March 16 was the 40th day since Mom passed away. I cannot beg off from the custom of having to commemorate it because family members kept on asking about the preparations, etc. So off we went to Antipolo in my Aunt's house - the one Mom wanted to visit but never had the chance to - for a whole day of praying and filming a documentary broken only by a hefty lunch, courtesy of Aunt Imma (thanks so much for this!).
Since my Uncle and my cousin worked / work, respectively, in ABS CBN, it was only natural that anything that had to do with film or a camera would have to be done. We spent the entire afternoon filming messages from relatives, mostly Mom's sisters and brothers. I was the last one and I didn't cry as much as I was afraid I would which is good, I think. At least something happy came out of all this.
Also, I think the whole exercise was very good because everybody finally had the chance to speak up unlike during the wake when we hardly said anything to each other. That was because of the shock everyone felt more than anything else. This time, tears fell along with words and memories were unlocked from years of being kept in the far recesses of the mind.
We had a quick recap and meeting afterwards and I ended the whole affair by making three reminders: 1.) Never fail to say good things to each other while we're still around to hear them; 2.) Never pass up the chance to attend all family gatherings; and 3.) That all Mom's blood sisters and their daughters must undergo checkup and mammography before the year ends. I wouldn't want anyone else the family to go through this harrowing experience ever again because one, we cannot afford it and two, it's too much to bear.
The thing with sickness and death is that it can break a person's spirit - and it can raise it as well. It really depends on how fast one can move on. Right now, I've been having blank stare spells and while in Cagayan de Oro last week, I missed my stop twice because I was, well, blank.
We light candles at Mom's altar every day, round the clock thinking she's still with us. Once, while in bed, I texted her number half expecting she'd reply. I have so many things I want to tell her but I couldn't anymore. When something comes up, I wanted to text her about it ASAP like I used to but I remember and I stop myself.
Am I okay? Yes, I am. I think.
Let's not worry until we have to.