My Lola died in the afternoon two Sundays ago. Mama said my grandmother drew her final breath at three; all her daughters but one were with her.
I learned about the sad news from my sister who sent me a text message, “Yan, wala na si Lola.” I thought there was no better way to report the passing of someone dear to us but using that tired sentence I’ve heard so many times used by people reporting about deaths of loved ones or by characters in Tagalog B movies.
Whereas some people rattle on the impact of social media on death and how young people of this generation express it in ways unimaginable years ago and novel when viewed on the surface (these expressions in fact only mere variants of expressions that find new signification in the hands of people who know how to manipulate pieces of technology that were perhaps not even anticipated by their inventors), nothing much has changed in how we approach the passing of people close to us.
The following morning after work, I did my laundry at a nearby laundry shop and took some that needed more delicate attention to the old lady in front of the building where I live, so she could hand wash them. While death requires us to come together and share the feeling of grief, the commonplace and the everyday always see to it that their presence is continually felt.
So grief has to be set aside after a tear or two, and then one has to go back to things that are more important.
Now, after an hour and 45 minutes of flight from Manila to Davao and another four hours by bus to Gensan, I will be finally sharing this grief with my family, with my mother especially because later at 1 in the afternoon she is finally saying good bye to her mother.
And on Sunday afternoon, I will say good bye to Mama once again because my own version of the domestic and the commonplace persistently prods me to.