His Final Exit

[05 May 2012]

I just want to share that I have never really appreciated weekends as much as I do now. Back in college, my classes run from Tuesday to Saturday which makes Sunday and Monday my official weekend. I disliked this at first because in most cases, family events occur on Saturdays when it’s okay to stay up late because there’s no school/work the next day. Since I started working, I have considered myself as one of those people who very much look forward to the next weekend on a Sunday night.

Today was no different. I woke up feeling fired up, anticipating the promise of yet another fun weekend with my family. The only thing I had planned for the day was a visit to the salon for a root touch-up. I got up and got ready. Before I left the house, I realized that my Mom was already awake. She wasn’t in their room, so I figured she’s at my grandfather’s. I was right. She was sitting in front of my grandfather’s bed, watching him as he sleeps. It was heartbreaking to watch Tatay sleeping with rapid, shallow breathing. To make it worse, his right wrist was tied loosely from the hospital bed’s railing. According to Mom, they had to do this to prevent Tatay from pulling his NGT. That week, he had pulled his NGT twice, and every time we had to call a trained nurse/doctor to fasten it again. I bid Mom goodbye and though I wanted to kiss my grandfather on his forehead, I opted not to, so I won’t wake him up.

While I was at the salon, my brother was texting me, asking me to treat them to the movies tonight. The Avengers was on its second week, and since I was already at the mall, he thought I could check the movie schedule out. After I had my hair done, I headed down to the cinemas to purchase four movie tickets to the 1945H screening. Since that was only 1330H, I decided to go home instead of waiting at the mall. When I got home, my brother told me that my Mom was brought to the hospital because she’s been having high blood pressures for two days already. At 1800H, my brothers and I left the house, and dropped the youngest off at DLA because he had a basketball game. In our last conversation, Mom and I had agreed to meet at Alabang Town Center since they’ll be coming from a friend’s house in a nearby village. We borrowed a suction machine for Tatay since he had been advised to have his phlegm pumped out every day because this contributes to his difficulty with breathing.

Twenty minutes until screening time, my brother and I arrived at the mall. It was crazy in the cinemas area with all the people waiting in line. Since we won’t have time to grab dinner prior to the movies, Roi decided to get us some Serenitea that we can bring inside. Five minutes until 1945H, our parents were just having their car parked. We were about to get in when we saw Mom and Dad pacing through the crowd towards us.

The lights have been dimmed, indicating that the movie was about to start, and that’s no more than five minutes since we got ourselves seated, when Lando called Mom. We didn’t really hear the entire conversation between Mom and Lando, but the message was clear. My grandfather has passed away. Roi and I were unable to speak. Mom and Dad left even before the movie began. We were asked to finish the movie as they sped off to see Tatay. I didn’t know how to feel about being seated there, about to watch an exciting movie while my Mom’s mourning over my grandfather’s death. I can’t say I enjoyed the movie 100% because my mind was flittering somewhere else.

It’s 2230H. I knew I had to remain clear-headed, so given that none of us has eaten anything for dinner, I told my brother to drive to McDonald’s near Madrigal Ave. to grab some food. On our way home, I called Miggy in Texas to deliver the news. He was saddened by this for he wanted my grandfather to be at our wedding, but that won’t happen now.

The funeral service has not picked my grandfather up at our house when we got there. In his room were Lando and our good neighbor, Tita Chuchi, who happened to be a retired nurse. Tatay’s mouth had been closed, and he had been already straightened up when we arrived. He seemed to have expired peacefully, as if he was just in deep sleep. His nail fingers were already white as snow. I held my grandfather’s arm—it was already stone-cold, but I can still slightly pinch his skin. That was the first time I ever touched a cadaver. Not an ounce of fear did I feel since it was my grandfather, and I wanted to physically appreciate him for the last time.

Every Saturday since my grandfather’s no longer able to join us for Sunday mass, a lay minister, Tito Eric, personally comes to our house so Tatay [and Lando] could receive communion. Tatay could no longer receive communion by mouth since he had his NGT, so it was understood that his host will be mixed with his liquid food on his next feeding time. According to Lando, my grandfather’s companion, Tito Eric was able to pray over him and gave him his final blessings.

Our family mourns over my grandfather’s passing, but his demise was more of a relief for the reason that at least he’s free from pain and all these earthly sufferings. Most importantly, we are glad because we know that he is now with my grandmother in heaven. After all, when she died, he said, “Goodbye, my love, until we meet again.”

One thought on “His Final Exit

  1. Pingback: The Year That Was: My 2012 Year-Ender « SCATTERBRAIN


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