En route to Father
An hour past Bangkok, the flight meal served,
I drink the coffee and stare at the coastline
Of Vietnam as we inch into the ocean.
The plane skirts the dark mass of clouds;
It goes smoothly into the blue,
Like a sensible act of keeping away
From a zone of fear
Or being cast with malediction.
As I stay airborne,
I drift between dread and hope.
But the quiet in the plane throbs
Like a prayer held inside a cathedral.
God, please look after my father.
Make him well from whatever
That afflicts him, allow him more years
To live amid the little happenings
In our lives, eat his small foods,
Soak up earth, beach, and sky
Of Sta. Magdalena,
Where his primal breath and roots sprang;
And perhaps this time the journey
To Cambodia whose history and politics
Will charm his curious mind.
04 July 20014/3:47 pm –
14 August 2014
Now that I’m back to my place of diaspora, my work, my familiar points of transience in Cambodia, I’m slowly regaining my foothold after the harrowing and painful time that was the month past- the gray cruel agony of July. My father, in less than a month, succumbed to cancer at the hospital. He left on a Saturday, the day we were supposed to bring him home as promised.
Going home was my father’s oft-repeated cry even when his mind was already fading. Because home is where he could breathe in the familiar air of tranquility and comfort whether in his old bed or his usual corner. However, since he didn’t make his arrival, we made it a point that he would still come home before going to his final place of rest. He stopped by in front of our house as few neighbors stood still and quietly looked at the white car that carried him. And with a touch of irony and beauty at once, the song “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong was loudly played in the car. It was so fitting and uplifting that even our dog didn’t make any ruckus over this blast of farewell and the odd convoy of vehicles along the street. He, too, had his moment of paying his final respects to father.
And as I hang on to snatches of the song time and time again- “I see skies of blue and clouds of white/The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.” – I go off to my everyday road of cares and forbearance, and forever express deep gratitude to all relatives and friends who prayed and mourned with us. Maraming salamat!
Repost from my Facebook account
11 August 2014