Unlike the movie featuring Julia Roberts, Eat, Pray, Love (one of my favourites, by the way, right up there with Forrest Gump and Dead Poets’ Society), the live movie scene unfolding in my life at the moment is the version where visitors come to Mommy’s apartment to pray with and over her. It has been such a beautiful outpouring of love and support from the friends and neighbours that is so heartwarming. As I have written before, saying good bye to a person before that final departure is more important to us Filipinos than showing up at the funeral when it is too late. In Mommy’s social circle, since she was so active in the neighbourhood and parish alike, she has endeared herself to many over the years. When word got around about her condition, the visitors began streaming in. Two days ago I wondered whether I should install a revolving door instead, at the rate things are going.
Pray: just about everyone who has visited Mommy from the very start has prayed with her, holding her hand. Her former prayer group prayed said a decade of the Rosary and then prayed over her in tongues, something I haven’t witnessed in a long time. Others will come individually and sit in silent prayer. Last night beloved family friends arrived and we all sat together in a circle to pray the rosary. Coincidentally, being Thursday we prayed the Mysteries of Light, and I hoped in my heart that the Light would shine upon Mommy and grant her peace. Drained as I may be, this bayanihan spirit nourishes me and in some fortunate cases Mommy was awake and lucid.
Eat: As is Filipino tradition, a visit to anyone’s home is never done empty-handed. In addition to all the visitors and prayers, the food has also been flooding the kitchen. The generosity of spirit is amazing. We haven’t had to cook for the last three days! It started with one person bringing assorted breads, then someone else brought pastries, and so on. We received assorted version of pancit, have endless slices of pizza somehow, and a dear friend arrived with half a car-load of wonderful soups and fruits for Mommy! I remember what one bishop told me many years ago – we need to nourish body and soul to keep them together. Nobody takes this more seriously than the Filipinos. Whereas other Asian communities belonging to other faiths rather take the path of fasting as a form of supplication and prayer, the Filipinos go the opposite direction and will flood house and spirit with food.
Love: Mommy and I are being ably supported by a number of angels in our midst. There are three main angels who are with Mommy 24/7, another one who relieves them over the weekends (one of Daddy’s former nurses). In addition, the love, friendship and concern of friends and family keeps me standing and moving forward. It is not easy to to be in this situation per se, but to be an only child with no siblings to fall back on is a tall order.