Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Wake

Her full name is Germana Araneta Sebastian. She's Dex Lira's grandma on his Mom's side. She's dead.

Her corpus is lying in La Funeraria Paz, along G. Araneta Avenue in Quezon City. It's one jeepride away (going towards E. Rodriguez) from the intersection of G. Araneta- and Quezon Avenues.

The Funeral Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, 28 September. Interment will be at the Heritage Park, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, immediately following the Funeral Mass in La Funeraria Paz’s North Wing Chapel.

Dex will-- because he's comitted to rushing a project for Gawad Kalinga through all of Sunday-- be at the Funeraria for most of Monday, and Tuesday morning. Yes, he'll most likely be around for the burial.

Catholics, other People of the Book and members of other strains of Christianity who believe in the efficacy of prayers for the dead are warmly enjoined to pray for the deceased. Christians of the Protestant/Evangelical persuasions, as well as members of the Ecclesia of Christ, are as warmly enjoined to pray for the living.

Please be assured that your simple presence and your prayers afford us much needed comfort and solace. We will not forget you in our hearts and in our own prayers.

Thank you.

Granny's Dead

I think she died in the night. My sister pulled me out of the room a few minutes ago to tell me that Granny may not be breathing. I tried to move her arm but it was stiff. While Mom tried to rouse my doctor brother, I put a saucer to granny's nose: no moisture. I couldn't be sure, though, as her breathing had been weak lately, and there were tubes providing her with oxygen and


My brother's awake now. I think he's looked Granny over. She's gone.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Q. How is Granny?
A. She's almost always, to my eyes, in some sort of pain. Human contact, particularly from warm hands, is a comfort. She's stronger now, so maybe the damned disease read my letter and decided to ease the pressure on my Granny. Not to read like a vulture, but methinks everyone is just waiting for her to die.

Sidebar: All of us are waiting to die. It just doesn't hit home until-- we're 80; under siege from a deadly, incurable disease; or attacked by a bunch of curable ones latching onto you one after another like unwanted relatives. Hmmm... kinda brings new meaning to Roberta Flack's Killing me Softly.

Q. How are you?
A. Sick. Something respiratory. Am harboring suspicions that it might be that bacterial infection with the flu-like symptoms featured last night on local tv. I am infirm, but saddled by the need to meet a deadline, so I cannot really rest.

Deadline? Job? you ask. Nahh, it's not "really" work: because it pays in prestige and goodwill but not money. Tell you all about it when I'm done. Do or die time. As I told my client's rep: "Don't thank me yet."

I got myself some new rubber shoes, recently, for P250. Buys like this satisfy Macho Dex and Domestic Dex: I have been rarely as happy with my purchases. Guess the folks at Gawad Kalinga are right: give a man a little dignity (in my case, new shoes) and he can be motivated to do all sorts of things. Why not stop by by the by, and have yerselves a look-see?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Old McDaddy

They say you're getting old when you begin to enjoy the company of children, or such chores as feeding chickens, more than you do making money. I see my Dad feeding chickens and I can feel his smile from where I'm lying down-- in the living area, a good ten paces from our backyard-- and I know this piece of urbanite folk wisdom is true.

I'm not that old, --I'm still young enough to be ambitious-- but I'm happy that Dad gets his kicks from simple things. They don't cost him much and they serve to keep him young. Of course, this means I get to wake up to the odd goings-on in the family abode. Like livestock running loose in the dining room, a dog and cat sharing the master's bed, a myna that must have worked in a call center in its previous human incranation.

At least, his simple pleasures don't involve unhealthy doses of women, wine or (thank God!) videoke.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Granny is Dying

Her cervical cancer, previously in remission, has come back with a vengeance. As usual, the timing stinks.

"Dear Disease, The next time you decide to flare up, please show my family the courtesy of appearing during times of plenty; not when everyone on these islands is existing hand-to-mouth. Thank you. Love, Dex."

I'd feel like flaying key people in government for flushing the country down the toilet if I didn't have a hand in it myself: everyone who walked into a Starbucks or who carelessly left the tap open, did, even if to a miniscule degree.

The point is moot, of course. There is little else I can do but stay by Granny every chance I get until she passes or death is staved off for another short, if indefinite, period. Which means I must weather Mother's constant admonitions to "fix your life," "help yourself" and "find a stable job." I almost find the sights and smells of Granny's makeshift sickroom a visual and olfactory feast in comparison.

I never liked sickrooms. I never liked being in them, seeing them nor smelling them-- especially smelling them. There is something unsettling, if morbidly honest, about being around a person who is literally being eaten away by disease. I love a good campy horror movie as much as anyone, but real sickrooms hit too close to home.

This is how it ends, young man. You grow old, your organs begin to fail or maybe the cancer begins to develop. Or maybe you trip over something and you break yourself on the staircase or get hit by a crazed biker. It's always something like that.

I know, you're afraid. That's what you get for laughing in my face all the time. You think your preoccupation with cataloguing all the names of my instruments was going to save you or your Granny from me? I'm Death. I've got all the pathology degrees.

Look: even after your Granny goes, "Necrosis" will still be your favorite word; It'll be right up there with "sepsis" and "gangrene." And "necrotising arachnidism." When I take you, you'll still be laughing in my face so you can show your audience a brave front. You can take a little comfort in that. But for your sake, I'd rather you take comfort (and maybe some responsibility) in this--

I'm a mirror and a reminder. Every time I take somebody, you will look at me, and see yourself. All life is precious-- but what have you done with yours to prove it?

I'll be back soon enough. Expect a pop quiz.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


I'm at the Quezon City family residence right now, nursing an off-and-on respiratory sickness. By all rights I should be at the house of a friend, writing my prose novel, or making that graphic novel about a guy named Kirk and his complicated love life. As things stand, I'm helping Mom with another speech and doing odd jobs round the house for a little money... in between curling up in bed feeling awful, watching tv and fine-tuning the (finally!) new PC.

Side note: I'm sure my respiratory funk will be banished once I start getting new (even if short-term) purpose back into my life. Despite the unsavory feelings stirred by working for my mother, she at least pays. Not well, but she pays, and that's good enough for me for now.

What I really miss about my home in Sta. Mesa is Honey. Honey and wonderful running water. Baths here are hard to time, what with eight people vieing for precious bathroom resources every morning. I should learn to tailor my behavior here accordingly-- bathe and brush my teeth in the afternoons.

I'll be joining Honey soon enough... I've managed to outlast her girlfriends staying at the Sta. Mesa hideaway, so it's reasonable to assume I can outlast her Australian relatives, newly arrived for some Family fun.

C'est la vie.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Eddie Manoy/Vic Vargas Moment

Honey’s having a number of her girl friends stay over from Sunday through Wednesday of next week. That means I’ll be a hobo until Thursday.

P’wes, sa susunod na Linggo, mag-uuwi rin ako ng babae!

Nyahahaha! Heeheeheehee! Hwek hwek hwek hwek!

Okay, enough inanity...

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Woman Channel

Honey is coming back from her training trip in a few days. I cannot believe she's only been gone two weeks. A lot's happened, a mix of great and rotten and I intend to tell her about it in an environment conducive to restful conversation.

I've thrown out a ton of trash and moved some of the furniture around again. I've renewed my war with the ants, defoliating the floor with soap solution, strong detergents and alcohol. I'm shining the kitchen counter, the bathroom tiles and the all-important toilet bowl... There's so much to do that I'm afraid there won't be time to finish it all. But I'm working hard to make sure she comes home to a pristine house.