stories at the funeral
First things first: We buried our grandfather on Saturday in his hometown in Pototan, Iloilo under clear blue skies and a hot, hot sun. I flew in with auntie on Friday night, was fetched by Dad and uncles at the Iloilo airport, and was introduced by Dad to a handful of Fil-Am relatives whom I haven’t seen in close to fifteen years as “my son.” Which made me really snicker. It’s probably an inside joke he and auntie share, but whatever.
Slept at my grandfather’s house during the last night of the wake, in the same living room where his flag-covered coffin lay, as that was where sleep eventually found us. Woke again around 3 in the morning to a chorus of howling dogs. Yep. Moved to my grandmother’s at the first hint of daylight, slept a little more until 7, which was when I started getting ready for the funeral.
Attended a Mass said purely in Ilonggo, and tried to piece together what I could manage. (Very little, but enough, I guess.)
Finished around noon and hitched a ride with one of the uncles to the cemetery, where we said our final prayers, watched a group of Army men take the flag off his coffin in a serious, quiet ceremony. After which, the gun salute (100 year-old war veteran ftw). Then, the bugle corps. Then off we went to the final destination.
Back in my grandfather’s house after the burial, everyone was waiting. It was like Divisoria on a Sunday. Managed to squeeze in conversations with aunts and uncles and cousins I haven’t seen in a while.
By nightfall we were back in the airport, waiting for a plane.
On a related note: I think I have questions I’m not ready to hear the answers to, and I also think I should hurry getting ready because man, I’m getting old. I see it in everybody’s faces.
Also: Friday night, sitting at the dining room table drinking coffee, an elderly aunt (age: 74) asked me if I already had a boyfriend. Auntie and I exchanged conspiratorial looks.
Me: Wala po, trabaho muna hanggang yumaman.
When the elderly aunt walked away, Auntie and I shared a high-five. Yep, my responses are definitely age-appropriate.
Also: Saturday morning, while brushing our teeth, Auntie and I talked about one of my other cousins whose Facebook profile picture suggested that she was probably Like Me.
Auntie: That one took rather long in school; lagi raw nababasted, and she always took her heartbreak badly. Since high school!
Me: See, aren’t you glad I didn’t start in high school.
Auntie: But I think I knew about you even when you were still in high school.
Me: I didn’t know about me during high school. You should have told me. (pause) Sayang naman yung buong basketball team.
Auntie: Buti na lang di mo alam.