You Grow Around Your Grief

Somewhere in heaven, daddy watched proudly as I attended yesterday’s mass. My mom in Cebu, probably more so. My first in a very long time. She’s the one who keeps reminding me to go to church. To observe the Sundays of obligation like a good little Catholic girl she hoped she had raised.

So I made the effort to go in honour of my dad’s second year death anniversary. I had Jeff take photos as proof in the event my mom starts cross-examining me. A photo with the priest would’ve solidified my potential case but these will have to do.

“Mama,” Raven beside me whispered, “I don’t understand anything.”

Truth be told, I’m with my kid on that one. I would be lying if I say I didn’t sit there the whole entire time deconstructing the doctrines of Roman Catholicism as I watched strangers’ stoic faces quietly singing hymns and standing up or sitting down on cue.

I want a deeper connection with my faith. Unfortunately, organised religions don’t necessarily cut it for me. Although that’s not to say I don’t like to have a piece of every pie. In my quest to learn and to understand, I have become a pantheist. Or something to that effect. I’m not too pedantic about labels. It is what it is.

Lunch afterwards was crispy pata and pinakbet at Rapsa, this Filipino restaurant in Dandenong. Jeff and El discussed the idea of introducing Jeff’s battery system to Cebu, which has recently been ravaged by the Typhoon Odette, and how such solar-powered setup would be of huge benefit to a country that is forever at the mercy of storms and earthquakes.

I still could not get hold of my mom as network connections are still down but at least I know she’s okay and that her house is okay. Gayle confirmed this when she stopped by to check on her the day after the typhoon hit. My cousin, Ate Daisy, seconded the confirmation with pictures of my mom and some invited relatives having lechon at home to commemorate daddy’s death anniversary.

For dinner, El cooked kare-kare — a popular Filo dish made of oxtail and tripe stew in peanut sauce. It didn’t have the traditional ochre-ish colour because my sister could not find annatto powder at Woolies, Coles, or even at the asian shops but it didn’t really matter. It still tasted delicious. Especially with the bagoong. Yum!

*Raven at 5 years old

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