“Natutulog lang sya”, said my Aunt.
“He is just sleeping”.
That was me asking my Aunt what is my cousin Arnold doing in that fancy bed with those lights and flowers and a lot of people gather around.
I was Adler’s age – a very curious 3 year old child, discovering the world and life in general.
Yesterday, Adler asked me the same question. He is my three year old son who is just as curious as I was when I was his age. Not to mention, he damn looks like a carbon copy of myself. So indeed a flood of memories came rushing.
I will tell you I did not learn about the D when I was 3. Yeah, I really thought my cousin, my Kuya Arnold, was just sleeping.
I learned about the dichotomy of life in the most excruciating way when my father’s life was taken in a homicide with robbery. The year was 2002. It was a crash course about life and loss.
Yesterday, I was faced with the same question I asked two decades and some years ago.
Tita Beck is a sister of my mother-in-law who helped us almost 4 years ago in La Salle University Medical Center when I gave birth to Adler on an emergency C-section. It was more than a help with the bill, it was help to get through giving life to another being and that was my son, Adler. I still am very grateful.
Adler always goes to her room and play inside her room even last week on the last family lunch with her. He even asked her, “Nahihirapan ka huminga?”, that was actually a day before she joined our Creator.
“Mama, ano ginagawa ni Lola Beck? Mama, san natin ihahatid si Lola Beck? Ihahatid ba natin sya sa hospital?”, Adler said with a gloomy face I have never seen in my son before.
“Mama, what is Lola Beck doing? Mama, where do we accompany Lola Beck? Are we going to bring her to the hospital?”
I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO SAY.
And the dreaded question came. With tidbits of cold perspiration running down my temple and face in a smudged black eyeliner and a hint of tears, I answered and a very low voice, “Natutulog lang si Lola Beck.”
“Lola Beck is just sleeping.”
I answered the way my Auntie answered my question when Kuya Arnold died.
“Mama, patay na sya e.”, my son said suddenly while on the car going to the church and hear a mass.
I was caught off guard. I was silent for a few minutes. We reached the church in Noveleta. He was silent. He kept his hands in a praying position. Until the mass has ended, Adler was silent too.
After we say our final goodbye to her Lola Beck, we drove back and had a chat with this little man. With his father’s help, we tried to answer his question.
Lola Beck is with Jesus and all the angels now. She is in her final resting place and she is happy and everyday we will pray for her.
I know deep in my heart that we are remembering her with some memories and sending a little prayer in a pensive mood through traffic looking at the blue skies, that for a while outside the church cried too with a little rain.
May you rest in peace, Tita Beck. Adler loves you and will miss you.