I’m Sorry; I Didn’t Catch Your Name?

There are a few things that you don’t become aware of until a loved one passes. Among these are the vultures.

I don’t mean literal “SQUAWK SQUAWK” (or whatever noise they make) vultures. I’m referencing the bipedal ones who look just like you and me, speak the same kind of words, and manage to appear when there is some material gain to be had.

My first experience with this was a week after my mom died. Amidst the phone calls from teary friends and co-workers offering condolences was one from a family member. I won’t say that they most definitely were not family. I’m Filipina, so the number of “cousins,” “aunties,” and “uncles” I have can be counted on one…nothing. It can’t be counted on one anything.

What’s key is that my parents, like myself, kept a rather tight inner circle. I knew the names, if not the faces, of anyone they would have wanted to bestow possessions or memorabilia. This particular “family member”? I had never heard of them. Not a whisper. Nor a murmur. Not even a passing remark among hundreds of other relatives’ names when the topic of family arose.

Despite all of this, the person spoke in a very assured voice of how close she and my mom had been, how devastated she was about the loss, and had my mom mentioned something she was to inherit? If not, surely that was an oversight, and wouldn’t I be a good girl to let this “relative” come by to look at her belongings?

I think I told her that it wasn’t a good time, but if she left her number I would call her. She didn’t leave a number.

A few people had the audacity to just show up at our front door, telling my dad the same story. Close family/friends. Knew my mom really well. Could they come in because she had surely left something for them? Thankfully, despite his grief, Dad was having none of their foolishness and sent them away with more politeness than they deserved.

I remembered these long ago events as I contemplated my husband’s obituary. His hometown, and the places we lived before this, are far flung. Our local circle already knows of his passing, and what a wonderful person he is. Is there really a need for a local announcement? At this point, it would most likely lead only to me answering the door while wielding a baseball bat and intoning in a dangerous voice, “You’re saying you know my husband?”

Ultimately, my sister-in-law wrote an absolutely beautiful tribute that will run in their hometown’s newspaper. I feel that this is the best resolution.

In Regards to Former Grievances…

Death does not magically wipe the slate clean, but it can provide clarity.

In the moment that I knew my husband was never coming back, I cried. These were not gentle tears; no ethereal dew trembling beneath the first shy beams of morning. It was melting gorilla face in a wax museum sobbing.

I won’t pretend that I don’t remember everything that upset me. Every hurt feeling, misspoken word, wrong reaction…it’s all seared in my heart. Every sentiment that I thought I needed, the responses I believed I wanted? Still there. My husband’s passing has been like kerosene upon these flames, but the brightness illuminates not that I was wronged, but that I was being petty. None of those things mattered.

He had, through all the time we had been together, always done his best. He loved me with everything that he had.

Anyone who knows about our situation will probably say, “But you were there at the end. You took care of him” and, yeah, I did. But I’m greedy. I want more days with my toes buried in the sand, raising my nose from the book I’m reading, and asking him in exasperation, “How can you poke fun at people who take a million selfies when you’re asking me to take a picture of you again?” (Answer: “It’s not a selfie, it’s a picture of this amazing scenery, with me in it!”) I want to put on an exaggerated smile and tell him how excited I am over the Habs playing whoever, and I hope he screams extra loud during the game. I want to walk through the mall with him and have him point to an anime cat and ask, with complete sincerity, “Is that Hello Kitty?”

I want the adventures that we thought we’d have, and the time within which to do them.

One of the things he often said, especially in the last few weeks, was, “All you have is today.” I’m working on that, S. I’m working on it…

This Writer Wrote a Post Worth a Million Clicks! You Won’t Believe What Happens Next…

I’m not just a writer: I’m a writer who has had some of my work published and I’ve been paid for it! This is not meant as a putdown towards people who have contributed works and chosen not to be monetarily compensated – although you really shouldn’t sell yourselves short. Seriously. Get paid in currency. Exposure doesn’t pay the bills, and can even damage your brand.

Speaking of branding: it’s the topic of this post, and something most businesses consider at some point. Who are we, or perhaps more precisely: who do we want consumers to think we are so they buy our products? It’s something with which I continue to struggle, because the energy level and enthusiasm I see from many popular influencers would feel false coming from me. Can I be more excited than a three-year-old hyped up on jumbo pixy stix and bottomless soy mochas? YES, I CAN! It’s just not going to happen every day, throughout the day, in multiple posts on Instagram and Twitter (these are links to my accounts! Please follow, Like, and share! When I get to 500 followers on each, I’m going to do a draw free tarot card readings from yours truly). I also am not the cynical, swearing, NSFW type from the other side of the branding spectrum, nor do I want to be perceived that way.

So what is my brand, and why am I here? Will I be lifted and taken somewhere? (Five points if you got that reference without having to look it up.)

  • I am a proud Pinay who is become reacquainted with myself and my culture, after the damaging effects of colonization and assimilation.

This is my brand, and what you’ll find in pretty much all of the writing I do for myself.

Everything else, like my social media accounts and this blog? These are reflections of me: things that I’m thinking, doing, or am otherwise excited about at the moment. It’s my way of trying to connect on a more personal level so you can get a glimpse of me, and hopefully want to support me by buying my stories, books, and poems as they become available. Wait, am I not supposed to say or write that? Well, I suppose that’s another part of my brand: I’m horrible at subterfuge, so I’m not even going to bother trying. 🙂

Thank you for stopping in! I hope you’ll visit regularly.