“What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?” (post-)#AskWednesday

Until I read Debbie The Doglady’s post, I could have forgotten this. I had planned on posting this sometime ago but never had the right time or chance to do so. I did think of sharing it for Valentine’s, but I also felt it would have been kind of a sad reminder for some who are still grieving for our parents, so I didn’t.

I was doing some legit research one day, I don’t remember what about, but as most researches went, I stumbled on something else. I found this question posted on Quora:

“What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?”

My parents on New Year's Eve 2011

My parents on New Year’s Eve 2011

I could have answered, but I wasn’t planning on joining Quora. Also, I didn’t think I had any answer to that. I still don’t.

My father had a mild stroke when I was 20 and since then, he was unable to go to work, work being a teacher in elementary Math, Physical Education, and Gardening & Shop (I have no idea what those subjects were called then exactly and I think they have new names now). So maybe, whatever secrets he could have hidden, if there were any at all, my mother had long ago gotten rid of them. I know of one I found when I was young, but that doesn’t count because he was still so alive back then. So when he died in May 2012, I didn’t find any strange thing that belonged to him.

Meanwhile, my mother, who was a Geometry and Trigonometry teacher, had nothing physical to hide either, not to my knowledge, nothing strange that I found, at least. There were several secrets about her personal experiences that I found out after she died in July 2012, some things she did not tell me because she knew I would get mad that she let people do that to her, but they were nothing near strange.

I think the reason that I still haven’t found anything “strange”, surprising or shocking is because I have lived in our family’s house all my life (well, except when I was/am gone the whole week working). Non-Filipinos may go, “What???” and think “Adult and still living in her parent’s house?” Let me tell you now that Filipinos are family-oriented and living with one’s parents doesn’t necessarily make him/her dependent and useless. It is common in our culture, especially the extended family culture…

My parents were teachers and most things that I find that belonged to them are clothes, personal effects that I mostly knew anyway, various school-related stuff like books for lesson plans, IDs, lovely notes from students (especially for my mother, whose hoarding tendencies I happen to have inherited). I’m just thinking maybe I’m better off not knowing anything in case it happens to be something I’ll regret finding out.

Now that I have answered the question, I am sharing to you some of the worthy answers I found on Quora. I’d rather share the nice ones because I’d rather that we remember our parents fondly. Click on them to get to the actual pages if you want to.

quora1Click on the image so you get to be redirected to the link he gave and see what he’s talking about.

quora3This is something that I would have liked to have found. I wish I could learn more about my parents, their experiences, their thoughts, their worries, their dreams…This only emphasizes how important it is to not wait and get to know your parents more while they’re still alive, because time will come that they won’t be able to tell you anything anymore. Except for their lesson plans, my parents did not seem to have inclinations towards creative writing, which is most probably why there are no journals for me to visit in the first place.

quora4Again, one of the things I regret is emphasized here. I regret to not having video-recorded my parents (I tried, but my low-tech phone wasn’t much help,…I could have found a way and borrowed, but didn’t. Sadly.). I did not even record their voices! Now all my sister and I have of them are like the Jim Croce song: ‘Photographs and Memories’. It would have been better to see and hear them alive and talking and laughing once in a while when we’re missing them…

quora5Finding such bills would have been awesome, I gotta admit 🙂 Anyway, my father had quite a sense of humor, too, which I would not have known had he not gotten sick. It seemed he went back to his former and younger self and in the next years of his life, I got to know more of how he was as a younger man. I’m sure he was like that to his friends before the mild stroke, but at home, he was stricter. So the “change” was somehow drastic.

quora2Alright, I couldn’t help it. This one’s kind of sad in the end. Still, the mother thought of buying gifts for her children…

quora6

Make sure you click on this to see the whole of it…This reminds me of my parents, especially my mother whom her students adored. I found similar letters and cards given to her, but I really was not surprised. I had known since I was little that she was getting such expressions of appreciation from her beloved students.

 

 *************************************************

I hope you liked what I shared.  How about you, “What was the strangest thing you found cleaning out your parents’ house after they died?” Again, the comments section is for your perusal 🙂

**NOTE: I thought I’d add this since I mentioned the song. It has always made me sad even before losing my parents, but now it means so much more to me. I actually just teared up having listened to it. It’s a lover’s love song, but it can very well be a song for a loved one who has gone on before you.

For that one more conversation…

“Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation,

one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever?

If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days,

and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.”

(Mitch Albom, For One More Day)

Last night, I dreamt of my parents. It was short but sweet.

After talking to my sister who was handwashing clothes outside, I was heading towards our house and there they were, my mother and my father standing at the terrace, waving at me, smiling happily. They told me to never worry about them because they are already happy where they are. I don’t know why I didn’t run to them. Instead, I ran back to my sister and excitedly told her what happened, asking, “Did you see? Did you see them?!!” She was smiling for she saw them as well, then she pointed at another direction. They told her something that I don’t remember now. I actually don’t remember anything from the dream anymore after that. But I am happy. I remember feeling happy, and I woke up happy.

It’s been a while since I saw them together in my dreams again. The first times, I was reprimanding my father for touching the cake on the table after my mother told him not to (I wanted him to stop so she wouldn’t get mad, but he didn’t so she did get mad). The next times, I saw them separately, but sometimes, I felt like just a viewer watching TV.  Most times, they didn’t say anything or smile, which always bothered me in my waking hours. Twice, I dreamt of my mother and what did I do? I reprimanded her, then woke up guilty, and worse, sorry for not spending those precious times well with her instead. I was particularly bothered by this.

Mitch Albom said it exactly. We can’t turn back the time, we can’t go back to those days when our dearly departed were still with us. “Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever?” That is exactly what I feel. That is why I was very glad for that dream last night, especially since it’s my mother’s birthday this Saturday. Most especially, because they smiled, at last.

I know that you already know the wise advice that while the people special to us are still here, we should be able to show them how much they mean to us. My advice is to not forget it and to stick to it. Life is really short. Let us not go through our lives wishing for days that are forever lost…

I Will Remember You

Today, September 10, is my father’s birthday. If he were still here, he would be 73. I would probably be home and he, my mother and I would be eating something special together at the dinner table. If not tonight, I would make sure to be home this weekend to spend the special day with the family.

He would have complete rein over the TV…Well, maybe not complete; it would not be realistic if we didn’t fight over it a bit . Maybe we’d playfully spar a little, too (I was his “alternative son”, anyway), or I’d kiss him so hard on the cheek that would make him cry out, or I’d tickle his belly that would send him laughing hysterically and my mother would shout at me to stop it. Of course, my sister and her family would most definitely be calling from Surigao to greet him, and he would be so happy hearing from his grandchild whom he didn’t remember most of the time but she was always in his heart.

I would be gifting him with a jacket or a baseball cap or even food that would be just specially for him. Since he became home-bound, it was not easy to think of other kinds of gifts for someone like him anymore. But you know what? He was always glad to receive and he would wear the clothes or cap as proudly as he wore jackets and caps back when he was still Sir Federizo, the P.E. teacher who taught most of the barrio kids how to play excellent volleyball and brought them to athletic meets — the glory days that seemed just years ago to him. If it’s food, he would be teasing my mother, taunting her because I gave it to him and she had none, then he would laugh his happy laugh like he pulled a funny trick on you.

If his birthday happened to be on a Saturday, for sure, we would be watching Maalaala Mo Kaya. My mother and I would wait till end credits. The theme song would start and there would be a sudden sparkle in his eyes like he remembered a lovely memory, but before he could say something, I’d blurt out without pause, “Dade, you sang that song in a choir when you were fourteen, right, because your teacher made you all sing, but you didn’t really sing and just moved your mouth and your group won second place anyway!” He would give an amused or astonished look wondering how in the world I knew, then laugh scratching his head after my telling him how. Every time we watched it in many years, he would always proudly tell the story like it was the first time.

Well I miss that. And that was why even though some probably thought it corny, it was one of the songs I requested that be played as we laid him to rest on May 27, 2012. Of course, I cried. And for a long time I refrained from watching the show. if only to avoid the song. But I miss his face, his voice, his laughter, his stories. So today, I would like to send this special gift to him, one that I know he will hear.

I love you, Dade, and I miss you, and yes, palagi kitang maaalala, narito ka sa puso ko (I will always remember you, you are here in my heart).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DADE KONG MAKULIT

The song above was sung by Dulce and is the most-played (I think) and best (my opinion) version. Lyrics below. First in Filipino, then my English translation, although I’d rather call it interpretation because I did my own take on it a bit:

 

MAALAALA MO KAYA

Written and Composed by Constancio de Guzman

Maalaala mo kaya ang sumpa mo sa akin
Na ang pag-ibig mo ay sadyang di magmamaliw?
Kung nais mong matanto, buksan ang aking puso
At tanging larawan mo ang doo’y nakatago

“Di ka kaya magbago sa iyong pagmamahal?”
Hinding-hindi giliw ko hanggang sa libingan

O kay sarap mabuhay, lalo na’t may lambingan
Ligaya sa puso ko ay di na mapaparam

 

WOULD YOU STILL REMEMBER

Would you still remember a promise made
That your love for me would never ever fade?
Look inside my heart, should you wish to see
And you shall find only an image of you in me

“Could you possibly have a change of heart?”
No, never, my darling, till death do us part

Oh, what wonderful life, to share love so tender
My happy heart will stay with you forever

 

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: The translation above should not, in any way, be taken as an official translation. It is only a translation I made so that people will understand. However, doesn’t mean you can just copy off and not give credit or link here….Thanks for understanding.