Monday, October 31, 2011

Requiem aeternam

It is All Hallows' Eve, and as is custom here, the last day of that month heralds the month of November, and with it, the commemoration of the dead. In olden times, many Filipinos would keep vigil by the tombs of their faithful departed from sunset of All Saints' Day until first light of All Souls' Day, passing the night in solitude and prayer, with nothing but the faint flicker of candlelight to provide warmth.

November is also the month when my paternal grandmother died, at the age of 81, in 2004. She died from a complication in her thyroid gland in addition to other heart ailments, only discovered after her death. I still can't believe that Saturday, the 19th of November, would already mark the seventh year of her passing. Still, I remember one story told to me by my aunt a few days after my grandmother died. In the Philippines, the mourning of loved ones is still an elaborate affair, with its own protocol, superstitions, and traditions. When a loved one dies, it is customary to offer a pasiyam, or nine days of continuous prayers for the soul of the departed. Generally, the Fortieth Day of the beloved's death also marks another series of intense prayers. It is believed that 40 days represents the soul's wandering in Purgatory, and that it was incumbent upon the deceased's relatives to pray for his release from temporal punishment. I'm told that for us Tagalogs, though, the Thirtieth Day of death is also commemorated, especially for females.

In older times, black, silk bands used to be tied at the arms of males to signify mourning, while females went on an extended period of wearing only sable. Nowadays, however, a simple black plaque pinned to the shirt is sufficient in conveying collective grief.

It happened that my then four year old cousin was sitting on my grandmother's bed, looking at some old photos of her in some photo albums that my grandpa had dug up. Having been married for some fifty six years, it was not easy for him at all to accept her passing so quickly; he sank into depression, and my aunt took it upon herself to let Francis sleep in his bed to take his mind away from her. It was a Sunday afternoon, I remember, and grandpa had fallen asleep, leaving Francis to look at the albums on his own.

My aunt was passing by the room to check on my grandpa, when suddenly she said she heard a voice; it was Francis, speaking with his grandfather about something. She shrugged it off, thinking the boy must have been his usual curious self. Still, grandpa needed his rest-- he had gone a full two days without sleep, and badly needed some shuteye. She opened the door and entered, and found Francis staring out the window.

"Francis, come with me for awhile. Lolo needs to rest, he hasn't slept in two days. Go play with your friends out there."

"But mama, I'm not bothering Lolo! He has been asleep for almost one hour now."

"Don't lie to me! If he has been sleeping all this time, then who were you talking to?"

"I don't know! I think our neighbor? But I never saw her before. She looked very happy and smiled at me a lot! She says I've grown up a lot and that I should be a good boy and do well in my studies. She was very sweet and she was dressed in a very long blue skirt."

"Ahh, that's probably Aling Maria. But isn't she still in Lipa? Did this lady introduce herself to you?"

"No, but she looked a lot like Lola! They were about the same height, too, and the same voice!"

My aunt stood there for awhile, not sure what to think. She hesitated for awhile, before speaking again, after some silence. "Siya, go get your rosary. It's almost dark and we haven't even prayed yet. Leave Lolo alone, then come back later when it's time for dinner."

Francis did as he was told, and left the room, but before that he turned one last time to the window, and waved happily at thin air. "Bye bye! It was really nice talking to you!"

Mother and son left my grandfather to sleep in his room; it was almost dark now, and dinner had yet to be cooked. They exited quietly from the master suite, passing by my grandparents' shared study-- my grandmother's, to one corner, stacked neatly with books and theses and newspaper clippings, while my grandfather's key chain collection caught the last few glints of the fading sun. They walked back into the living room, and passed by the piano, where all the photos of our clan had somehow been miraculously gathered. And she paused for a moment, and there in the back, spied an old photo of my grandmother, dressed in a long, blue skirt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Beast is a place and the social decay which emerges. The Anti-Christ is the bullshit.
The Anti-Christ is the positioning, whether enforcing the historical perception of the Holocaust, refusing to acknolowdge the existance/capability of Artificial Intelligence or the clone host fakes who infest society's upper eschelons, those who the gods use to enforce the BigLie which compells people to incurr evil through temptation.
Everyone "going along" is part of the problem. Ironically, this may be where you "earn" your place in the Apocalypse and your "consolation prize".
This is the REAL battle of good and evil. Take it or leave it.

Sex is a temptation that the gods used throughout history among the grossly disfavored but more inclusively in this day and age.
Relegated to the most disfavored in milenia past (Italian hedonism, etc) now their patriarchal positioning was used in the modern era to spread this midset throughout the Western world. Instead of experiencing decency as we did by marriage at 15 instead the men's disfavor has run roughshot, and their sexual impulses have defined the enviornment for everyone, including the females. To belong the females must sink to their level, ensuring a declining level of favor for everyone and a stagnant population, unable to progress forward.
We see this frequently in the black community. Without the controls experienced by slavery and the KKK the people get out of control due to their morbid disfavor, and the result is dead 3 year-old children in drive-by shootings and 10 year-old prostitutes. The same has occurred with the males in Western societies, for they have similar abject disfavor which, left unchecked, develops into socially destructive behavior.

Many tactics were used to achieve the decline we realized as we slipped away from sexual decency, but the effective result was deterioration down to the level of OUR blacks, the Italians, ironically. Free to blame them, minimizing culpability incurred, the gods are punishing the people, and we need to abate the desstructive behavior which has dragged us individually and collectively towards the edge of the abyss.
The decayed state of society is a result of the female's failures to maintain control over the men, and the resulting inevitable Apocalypse will be their fault.