Dearest Mommy and Daddy,
It is 8C outside on a Sunday morning as I sit down and write this. I’ve been struggling for days to get a blog entry together, knowing what date was coming up and I just couldn’t bring myself to write it without breaking down in tears. Exactly one year ago today, we sat together around the family acacia table, Daddy’s prized possession which tells the story of your life together, and celebrated your Golden Wedding anniversary. You didn’t want a party, the way I had planned it, not even a big mass in the church, where you dedicated so many years and gave so much of your time to, or even invite your closest friends. Mommy wanted to protect your dignity, Daddy, and spare you the agony of watching others eat a meal while you couldn’t even swallow ice cream. I understood her decision, respected it, and supported her wholeheartedly.
There was no gift exchange either, and neither of you saw any need for it because being together on your 50th wedding anniversary was in itself the greatest gift of all. You held on for each other, to give each other the gift of life and presence.
It was the most intimate of celebrations, and you held hands through it all, the gentle caresses of your fingers on each other’s palms replacing the words that could not be said, and speaking louder than any other emotion.
In lieu of the party, we went on the short ride around Manila to retrace the route you took during the days you were still courting. Oh my goodness, now there is a word that doesn’t exist in modern society nowadays: courting. I remember the wonderful stories Mommy used to tell me when I was child about the events leading up to Daddy’s courtship of Mommy. That’s not something that happens in western societies anymore, and in this day and age of social media, the quiet whispers of courtship are completely unknown concept. Even I mourn the loss of such romantic notions.
How can 12 months have passed so quickly? How can one year be so devastating to a single life? I dread the coming days for so many reasons, unkind reminders of everything that I have lost in the past year. What was Destiny’s intention for me to take you both away within a month of each other and leave me stranded in limbo? I hope you have found the answer on The Other Side, because I certainly haven’t – yet. I’ve followed the signs and my instinct, but am constantly at a loss, wishing several times a day I could pick up the phone to call you and hear your voice.
That is what I miss the most: your voices. Regardless of how old I was, or where I happened to be living at any point in time, your voices were my anchor and I instantly reverted back to being your little girl, safe in the knowledge that Daddy would provide the technical solution for whatever mess I was in, or Mommy would offer her culinary expertise. I miss gossiping with you about the neighbors and the parish priest’s latest antics, or even about your most recent squabble. I miss ordering food online and have it delivered to you as a treat and bringing my friends over for a visit.
Summer has ended here in Berlin. The morning temperatures are always below 10C and today, I saw traces of the first fog hovering over the river. We’ve never liked the cold have we? I remember how miserable Daddy was when he had to undergo the training in Ireland, or even the times he had to fly to Chicago during winter. And yet, here I am, back in Berlin and feeling more miserable by the day as the temperatures drop steadily.
Wherever you are now, and I am sure you are holding hands somewhere above the clouds. Let me be the first to wish you Happy Anniversary. Even though you are no longer with me, September 17 is a permanent fixture in my life. I can’t even have a mass said for you, and am two continents away from your columbarium to bring you flowers, so forgive me for that. I can only offer what I have always given you that last 50 years, my love and my words.