Monday, September 14, 2009

Memento mori

I was silently admiring the orchids of your mom while you were off and about rummaging through her things. Some of them were in bloom, painting the simple garden with vivid shades of violet, magenta, and ochre. It's not easy to coax an orchid to bloom, much less have several of them sprout at the same time. I couldn't help but think, "What a beautiful and impressive sight!"


The journey back wasn't easy for you and your kuya, that I'm sure of. You had a lot of things running through your mind, so I just let you talk and listen to whatever ramblings that crossed your thoughts. A faint smile even crossed my lips when you showed me her i.d. It was amusing to be regaled with the vignettes of how you were growing up, and how it was related to your present relationship with your mom. I knew it wasn't an everyday thing that you did this, and I was privileged to see and enter another facet of you which I knew you weren't really keen on showing.


The sun had barely risen in the dawn sky when you came back to the car where I was waiting the whole time. There was not a cloud in sight, a herald of a good day in contrast to the gloomy weather that pervaded the past weeks or so.

"Wala na si Nanay," you said to me quietly as you approached me.

I blinked once, twice. I couldn't comprehend what you said immediately.


"Wala na si Nanay," you said once again, still softly.

All I could see was the far-away look in your eyes. There was a surge of emotion within me, and I felt I had to hug you right then and there.

We lit a cigarette at the edge of the hospital compound while I silently kept you company.

"Kumusta ka na?," I asked at one point.

"Okay naman. Mabilis, pero ganun talaga."

Then, you paused.

"Wala na akong masungit na ina."

At that point, I didn't know what my appropriate response should be: hit you on the nape, laugh out aloud, or shed a tear.

Instead, I muttered, "Gago ka talaga."

And you replied with a wan smile.


I never had a chance to tell you this when I was there: all I could think about while looking at your mother's orchid garden was you. It may be hard to make an orchid bloom, but the sight of even a single flower is well worth the rocky effort of tending it.

You are your mother's orchid garden.

And she's one proud gardener with how beautiful the orchid garden turned out to be.


  1. I'm pretty sure I commented on this post already but anyway...

    This was heartbreaking in its simplicity and the wistful way your friend said "Wala na si nanay. Wala na akong masungit na ina."

    It made me want to cry. And I hate crying.

    Condolences to your friend, and to everyone else who's had to endure such a loss.

  2. Rude: yeah you did. all the comments disappeared when i put the post into draft mode huhuhuhuhu

    but thanks for re-upping yours :D