For heaven

I wrote three words for my letter to heaven, where the sun must shine brighter:

I love you.

And then I realized there are no more words.

I love you, and I wish in all my heart that you heard me say my last ‘I love you’ when I walked out the ICU doors. I was afraid they would be my last words. I was right.

I love you, and you told me you loved me too, a month and a century ago. You asked me when I’ll become a doctor, and I said 2021, two more years. In my heart I also said please wait for me. I wish you did, but I’m happy you didn’t, and so

I love you, and the afritada you used to make, and the hours I spent on the phone listening to you speak, how you hid from colonizers and walked through woods in your youth. You championed education and taught hundreds how to dream. You held my hand.

I love you, and my earliest memory of you, standing on the hot corrugated roof of our old home, hanging clothes in the air, virile and glorious and beautiful. You had parties and prayer circles and dances in the sky, painting your hair purple and brown and white.

I love you, and I knew you were tired and in need of rest. I love you, and I am sorry that you exist now only in our memories, staying in heaven as you are. Love is the only thing that remains.

I love you, and I thank you, and I miss you. Every time the sun breaks the horizon, I will think of you.

Most people hold their wakes at home. My grandmother is loved by so many people that the Parish allowed her wake to be held in the Sanctuario right beside the church. There’s a host of saints watching over her.

It’s a full house from day to night. At least one mass has been held per day in honor of her memory. Her many organizations have been scheduling themselves to accommodate everyone’s vigil, choir service or memorial program. She has touched so many lives.

Her wake is currently held in Sanctuario de San Bartolome, Nagcarlan, Laguna.

My grandmother will be interred this Thursday, March 14.

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