A Year Without Laking Berting

It’s been a year now since my grandfather who we fondly call Laking (Bolinao term for grandfather) Berting joined our creator. He died due to heart attack. His demise was unexpected especially that our clan was complete that time. My auntie Ester, his eldest child, went home to celebrate Christmas with us for the very first time since she started working in Hong Kong. My two aunties, Nancy and Lea, who are residing in Valenzuela City and Dinalupihan, Bataan with their respective families, accompanied their eldest sister going back to Anda.

The festive reunion turned into melancholic quest to lengthen the life of the head of the family. My lolo was wailing about his chest at eight in the evening that Christmas Eve. He was having difficulty in breathing. Some of us were crying and panicking about his condition. One of his children told him that he should not ate crabs that were serve the morning our relatives arrived. I saw on his face the pain. Uncle Rod and other two members of the family decided to send him in the community hospital in Sampaloc. They used a tricycle. They accompanied my in riding. Due to panic, they assisted my lolo without him wearing his slippers. I was the one who brought his footwear before they rushed him to hospital. 

My mother that time was preparing for our Noche Buena. She stopped her kitchen activities to check out his father. The unfavorable situation did not impede us in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. My mother finished her unfinished business. We ate our favorite pancit. As we were eating, we were fervently praying for auspicious health condition of my grandpa. We were joking that he needs to eat the food to lengthen his life. We, Filipinos, believe that eating pancit extends life as we attribute longevity with the length of the bihon noodles strands. 

Our Christmas break was heartbreaking. His hospital buddies were observing him day and night. For those who were left in the house, we were constantly asking about medical updates. His vital signs were not showing good indications. He was fighting for his life, but his heart was slowly failing. One proof that he wants to add days was his wish for his children to transfer him in Dagupan. At first, the children hesitated about his wish. They warned him that his body could not endure the fatigue in travelling. They waited for his condition to be okay. The siblings decided to bring him in the city.

He reached Region I Medical Center the night of 26th. There were high hopes he could embattle the illness because the place has more facilities than in the previous hospital. But, the next day ceased the hopes he and his family had. He breathed his last in the morning of 27th. My mother who was watching over him saw the departure of his father here on earth. When we received the sad news, we did nothing but to cry. My grandmother was in great pain after hearing the sad news.

After we comforted one another, we were instructed to prepare the house for the wake. It was fast. It was terrible. It was few minutes before six when a car of the funeral parlor arrived in our compound. The casket was brought inside the house. My tears fell rapidly like waterfalls. I was very sad that time that I was not interested to prepare my research proposals, but I had to do it because I was scheduled to present. 

Celebrating the new year was very awkward. The family had our Media Noche while we were in sorrow. It was like we were wearing smiling masks while chatting and eating. Then, the interment came. We need to be strong for our family. It was a heartbreaking moment, but it was a relief. We know that Laking Berting was happy before dying as he saw his children complete. It was really his biggest wish. His children did not fail him. When he was spending his last nights, he told his children to help one another and not to fight against each other. 

After his interment, we were still in the state of mourning. But, we need to go back to our chores. As the saying goes, life must go on. We bade goodbye to our relatives and faced our responsibilities. My grandmother joined her children out of Pangasinan. After two months, she went back to her house where she and my grandmother used to live together. 

A year without him was not easy. We celebrated our barangay fiesta reminiscing the way he eats. My grandpa is a foodie. He loves to eat especially lechon, papaitan and other fatty foods. This eating habit is the cause of his death. 

My mother told me that she became sad when she attended Fathers’ Day service in our church. Well, I cannot blame her. It is very hard to celebrate the day without a father to be greeted. We remembered birthday thinking the possibilities of him being alive if he just followed the pieces of advice of his doctors. Now, Christmas Day came and we remembered him. He was the first person rushing to the kitchen to eat the newly- cooked spaghetti and bread with mayonnaise. We really miss those days.

Actually, the siblings have planned out to commemorate a memorial service today. However, they had changed the schedule on 6th day of January 2019. I hope that our one, big family will be complete. 

We really miss you Laking!

Post a Comment