01 November 2011

...and the deathly hollow(ed)

It's quiet here in my part of the world -- deathly quiet.

The Philippines is "celebrating" undas season right now, or A
ll Saints Day today and All Souls Day tomorrow. Today is an official holiday and tomorrow is an unofficial one for those who can get away with it. Officially, it was also holiday yesterday since Halloween was sandwiched in between holidays and the weekend. Hence, it was a long weekend for most people here. So most of the people are either out of town on a vacation or went to visit their dead relatives in the cemeteries. Hence, the quietness of the area.

It has been an interesting long weekend so far for me. Coming from deathly sad thoughts, I think it was a good transition time for me to ruminate things over and stuff like that. I like the quiet that this weekend has offered so far. I wish to extend it until tomorrow.

But first, I want to get the deathly sad thought out of the way.

I was reading this column by feminist writer Rina Jimenez David abo
ut the concept of "e-lamay" where overseas Pinoy workers can participate in real-time during the wake of their dearly departed here. Yes, this is a legitimate service offered by funeral homes here now. Strange, no? Anyway, that column made me realize that it's not such a bad idea after all, this online wake biz, since I participated in one myself lately.

While I introduced the better concept of Skype-ing to m
y relatives in Canada the past week (the usual phone line conferencing already sucks), we somehow took it to the next level as my sister, using my cousin's iphone, called me up online so that I could see how they are during my grandfather's wake. My lolo died about 10 days ago or so, and it really made us so sad. What's even sadder is the fact that I was contemplating on how I wanted to go there to visit him, alive, for the last time, but my luck ran out, I guess. Hence the virtual participation.

There was even an online registry/announcement of sorts
which you can find in the funeral service's website here.
I wonder how long they're going to have it there?

My tita in front of my lolo's open casket.

It was also good for us to call each other in person, Skype-ing that way during the time we were waiting for the service. North America does death differently, as we found out, so instead of hanging out with the dearly departed in the funeral home, my relatives hung out at my tita's home. That was when we started Skype-ing, and I'm glad I got to see them and hear them again, after so long.

New nephews with my Ontario-based cousin and
my sister who flew in from California, just in time,
and was the one who broke the news to me.

Now I can't wait to hang out with them. I hope I could do that real soon.

Sharing hearty laughter with relatives that matter are priceless.
I have long forgotten that. Thanks to this event,
I am reminded of things that should matter more.

Yeah, we Filipinos do death differently. Like today. I was telling a foreign friend how this holiday is seen as a celebration, a time to also have the family get-together in a reunion of sorts, in a cemetery, with their departed loved ones. So it's not a quiet, solemn type of gathering. When Pinoys gather, it's always loud. Fun loud. And I was glad we sort of had that fun loud type of session online, even before undas. I think we all needed that.

It also goes to show that life, indeed, is so short, that we should not dillydally and therefore we should make things happen the way we want them to ha
ppen. If we don't have the resources, then we take the next best thing, whatever they may be.

And this realization made me realize another thing: that if old connections falter, then by all means make new ones, or re-polish existing ones you sometimes neglect to make them shine more in your life.

Two good friends somehow admonished me in that manner because I didn't tell them about my grieving, or even my lolo's death, when we saw each other. I guess it also has something to do with coping and how I wanted to cope wi
th grief. Yeah, I kinda wanted to go it alone for a while since this death has such a profound meaning for me. Sometimes, those whom I think would grieve with me won't or didn't, and those whom I surprisingly thought didn't give a damn actually did care, and still do. So again, tipping of balances in terms of premiums here. Only death makes you realize who your real friends are, and who are the ones who are there only for convenience -- mostly for them. And yet again, that painful realization that we should let go of people we care for if, in essence, they really don't care in return. Life is too short to be surrounded by negativity.

Anyway, I've resolved to come out of my shell as well, to just hang out with happy people who are happy to be with me, as I found out, surprisingly. A simple film showing session last Saturday proved that, as two gay friends sincerely showed their support and told me that they missed my company. Two other colleagues expressed the same thought online. And I can't wait to hang out again with this queer(ed) bunch of people. Yes, hopefully ending the night again with rounds of videoke sessions over beer and crispy pata.

I also want to intersect them with some new queer people I have been meeting here and there as well, as part of my shedding that shell involves meeting new people outside of my usual circles (a very Taurean trait to be fiercely loyal to a few, even if their loyalty to me falters). Never mind the rumormongers and the insecure people who are intimidated to be with me. There are seven billion people in the world, as the news now says. If they are that insecure, then they might not be interesting people to begin with, so why bother? So let's hang out with the other six million people of the world. Que sera sera. Yes, the world is an apple, and we should always bite.

The world is a stage. Partake. Please remind me if I forget.
(Oct 2011 at the CCP showing of Stomp)

And, despite the revamp of my socials, maybe it's high time to have alone time again, somewhere where the sun, the sand and the sea intersect. Either that, or somewhere that snows. We'll see.

So it was just a fine time to get the two new decorative additions to my being. One is that picture I posted ahead of this. I guess this is the start of more hopeful beginnings for me. The second semester of school will start in a week, new projects will be realized soon, looking forward to meet new people around Manila, and the year will have to wrap up itself in a positive way.

So be it.

Life's always full when you fill all hollows with memories that matter.

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