Call Me:

This is less about me and more about the lessons I have learned as someone who shares one common truth: The death of a loved one. We all lose someone dear to us eventually, as death has a way of waltzing into lives most unexpectedly. I have learned something after moving from one country to another. It’s simple: Everyone dead is alive. You carry them with you in the home of your heart. And the heart, no matter how broken it is and no matter how fragmented, is an ocean that carries all turbulence, all calm even when you think it won’t, even when you conspire against hope helplessly to yourself that this is it, this is the end. The heart survives and so do the memories it gently holds in its chamber.

And you love bravely. You must bravely. There is no other way to live. The more unsure you are of a leap, the more shriveled your heart becomes; drier the ocean and we all know what happens to a dry ocean. It carries no journey, it holds you stagnant. You don’t want that. The ocean must go on.

When they die, they leave without notice. No letter reaches you, no softly spoken word of warning, no hand on your shoulder, nothing. I have lost many loved ones to death and all its varying shapes and times and tastes. Death has its own flavors, too. Some departures taste bittersweet; you know it had to happen, they were too old, they had to go. Some taste sudden and unsettling like blood in the nauseous cave of your mouth; they were snatched from you, sucked out of your reality leaving behind a gaping hole that nothing can fill. It is, like it or not, death that adds piquancy to life. It makes you cherish the world around you better.

I miss all my dead beloved ones. Their hair, their laughter, the aura of their virtue, the graceless yet necessary need of their vices – they made them human. I missed my grandfather while walking through the greenery of Washington Square Park under the trees that play hide n’ seek with the sun. I thought to myself that here I am, granddaughter of a farmer who won an agriculture scholarship in the 50’s to the United States; here I am, with my own scholarship. I missed his roaring laughter, his shapely fingers, the peacock feathers, the willow tree, the swing, the sugarcane, the wheat fields, the magazines that read and the magazines that killed, the green and blue light dancing its way between the bars of the tinted window, the rosary, the tombstone.

And then there are those who are alive but dead. Your heart does not carry them. Your heart silently locks the gates upon them and builds another wall of bricks, another wall of iron, another wall of ache and disappointment so that no one is allowed to come in again. You mustn’t let your heart do that, you know. Gently, with time and effort and sincerity, take away the fort and learn to trust again. Learn to swim again. Learn to dive into the depths and cast aside those voices of paranoia. The shore is always there, so is the heart. The shore never leaves neither does the light in you. You must keep it alive.

And so, dance again. Waft through the waters with your loved ones, both here in flesh and here in spirit, and reach the land. There is a ray of God nestled in you so deep, even you cannot put it out.