Thursday, October 12, 2006

Aunt Mary

I do not know how to deal with death. The not knowing what to expect after you die and the thought of not being with my loved ones scares the shit out of me.

When I was hospitalized for broken leg years ago, a young child in the children ward died. I could still remember the crying, the screaming and the small lifeless body wrapped with a sarong carried out of the ward by the father. I still shudder when I think about it. I slept with my parents for two months before they make me move back to my room. I was ten years old and I was so afraid to die. Even now, when I “accidentally” think about it, I still couldn’t handle it.

My dad’s eldest sister, Aunt Mary, is single and living with my other unmarried (Aunt Daisy) & widowed (Aunt Jacinta) aunts. It all started two Fridays ago with a call from my sister while I was doing my grocery shopping with my mom. Aunt Mary nearly past out and Aunt Daisy called asking my dad to send her to the hospital as none of them knew how to drive. So, we went to see her but she refused to go to the hospital. Aunt Mary is suffering from psychological problem. It started 17 years ago and it happened so sudden that most people suspect it has to do with black magic. She kept herself away from everyone soon after as she can be difficult when she wants to and that night was one of those nights.

Last Sunday, I took Ekiel to visit them. I didn’t see Aunt Mary because she was resting in her room. I asked Aunt Daisy how was Aunt Mary doing and she said she is fine. We thought it was just some virus. Later, 1am, Aunt Daisy called my dad again. She said Aunt Mary is weak and pale. My dad and my sister went over and she refused to go to the hospital and even scolded the doctor who came to see her. My dad and sister came home when Aunt Mary says she is feeling better and wants to go to sleep.

5.30am, another call from Aunt Daisy. Aunty Mary is sick again. My dad was about to leave when Aunt Mary called saying it was false alarm. My dad then sends my brother to school as usual when Aunt Daisy called again. She said Aunt Mary is not doing very well and could leave us anytime soon. Later she called to say she thinks Aunt Mary is gone. My sister picked up the call. When she told me, I literally jumped off the bed. I mean, she was doing okay yesterday, and now she’s gone? I didn’t know how to tell my dad. I didn’t know what to feel.

I remember Aunt Mary as the kind aunty who always makes me and my sister fashionable clothes (she’s a seamstress), gives us pocket money and buys us KFC which was a treat for us. After she gotten “sick”, I hardly see her and even when I do, it’s usually just “Hello Aunty” and that’s that.

When my dad got home, I told him about Aunt Daisy’s last call. I knew my dad was upset because he was laughing nervously saying he couldn’t carry Aunt Mary to bring her to the hospital. That’s his way to cover his feeling. So I offered to go with him because I felt it was somewhat my responsibility to be there.

I tried to think of what to say to my dad when we were in the car. I was still trying to figure out how to feel so I kept my mouth shut. I admit I was a little scared because I didn’t know what to expect. So I say a silent prayer that everything will be okay.

When we got there, the whole place was quiet. My Aunt Mary’s body lay lifeless on a mat. She died in her sleep. I still didn’t know what to do. My dad wanted to bring the body to the hospital. When their relatives came, my dad was told to go make a police report instead.

I followed my dad to make the police report. I thought I could make myself useful like filling in a form or something. When we reach the police station, the cleaner was cleaning the so-called report desk. The police just ignored us. He even had the nerve to check the 4D results in the newspaper. I wanted to slap him so bad. After what felt like forever, he told us to come back after 2pm to collect the official report. We went back to my aunts’ place. While waiting for the morgue’s van to pick the body up, my grand-aunty and aunties came. Suddenly my Aunt Daisy burst into tears. Then I saw my dad wiping his eyes.

Later that night, we (with my sister and brother) went to the morgue for prayers. We went to see my late Aunt Mary’s body that was placed in a glass coffin. It’s like nothing had happened and she was just sleeping peacefully. That night was also the first time I met my dad’s relatives. I didn’t even know they existed before. I thought it was just them and that’s it. It’s weird how Aunt Mary’s death brought us all together. Even their family friends whom they have not met for years were there.

The next day we gathered at the morgue again for some prayers. After they moved her body into the coffin, reality suddenly hits me. We will never see her again. Flashbacks of those happier times I spent with her came back to me. I was overcome with this huge sadness. I know she is in a better place now. She had suffered long enough. I was just sorry that her life wasn’t an easy one. I felt bad I didn’t make the effort to spend time with her after she has gotten “sick” because I was afraid. I could have done so much and now it is too late.

I pray for her soul and that she may forgive me for the things I’ve done and haven’t done. May she rest in peace with God in heaven. We will miss you...

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