Thursday, September 06, 2007

Guilt a Skelon in my Closet

Now I finally had the courage to tell everyone about my guilt in losing my Lolo. When my parents got married, they were just trying to build their own little home and they don’t have much. So my parents lived with my grandparents (mother’s side) and decided to move out if they are able to have their own house coming from their own efforts. Since I was the first grandchild on my mother’s side, I was given all the love and attention (wala kase akong kaagaw). To be able to build that dream house, both my parents have to work hard and left me all day with my grandparents. You see, being with my grandparents most of the time makes me feel more attached to them. They were always there for me, every time. I love my grandparents so much.

After few years, I am more at home at my grandparents’ house than our own house. I look forward to every weekends because that’s the time that I got to sleep over and stay with them.

More years had passed and my grandmother died because of brain tumor, they my uncle Darwin (my mom’s older) followed by accident. My Lolo was so devastated with the lost because they both died only months apart. I saw how my Lolo tried to cope up with it. He emerged himself at work (he’s is by the way one of the most famous “mekanino” in our province, having OJT’s from respected universities and schools) and drinks a lot. He changed his attitude and somehow my once sweet Lolo lost part of his soul with them. He got easily irritated sometimes. There was this one instance that my little brother Michael and I were arguing about a certain thing and because we were too loud my Lolo got mad and shouted at us and tried to unfasten his belt. We were so afraid of him that time and that was the very first time I saw him like that. My brother and I were so frightened that we were able to leap the high sofa that was blocking our way. Then we ran as far as we can away from him. My Lolo even wanted to get married but my mom and her siblings don’t want him to. I guess he became so lonely and no one of us understood. He was so alone even when we are always there for him. I can often see him stare into nothingness while smoking (he doesn’t used to smoke before), maybe thinking of my Lola and how they shared their lives together. I wish I hugged him before when I saw him like that to make him feel that I am there for him. But I didn’t, I shied away thinking that it would me less manly. I was wrong. I know I am because I’m thinking now that I should have done it. Years passed and it seemed that my Lolo was able to cope up.

One morning, I hear a commotion so I stood up and got out from the room to know what it is all about. My Tita Even (my mom’s little sister) called informing them that my Lolo had a stroke. We rushed to the hospital where he was confined. Then my Tita Even told us what happened. She told us that she heard a bang from my Lolo’s room so she ran towards it hurriedly and then he found Lolo on the floor bath in his own **** apparently trying to get up to go to the toilet when he suddenly had a stroke.

“Pa, naunsa ka man dra (Pa, what are you doing there)?” my aunt asked Lolo while trying to help him stand up.

Ambot gani, natumba lang ko og dli ka lihok (I don’t know, I just fell down and can’t move),” my Lolo told her in tears barely audible and stuttering.

“Pa! Teng! Tabang! Si Papang!” my aunt crying as she calls for help. Luckily her friend Teng was there to assist her.

Then she called mom and rushed Lolo to the hospital.

That was the summer of 1999 and since I don’t have school I am the one who is tasked to look after Lolo. After few days I got tired. I was young and arrogant so when Lolo ask for something I just do whatever he says hurriedly without much care. There were times when my Lolo begged me to help him to the toilet so he could release his bowel but since he was so heavy for me and with all the catheter and tubes inserted in him, it was really hard work for me. So there were times I refused to help him and give him a bedpan instead. But he doesn’t want to do it in a bedpan because his back got so painful every time he used it. But I insist. Being weak he can’t do anything but do it there. There is one instance that he fell from his bed because he’s trying to go to the toilet by himself. So I got angry because he didn’t ask for assistance. But when I looked into his teary eyes I felt ashamed of myself for behaving so bad. I felt guilty and try to do better. But from that moment on he was looking for my little brother Michael whom he knows who would care for him better than I do. Guilt was building inside me that I want to go away. If only I could. I am so ashamed of what I am behaving during that time.

Then an opportunity came knocking at my face. My dad’s brother wanted me to go with him and assist him in leading a group (including my cousins) in climbing Mt. Apo. I was so ecstatic and agreed immediately without second thoughts. This is it, my one chance to get away from all of these. So I left my Lolo with my aunt who will now file a leave to help my Lolo and take care of him.

Summer’s gone and it’s back to school. We had a school project and I would be needing my Lolo’s knowledge because it’s all mechanical and my Lolo’s an expert on that field. Beaming with pride I told my group mates that my Lolo’s going to provide us things we need with our project and he’s going to assist us building it. So me and my classmates from Davao decided to go back to my hometown in Kidapawan to visit my Lolo.

When we arrived at my Lolo’s house my aunt told us that my Lolo was not there because he decided to pay a visit to all his brothers and sisters. I was dismayed but it was ok because we can always get some of my Lolo’s stuffs for our project. Then the next day we went back to Davao.

Monday morning I got a call from my mom.

“Butch, wala na si Papa (Butch, Papa is gone),” mom told me while crying.

Unsa (What)?” her words don’t seem to register into my mind. I felt like everything has stopped moving.

Patay na si Papa, huhuhu,” she cried.

Then I cried and all I can hear is my constant sobbing and my mom’s telling me that it’s ok no because finally my Lolo could finally rest and meet my Lola and Kuya Darwin in heaven.

We were going to have an exam in Communications I regarding fiber optics later that day so I asked my professor permission if I could take it earlier because I’m going home because my Lolo passed away. He refused and told me that he didn’t go home when his father or mother died either. I was so mad at him and told myself that’s why he ends up so bitter because he doesn’t know how to give love. I had no choice but to wait for the exam schedule and take the exam or I’ll lose my DOST scholarship.

When I finally was able to go home, from the terminal up to my Lolo’s house I was crying. I felt so sad and guilt starts building up because I had the chance to repay all his goodness but I didn’t take that chance and wasted it all the way. There’s no way I can tell him how I love him and how I care for him now. It’s too late.

Years passed and yet I still feel guilty of not able to help and take care of him when I am most needed. Most nights I would dream of him asking me to come with him or just saw him in my dream. Some dreams my Lola and Kuya Darwin were even there. I dreamed of him always that sometimes I felt scared to go to sleep. I would always end up crying and asking for forgiveness. If only I could go back in time and undo what took place I would but I know I can’t. I’ve been carrying my guilt all these times until I decided to confide to a friend about it. A friend told me that I must learn to forgive myself because that was I mistake that I can’t undo and I was still young that time. She told me that she is sure that my Lolo loves me and he already had forgiven me. That’s why he was always visiting me in my dreams to tell me that it’s ok. That I was forgiven and can finally be free and enjoy my life. That I should not carry the chip on my shoulder forever and free my heart from the burden of guilt.

Then one day I decided to forgive myself and promise to become a better person. That in case one day, my parents would be needing me, I will always be there for them. So I decided to take Caregiving course. My parents don’t want any of us (children) take caregiving because they don’t want us be doing that kind of work. They told us that they are working their asses off to make sure that we will be having a better future. I didn’t tell them and I took the course anyway. After all, it would be for them when the time comes.

The night before the graduation (2007), I had a dream. It was a very terrible dream about people I love the most. It was so horrible that I was crying in my sleep and struggling as to who to go first or what to do first. I was a very terrifying dream. I finally able to woke my self up and went directly to the bathroom and called my mom. I was crying still and asked mom to listen to me first. I told her everything. About my dreams and about taking caregiving course. About the guilt I am carrying and my fear for the people I love. Then after I finished talking she told me that I should not felt guilty in the first place because if anyone would be guilty it would be her. She told me that from Lola up to my Lolo she was not able to be there always because she can’t do the things I’ve done, she doesn’t have the stomach to do it. She would pay for all the fees but she could only visit and check. My mom told me that she was proud of me. She told me that she was sure that I was forgiven. That my Lolo can’t finally rest in peace because he was worried about me. That my Lolo can’t go on with the afterlife because I’m holding him back. Now, I understand it all. Now I am finally free of guilt. My Lolo and I could finally move on. After that dream and talk with my mom, I felt relief and I even don’t have nightmares or dreams about my Lolo wanting me to come with him.

Imagine, I’ve been carrying all those guilt for about 8 years and it affected me so much. I am happier now and I know that my Lolo could finally have his rest in peace with his Creator in heaven.

No comments: