Monday, May 15, 2006

monday monday

I need a weekend from my weekend. Saturday got a call in the morning for a 77th birthday party in Daly City, but made sure we got back in time to get dressed and head to Vallejo for the evening for my parent's Philippine township dinner and inauguration. Had a good time at both.

Sunday woke up early to pick up stuff in Berkeley, take passport photos.

Got word the night before that an uncle, a close family friend, had passed on Thursday, so we headed to the mortuary for the viewing since we couldn't make it to the prayer in the afternoon. It was just uncle's wife and her brother and brother's family there. It was the first time I ever got to sit down and chat with auntie, uncle's 2nd wife whom he married after his first wife passed away 16 years ago. She told us how uncle spent the last 8 months of his life: 6 months living in Ilo-ilo with the beach 50 meters away and the fisherman calling to them to buy their wares, the fish tails still moving. How his children didn't understand why they stayed there so long. And how even after he found out he had cancer with maybe 6 months to live, he stayed in Ilo-ilo until their ticket date. And how when they came back, after his doctor's gave him three options, he chose the first one, to do nothing, because the other two were not a cure. Uncle had always been a practical man. She told us how she managed to stay married to uncle for 14 years, "she ran around him" she says, how when her first husband died she didn't know if she'd ever remarry, "I can't say no, I can't say yes". She talked about how she knew his children might not like her, it was a natural thing to happen, but that was ok with her. She told us about my own parents and about running into my dad in downtown Oakland. (She does a pretty good immitation of my dad.) She told us about how she would just stay here for 6 months and the Philippines for 6 months because she can't tolerate the cold any more. And how she likes to play mah jong because it keeps her mind sharp.

The viewing room was very churchlike with 3 large stained glass windows. Uncle in the coffin wearing his tuxedo and bow tie, the numerous floral bouquets from siblings and children and friends. It was just us chatting and laughing and talking. She said she usually doesn't talk to people, but she knew that we were people who didn't mind her talking, an exchange of ideas beacuse we don't know everything and it's important to share what we know with each other. In the afternoon, the pews would fill with relatives we hadn't seen since I was yay-high. It would have been nice to see them again.

We stayed longer than we had originally planned and would have stayed longer if we could, but had to get on the road to make it for twins babysitting that afternoon. I'm glad we were able to sit there with auntie, take her mind off everything for a short time. The nurse at the hospice was right in that auntie was a resillient woman. To go through the death of one spouse then the death of another. It was God's plan she said.

The afternoon was spent with the soon-to-be 5 year old and twin nieces who are now teething. We managed to get the twins to take a few naps and never got the 5 year old to take a nap and even auntie and uncle managed to steal a nap or two. It was interesting to watch the kids interact. The 5 year old has development issues, the largest of which is a lack of ability for verbal communication, but she does interact with people more so than things. The 5 year old does take an interest in the twins and often likes to plant a big wet kiss on their heads. When I went to change one of them, she assisted by pulling a baby wipe for me. Though she does, like any older sister, tease them. Like she yanked the milk bottle from one of them sitting in the swing chair which of course made her cry. But the babies in general see her and smile happy to see her as she gives them a push in the swing chairs (we had to teach her "little push" as opposed to the "big push" that sent them really swinging). The other baby was playing with an empty juice box and getting an hour's worth of entertainment from it. When the 5 year old saw the baby playing with the juice box, she retrieved the other empty juice bottle the baby had earlier and gave it to her, so now the baby had two boxes to play with. Her mother would later tell us that when one of the twins was crying the 5 year old tried to share her juice cup with the baby thinking that maybe the baby was hungry. It has been difficult to know what the 5 year old is thinking, but it's clear in her own way that she's able to do what she can for her sisters.

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