I just lost my grandmother last Wednesday, July 22, 2015. She died due to a massive heart attack. My mother informed me on 2:30 in the morning. She called me, crying, to inform me. I took days before sinking in. My thoughts were just lost in the dark, but the sorrow cannot bring me to cry. Her name was Ofelia Cunanan y Lacson. She was the matriarch of the Cunanan-Lacson clan. She was 67 years old.
I cannot bring myself into going to her funeral. I was staying in Cavite, resisting the urge to go to Concepcion, Tarlac. The main reason is that I don’t want to treat her dead. For me, all of those people who died just went to a faraway place. They were in a better place, and I know that soon that I’ll also be going there. When it will be my turn on going there, I want to set that fateful meeting to be full of smiles, with me boasting to them that I kept my promises, or maybe joking that what I promised is what got me. Going to those funerals, seeing their still faces and lifeless bodies, ruins my philosophy on the life beyond death. I want to keep those people alive in my mind and in my heart. Rather than lamenting on not fulfilling my promises while those people were still alive, I wanted to be encouraged to keep going on, to still fulfill those promises.
That is why I don’t go to funerals, or see the dead inside their coffins when I was on funerals. And I don’t want the most to see their burial, for it will give me the impression that their journey ended there. That goes the same when it will be my turn. I want no funerals: turn me into ashes immediately. I want no commemorations, no anniversaries and no lamenting. Keep me alive in your hearts, remember my works, keep those works alive, and that will be how I will keep on living.
It already dawned on me that I would never reach my 40’s. I am already feeling it since the start of my college days, when I was enlightened by ideas and saw the path I would be taking. It started when I was still with you; I was having heart spasms already. It was maybe my heart’s way of reminding me of my looming fate: that I would still leave you someday. That was what kept me from going full throttle on pursuing you. That was the same when I confessed my feelings for Erlyne. I kept her hanging for minutes before confessing because I was under excruciating heart pain. That was the same on Kimberly and on Choco. It was maybe destined that I will not have any love partner. I was already numb of the pain. Why must I endure these 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 consecutive heart breaks? It was maybe for that reason. I must cut off connections so that I will bear the consequences of my future actions and works alone.
It was the fourth time that I lost something precious on this year. The first ones were my friends on the Civil Engineering department. But maybe the shortcomings, due to the issue with Nikka and the academic organizations of the department, were destiny’s ways of finding my true friends. They were the ones who put me there on the first place, making me the scapegoat, on their sin of proliferating rumors about Nikka. I never changed amidst the temptation of fame, status and the sands of time. The way you know me and misinterpreted me is the still the same during those five years. Timid and shy on all aspects except on the aspects that I was expert of.
The second one was Kuya Jun, the one who stood as my 2nd father in my past five years in UP Diliman. The third one was the Alumni Center, my 2nd home, the place where I dedicated all my efforts towards its well being. And now the fourth one is my grandmother, who spoiled me in playing billiards, giving me money to play on a daily basis. She was having a hard time already, on disciplining herself. She enjoys playing sakla. And I know she will be enjoying the two sakla tables dedicated to her honor. I am just kidding. She is now in the embrace of our Lord, without worries anymore. She was worrying all the time back from the time that she was married to my grandfather, Rustico Cunanan y Santos.
Even though my grandfather’s clan possessed a vast land on the boundary of Magalang, Pampanga and Concepcion, Tarlac, it was very different from the Cojuangcos and Aquinos. They did not have sufficient equipment to make use fully of those lands. They relied on the tenants. But unlike the Conjuangcos, my clan was too much giving. They just wanted little tributes from the harvests, way lesser what the Conjuangcos extracted on their tenants on the past 60 years. Sixty years ago, the government bestowed lands to the retired Hukbalahap members. One of them was my great-grandfather, Paulo Cunanan. The Hukbalahap members, one by one, could not afford the payment of the installment required on Land Bank, and that was why they sold their lands to my great-grandfather, who was striving from his share of land. My great-grandfather entered politics and became the Barangay Captain of Brgy. San Nicolas Balas in Concepcion. My grandfather did not enjoy the same status as my great-grandfather. That was why he had to leave for the Middle East to be able to sustain his big family, although he was elected councilor of Concepcion. My grandmother took care of all her siblings. That was why it was understandable for her to find her own happiness, after each of her sons and daughters find their respective upper-middle class lives. That was through gambling. It was one of her traits that I heredited from her.
I just couldn’t feel much sorrow maybe because of two reasons: one was that I was already prepared for it, even since I was five years old(remember that existential crisis that I had) and two was that the wound from the latest heartbreak was just fresh. You can get your clue over this poem:
Kala ko bata, yun pala hindi.
Ang transferee from B Accountancy
Rason mo’y hindi ka nawiwili
Lalo nung tambangan ni Anthony
Ang layo kasi, hirap umuwi
At kahit sa tangkad mo’y ikaw huli
Nakakaakit ang iyong ngiti
Guwapa ka para sa ‘sang babae
Entrada mo ay iba palagi
Lumbay ang napapansin parati
Itanggi mo man ito o hindi
Kita sa buhok mo, namumuti
Andirito lang kami palagi
Katagal man ng iyong ilalagi
Orasan na din ang magsasabi
Dagok man sayo’y kadami-dami
Edukasyon ay ipupunyagi
Resulta ng paghihirap dati
Entablado’y akyatin sa huli
Sana tayo ay magtagpong muli
It was the second time that I had someone who ran to University Student Councilor as my competitor. The first one ran for Vice-Chairperson and the second one ran for Chairperson. (It was during the same election period! Damn!) It was during her that I realized on how I am now fast on falling in love. I just wanted my heart to be full of song, but now I am all on my own, pretending she’s beside me. (Les Miserables reference, hehehe). She was maybe pa-fall, and I was one of those who fell for her. And now I understand Danny’s dilemma on Ariane.
The sorrow is now the one who is fanning the flames of my passion. I will continue to advocate my ideas. I will start on publishing my essay and then my books. It will be on this order:
1. Indolence of the Filipinos in the 21st century (Joshua Alvarez) – Essay
2. The Law, The Bottle and The Social Contract (Joshua Alvarez) – Essay
3. Student Activism? (Joshua Alvarez) – Essay
4. Keeping Things In Order (Aquilino Eminencio VI) – Essay
5. Trade of Rights (Mario Tagatanggol) – Essay
6. Stagnation of Technology (Mario Tagatanggol) – Essay
7. La Politica De Las Islas Filipinas (Mario Tagatanggol) – Essay
8. That Bonds That Tear (Joshua Alvarez) – Essay
9. Eminencio Magnifico – Book
10. Society – Book
The titles of essays with the characters from the book Eminencio Magnifico who made that the essay from the book were indicated in the parentheses. The final book, the Society, is the book that Joshua Alvarez wrote in the Eminencio Magnifico. A book within a book, you may say. That final book is the one that I doubt that I will be able to finish. I hope I can finish 1,2 and 3 right before the end of the first semester.
Remember yesterday? It was 4 years ago since I went on your hometown on the first time. That memory spoke more sorrow than the one I was having now. Now, I just wanted someone to cry on.