I neglected them. Most of them were hardy enough to survive neglect, some of the more delicate ones did not make it.

I loved visiting the Library. I cannot recall stepping into the library last year. I enjoyed reading comic books - I also forgot that I actually love doing that.

The days started to intertwine with each other. I would get my days confused. I'm actually surprised I managed as well as I could at work. I only missed one meeting, but I knew something was wrong when I started making mistakes.

I started going to Church on my lunch breaks. Most times I would just sit there, eyes closed, listening, asking. God, are you there? Can you hear me? I do not know what to say. I feel so empty inside. Talk to me.'

He did not reply.

Still I persevered. And He gave me opportunities to share my burden with my community. Friends  shared in my sorrow and gave me hope in the time that I needed it the most.

My grief still continues. But instead of wallowing in darkness, I reach for the light in the Bible. I pray. I now find a sense of calm. Sure, there are still times that I am confronted by my grief, but instead of the panic, I now try to stop, sit still, and take my time to recover no matter how long it takes.

My succulents are growing quite well.



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