I was woken up by something I’ve never heard before. Chanting or singing – I couldn’t quite decide which. Was I dreaming? I focused my gaze up and could just make out the timber ceiling beams in the grey morning light. Nope, I could still hear it. Spellbound and intrigued, I jumped out of bed and rushed downstairs to capture the moment. What you are listening to now is the audio-minus-video of the morning prayer of (mostly) elderly women chanting-singing before the body of my late grandfather.
At the moment I’m writing this sentence, I have exactly 3.5 hours before I’ll find myself up in the sky, buckled up and bound for Kuala Lumpur.
I’m going back to our rural home in the Philippines because my grandfather, who I mentioned in my previous post, just passed away. Despite having attended a funeral in my early childhood years, I cannot remember a single fragment of it. This will be my first ever memory of attending a funeral in full awareness of a mind obsessed with remembering.
In the past few weeks, I’ve learned the importance and fragility of family bonds and relationships. I’ve witnessed how people can change and draw themselves closer when someone in their family is gravely ill or, in my case, is welcoming death. I’ve witnessed also how people can be stubborn and resist the opportunity for change, forgiveness and reconciliation.
I’ve been going back and forth between my home in the city and my grandfather’s home in the rural town. This will be my fourth time going back. Other than seeing my grandfather one last time, I don’t know what else is in store for me. My extended vacation has been full of unexpected circumstances and surprises, not always pleasant.
May God bless him and grant his soul eternal peace.