01 September 2013

reassigning coping

Ayoko munang mag-Facebook lately for a million reasons as usual but I think the foremost is this one: nalulungkot akong nakikita ang pighati ng ibang tao kasi namatayan sila. Kami pala. Kakamatay lang ng isa kong tita, malayong tita kasi ang lola ko sa fatherside, tiya niya. So pang-ilang tita ko na siya? Di ko alam paano magbilang ng ganun pero basta 'yun, tita ko siya.

Siguro nandoon ang tita kong kapatid ng tatay ko, pati tatay ko yata at nanay ko pupunta siguro doon, sa wake o libing I'm not sure. Parang ayokong pumunta saka di na naman ako inoobliga pati ng parents ko na sumama sa kanila sa ganyan. Basta andun sila, represented na.

Pero siyempre iba pa rin siguro na nandun dapat ako. Ito kasing tita kong ito, si Tita Sioning, madalas dati sa bahay ni lola dumadaan nung bata ako. At saka nung nag-college na ko, lo and behold namang matagpuan ko siyang nagtatrabaho pala siya doon mismo sa Motion Picture Department ng Philippine Information Agency or PIA for you folks na too young to remember that once upon a time, the then UP Film Department had a working relationship with PIA at libre o may huge discount kami sa pagpapa-process ng mga pelikula namin doon na gawa sa school, mga 16mm mostly, tapos we can use their editing suites and flatbeds doon to edit our works, siyempre yung film lab nila will process the negatives and positives etc. Yes, PIA, the same agency where Hollywood director Oliver Stone also had his footage of Platoon processed and stuff, nung nandito sila noon to shoot that Vietnam-set film with an unknown bit player then named Johnny Depp kasama sa cast. Doon din yata niya pina-lab yung Born on the Fourth of July nung nag-shoot sila dito sa Vigan noon nina Tom Cruise. Anyway yeah, PIA was a big deal then. Too bad celluloid film died na. I miss it. 

And that's where my Tita Sioning worked. Nagkagulatan pa kami noon. Showbiz talaga yata ang pupuntahan ko kasi di ko knows na marami akong relatives na nasa periphery ng industriyang ito. But to her, Tita Sioning just considers herself a happy government employee, ganun. Yung mga moments na nawawala ako dun sa loob ng lab o kaya nalilito na kaming film groupmates sa billing ng cashier, Tita Sioning has this beaming big smile when I come up to her sometimes for help. And that eases me somehow, kasi actually, Tita Sioning hugely reminds me of my lola, my lola na parang second nanay ko na dahil sa kanya nga ako lumaki. My lola na, mula noong namatay siya sa Canada some 10 years ago na mahigit yata, hindi ko pa nadadalaw ang puntod niya, hanggang ngayon. Kaya parang ayokong makita ang anumang condolence stuff nila kay Tita Sioning, kasi naaalala ko rin si lola ko doon. At naiiyak ako dahil diyan. 

Film school days, when film really meant shooting using film, and digital was just for clocks. 
Happy memories na lang ang panghawakan na peg. Hindi pa ko tomboy diyan 
pero mahilig na ko sa flannel polos kamusta naman. And so therefore!
[Teresa, Rizal 1995 during my undergrad thesis film shoot]


Saka I guess I have this thing about mortality and growing old. Well, dati pa naman. As much as lolo and lola figures are endearing to me and/or find me endearing, may something sa back of my mind about losing that body and figure you have, succumbing not only to gravity but to mortality as well. Yes, I guess takot ako na hindi immortal ang mga tao. Something like that.

Noong huli kasi kaming nagkita nina Tita Sioning, two years ago yata 'yun, kasi a relative from the father side was here sa bansa, Fil-Am galing US. I can't believe how she has deteriorated in body and health. But she still has that wonderful beaming smile kahit na nag-deteriorate na ang body and face niya, pati 'yung happy spark sa mata niya tuwing ngingiti, andun pa rin. And it really reminds me of my lola. Malaki talaga ang hawig nila. Tapos medyo na-freak out ako nun when she looked at me earnestly then, nung nag-beso at hug ako sa kanya sa resto kung saan kami nagpunta, tapos nakangiti pa rin siya sa akin and she said "Matanda na ako, 'no neneng?" or something like that. I forgot what term of endearment she used to call me, pero parang ganun, something like little girl or something, like how my Ilocano lolo would use ading for us kids. Batanggenya sina lola so walang term pero parang ganun.

Matanda na ako. Ewan ko. That really struck me. At medyo nalungkot ako doon, na makita ang mga tao ng kabataan ko to succumb to stuff like that. Like how lolo's matipuno stance became hunched when he succumbed to his diabetic complications couple of years back. Yeah even him, di ko pa rin nadadalaw doon sa Canada since he passed away. That will be one trip for two closures.

Well, inevitable naman ang tumanda, I know. It's just that I don't want to be reminded of it lang siguro. Like whenever my mom would drag me to bank errands lately dahil pinapapalitan na nila ng tatay ko ang mga bank kyeme kyeme to reflect my name na and my sister's and stuff. Lagi ko nga jino-joke nanay ko, tuwing hihirit siya ng "Para pag sakaling may nangyari sa amin--" tapos hihiritan ko ng joke na "Ma, ang morbid naman waaah!" tapos babatukan niya ako at tatawa kami, then back to business na naman sa transaksiyon, na ako naman eh okay fine just show me where to sign lang ang peg. Pero still, ayoko pa ring isipin. Basta, may ganun.

Kaya parang nire-realign ko na lang kung anuman ang kelangan kong maramdaman ngayon sa pagkamatay ni Tita Sioning ko. Ayoko ngang pumunta na sa wake, at 'wag na nga lang daw sabi ni mommy. So I'm just trying to drown myself with work na lang muna this weekend to get my mind off that na rin, and I'll offer a prayer for her na lang maybe sometime this week or maybe next week if I attend the next service sa MCC. Anniv month pala nila this month kaya aatak ako dun sometime to listen to my lezpastora friend and stuff. 

Kaya maybe sometimes it's best to just reassign your grief into something else, something more productive. I know that's easier said than done pero it's best din that I have looming deadlines that make me haul my ass out in bed and stop thinking about these things and just do the work para mabayaran na. Was so tempted nga to call the friend who texted kung ano daw rampage ko last night, if meron, at mukhang makiki-rampage ang mga lola. Kung wala lang akong deadlines, siguro, rampage kami somewhere, chika-chika like the last time we saw each other nung nagpa-typhoon relief drive kyeme siya sa aming mga biyaning. Anyway maybe soon, another gathering of the sort would happen. Actually bukas nga pala meron, para dito sa aking nybff who's in town at ang good ol' peyups sappho gang ay magkikitakits ulit somewhere in kyusi. Yeah, that would take my mind off things, methinks. So there.

But anyway, I'll stay put for now, but I'm not forgetting it. Happy trails to the heavens, Tita Sioning, at i-hug mo na lang ako ng bonggang-bongga kina lola at lolo sa kitakits niyo. Salamat po.

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