Ashes to Ashes

Yesterday, my uncle passed away.

It’s so sad because last week, he just gave away his youngest daughter in marriage.

Later, he went to the doctor for further testing. They gave him a year to live. He didn’t quite make it.

His passing comes less than a year after my grandmother passed away. Less than two years after another uncle passed; less than five when still another uncle fell ill and died. 13 years after my father died. It’s great having a big family, but only tragic when you have to count them out one by one. I remember how it felt to lose my father and it hurts so much to know that so many of my cousins have felt the same way–have seen and lived through the same kind of loss.

I don’t know how I feel about the news. Almost numb. An almost-careless, self-protective sense of “well, it was inevitable, I guess.” But that feeling is coupled with a bone-deep sadness that I just don’t have the strength to express and tap into again right now. It will come to me, eventually.

The sadness that comes with the death of a loved one takes a huge toll. My family has been steam-rollered by it. It’s almost scary to let myself feel that much pain again. But in time, I will. I have to. Because he deserves my mourning, my reflection and my love.

He was one of those quiet men who was the support, the backbone of a family. He never took on the spotlight, but he was always there. He raised amazing children, and those are some of the cousins that I absolutely looked up to when we were kids playing tag through our grandma’s gardens. I still look up to them to this day. He suffered quietly through his illness. He always had a gentle smile and kindness in his eyes. That’s what I will always remember.

Rest in Peace, Tito JR.


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