It feels really weird to be writing about something as morbid as death. Yet we all know that like it or not, we're all going to face the final curtain at one point in time. It still feels alien to me, though. Luckily, we don't have many deaths in the family and I feel blessed ten times over knowing that my family is safe and in good spirits. I guess I haven't entertained the thought of getting into that "point in time", more so for my folks. I've gotten used to a close-knit family that the idea of any one of us kicking the bucket seems unacceptable, even preposterous.
Just this Friday, my father's brother (or Tatang as we call him), passed away. He suffered from kidney failure for a couple of years and recently, he had pneumonia followed by the collapse of one of his lungs. I'm not really that close as in "close" to Tatang, but when we're talking about my dad's side of the family, we're already as close as it is. So I never really thought this would be the year my uncle would lose the battle against his illness.
Truth be told, I am somewhat glad that it's finally over. I saw all the pain he went through when he was sick---the countless dialysis sessions, that horrible blown up vein on his arm (where they insert a ginormous needle for the procedure), the slump in his body---he was a far cry from the uncle I knew when I was a kid. I knew he was in so much pain that I felt a certain relief when it was over. Don't get me wrong, the unusual space he left was so palpable that I really can't believe he's gone. But I guess the feeling of relief was more evident. I'd like to think he's in a better place right now where the pains he felt in his earthly body are now just a thing of the past.
There's also a feeling of regret in a sense that I wish my parents took us more often to see Tatang's family when we were little. I wish I'd gotten to know more about him, my aunt (who also passed away, ironically, due to the same illness) and my cousins. We only knew each other by names and faces, not really so much on our personalities and stuff. I really feel bad that all I know about Tatang is that he looks so much like my dad, they can pass off as twins.
If ever I have my own family and kids, I'd make sure they'll know about their relatives, heck, I'll even organize a yearly family reunion if need be. That's the stuff that's missing in mine: we don't know each other all that well. I don't want my own kids growing up not personally knowing their relatives or develop indifference to them.
We may not have spent that much time together, but I do hope he's in a better place, happy and content. I wouldn't mind tales from the other side from him, but that would probably freak me out.
Say hello to the big guy upstairs for me, Tatang. Save some coffee for me when I get there.