… I’m impelled to recall the last words of my father. It was about 5 p.m. on May 6th 1950. He was in his bed, very sick, when he said to one of his cousins that the doctor was only prolonging his life a little bit, as his time was already up. He said his lifeline was getting short, indeed, so short that by 6 p.m. it should end or wind up. He then shifted his eyes to my brother and asked him to promise him that he would do his best to help me get educated. Kuya Pepe in tears said he promised. Then, my father went silent. At one moment in silence, he held my right hand so hard I thought my fingers cracked. Then, he released the grip. He died. I didn’t cry. I just stared, feeling lost and alone. From then on, my life simply became very serious, as if impelled strongly from within towards a direction. That day ended my boyhood of playing. It began my asking hard questions to myself. It marked the beginning of my trying to be different from anyone I knew. No, I didn’t unaware imitate Robert Frost to choose the road less traveled. After all, Frost became a Nobel. I simply have lived and, later, lived a normal existence with you. … Death vicariously comes too often to be a stranger. But each time it does, it changes the perceiver significantly if not for good. Who can disagree with T.S. Eliot?
In contrast, FG went away from us with nary a word. His last words to me were, “Nahihilo ako”. I told him to just rest while I ate lunch. I wanted us to eat together, but since he felt like that, I felt it would be better if he just rested. We now know that those were his last lucid and normal moments.
In retrospect, perhaps that was why when FG, while alive, would repeat over and over, in conversations, in his letters, in his writings, his ‘last words’ to us. Perhaps he anticipated, or knew, that there might not be anymore time later.
It is painful to write of that last time we had, just the two of us, at home. It was as in the beginning, when there was just the two of us at the Listening Center. Only this time, there was to be no more sense of joy, of anticipation, of the future. There was only the cessation, then, my being alone, for always.