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deserving goodbyes


Last night while watching the news, my heart bled for a mother who lost her little boy, yet another addition to the number of senseless deaths in the present Zamboanga crisis.  They were made hostages, and later human shields, and had to hide in a dirty canal to protect themselves.  Unfortunately her son got hit by a stray bullet and died within hours.  This is one reason why I sometimes deliberately refrain from watching the news; sad news like these affect me and my supposed “down-time” after a long day’s work.  The news today presents too much violence, oppression, and too much unhealthy “pork” it’s enough to make the viewer gag.

At the start of her interview the mother seemed okay, a little bit too okay for someone who just lost a child, but as more questions were being asked and especially when she was asked what her message is for her son, she just broke down.  I can only imagine the pain of knowing that when she wakes up the next morning she will be missing her little boy, which just goes to all levels of worse as the day progresses – not hearing his laughter, not pacifying his cries, not preparing his meals, or just simply not seeing him around.

It’s been five years that way for me.  Losing my Mama after three weeks of hospital confinement, others would think I should have been more ready than those who lose their loved ones to tragic, senseless, unexpected (as though there were “expected”) deaths.  But no, not really.  Despite her old age and prolonged sickness I was not ready then to let go, there were still so many plans and dreams I wished to share with her.

There will always be that word left unsaid, that deed left undone.

Five years later, I still long for her company.  I still clearly see our late afternoon chats in her room, with the sun peeking, about to set in the horizon, as we talked about my day at work, about the kids, about travel, and books and dreams yet to be fulfilled.  At times of loss, confusion and weakness, I still talk to her in my mind and heart, sometimes apologetic, other times in resignation.

Are we ever deserving of goodbyes?  Is it any easier to know you have limited time with loved ones to be able to express how you really feel, what you really want to say had you known you will soon lose them?  Will it compensate for the longing you will feel afterwards once they are gone?  I think goodbyes may be too overrated.  There are probably instances when we should no longer expect goodbyes but just leave things be, one way or another those left behind are meant to cope, to move on, to find their own closure in their own terms.

I miss you, Ma, every single day.


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