A Strong Spirit
It’s been almost three months since I last saw you. I couldn't believe what I’ve seen. I came to realize how fragile the human body is; that in just the nick of time everything can change, everything can get worse. But then, I saw something special. Outside, I saw a weakened body. But inside, I saw a strong spirit.
Remembering that night is heartbreaking. You were telling me so many things. Although you’re having difficulty, although it required so much effort to pronounce even just a single word, you still kept on going and I just sat there listening to you. I got teary eyed but I tried my best not to let those tears flow from my eyes because I don’t want you to see how sad I am, how emotionally shattered I am. You don’t deserve to see how weak I’ve become because you yourself have shown me how strong you are amidst your condition.
And then I asked, “Tita, okay lang po bang makitulog dito ngayong gabi?” You said it’s okay and you let Mau fix the bed in one of the rooms. I even heard Kuya John asking you which bedcover to put. It made me smile. The next day, I was supposed to pay for the chicken inasal that I ordered last night but Ate Kim told me it’s okay, “Sabi ni Tita wag na.” It’s like nothing has changed, you’re still the same Tita I used to know - so welcoming, so kind, so generous.
My two and a half years of stay in the place I consider my home away from home is full of fond memories of you and your stories and love letters and vintage pictures. I think every dormer knows you and Tito’s love story. We even got hold of the handwritten love letters he sent you way back in the 1960’s or 1970's. And oh my, I often get “nosebleed” reading all those letters written in straight English! And I must say I admire how articulate Tito was in expressing his feelings for you. Maybe simply because he’s just so in love with you. But what I admire the most is how the two of you nurtured that love. I’ve never seen a couple so in love just like you do. Although you are already in your late 60’s, I can still see and feel the sweetness and that pure love. Me and my fellow dorm mates often get so ‘kilig’ whenever Tito comes home from work. You would always say, “Kamusta Love?” and Tito would respond, “Okay lang.” and then he would lean down and kiss you. And one Valentine’s Day, we were all sitting in the TV room when a choir came and serenaded you with love songs and one of the songs was Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko. It’s just perfect. And you and Tito were just there, sitting beside each other. We were all like, “Tita, gusto rin namin nang ganyan.” We also want to have a love story like that. Thank you for reminding us that even though people grow old, they should never grow tired of loving.
Thank you also for treating us, your dormers, not just people who are occupying a space in your place but thank you for treating us like your own children. You’re like a mother to all of us. Whenever we need something, you’re always there to provide. I would never forget that moment I got sick and I needed to be confined. I was not prepared and didn’t have enough money but you didn’t think twice, you and Tito lend me a big amount of money for the downpayment for my hospital confinement. You two are such a blessing. Thank you for all the concern and care and provision.
There are still a lot of things I can write here- all those memories I will forever cherish. But I just want you to know that wherever you are right now, I hope that you’re filled with happiness. You have fought a good fight and all your sufferings are over now. I pray that your soul may find comfort in God’s loving arms. And I pray that your family, your children and Tito, may also find comfort knowing that you are already up there, with God.
We send you our love, Tita. ♥