Archive for the ‘Family’ Category


For A While

May 27, 2008

If I leave you, it doesn’t mean I love you any less. – “Keep Me In Your Heart” by Warren Zevon (2003).

A good friend lent me his bootleg DVD copy of Boston Legal a couple of months ago. We have drifted apart, though, and I dread finishing off the series. James Spader, who reminds me of Robert Downey Jr.’s tousled-is-hot look, has become a habit.

More than the plots, I love the soundtrack, particularly this one song, Keep Me In Your Heart, played in the episode where Michael J. Fox appeared as a cancer patient. And I am borrowing it for the next days.

It seems this is a season for goodbyes. I wonder who or what else I should bid farewell to. But since my goodbyes have always been unrefined, I will not even attempt to try. I hope, though, that I will find a way to convey my deep gratitude for the chances I did not deserve, my regret for all my indiscretions and my fervent prayer that, as the late Mr. Zevon sung, you shall keep me in your heart for a while, as I shall keep you in mine.


First Borns

May 6, 2008

I remember writing about the difficult road that first-borns have to face all their lives. The ruthless scrutiny that we must brave often forces us to live a lonely life of either forever pleasing the world or of withdrawing from it.

At an age when I should be past bearing my own first-born, I have lost one of the members of the pioneer batch of the UNP College of Law. I have always considered them my very own first-borns – although many of them are older than I am. Manong Isidro Paredes – headed the region’s NBI, led his class and the student government as its president. Beyond these, he was a devoted family man and husband to Ma’am Brenda. Along with my father, he has set the bar high when it comes to finding that one man we could spend the rest of our lives with. Read the rest of this entry ?


Missing Lolong

August 15, 2007

I lost my paternal grandfather the other day.

I was able to visit him on my way back from Makati. I wanted to cry when I saw him at Lorma Hospital in San Fernando. He was so thin and appeared so weak. I refuse to remember Lolong that way. To me, he will always be the tall, dark, handsome man who raised eight children through his labors as fisherman and as farmer.

I miss you so much, Lolong. Both grief and guilt are keeping me company tonight. I am sorry I have not been around you as much as I would have wanted to. Papang told me that you were always looking for your Marilen whenever he visited you. I will not offer any excuse Lolong, for none would really be compelling enough.

It is ironic how we wander far to pursue dreams in the false assumption that our small triumphs matter to the people we love. All too often, it is too late when we realize that no success will ever give back moments that should’ve been spent with them. No degree or title will ever bring back the chance to kiss our grandparents’ hands or to tell them how much we love them.

Perhaps I have to blame you, and Papang, and my uncles, brothers and cousins for my restless heart. You have set the bar high for that one man. No regrets. I will not settle for anyone not in your league.

Rest now and goodnight, Lolong. Not goodbye. There are no goodbyes for the people we love.


King and Kipling

January 6, 2007

On my maternal side, King is our very first cousin. His nickname is a giveaway. He was born January 6 – formerly the Feast of the Three Kings before the Church moved it to coincide with the very first Sunday of January. We may have been born under different signs but there is some truth about that peculiar temperament of eldest children. Driven and determined. Forever wary of failing to live up to our perception of what our families expect from us.

Of late, he has been under so much pressure. I have long wanted whoever will be the father of my son to give this poem to him when he grows up – a former boss had it framed as gift to his son and I think it should be given by every father to his son (and yes, daughter too). In the meantime, ading ko, this is your poem. You are growing up to be fine young man. These are Rudyard Kipling’s words but it perfectly articulates what I always fail to tell you for fear that you will just laugh at me and dismiss me as an overaged drama queen. Happy birthday and I will always be proud of you.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!


Remembering Ambet

January 3, 2007

“Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.” [Elisabeth Kubler-Ross]

Perhaps it was my mother’s birthday yesterday that reminded me of you. We always called you Ambet, not lola. [Which reminds me, I know I have asked this question as a child but my memory now fail me as I try to recall the reason why we always called you that.] You were an imposing figure in the community. When I was younger, I used to hear stories from most grown-ups that at least once in their childhood, they feared you. Their parents would invoke you as if you were the devil incarnate. [Funny, I think my students think exactly that way of me now.] Read the rest of this entry ?


My Uncle’s Niece

August 15, 2006

I got my knee skinned yesterday, adding more ugliness to an already unattractive pair of legs.

Having grown up collectively raised by my mother’s family, her brothers (Uncles Erwin and Eric) had unwittingly played a major role in molding my preferences in so many things. I owe my love of music and whatever discipline I may have in my studies to Uncle Erwin. And the passion for basketball. He played pointguard and if anyone remembers how Bernard Fabiosa used to handle ball, Uncle was even better. Read the rest of this entry ?