Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Stroke Of Fate

My cellphone rang as I was driving around the streets of Makati. It was my mom. She rarely texts, much less call. I parked at the curb and answered my phone.

Si Auntie, na-stroke,” she said.

* * * * *

She’s my mom’s older sister. She’s the only one among her brothers and sisters who retired single. Although she’s always stayed with us, she’s lived a very independent life. She grew hard-headed and strong-willed, made of sterner stuff. We thought she’d be a spinster for life, but one day she surprised us all by getting married to her childhood crush from Bohol. His first wife had died a couple of years ago; they met up when he flew back to the country for a vacation. He brought her back to Canada where he had migrated; the marriage lasted for only a year. She flew back here because she couldn’t stand the cold of the climate and of her husband’s eventual treatment of her. She came back to our house as if nothing had happened. She rarely spoke, and sparingly when she did.

Last month my mom and her went back to Bohol to celebrate the annual May fiesta. They only accompanied another relative, a cousin of theirs, who had a doctor’s appointment; upon her prodding, my mom and aunt also had themselves a check-up. That’s when the doctor noticed how slurred my aunt’s speech was. Apparently she had suffered more than one stroke.

She is now confined in a provincial hospital. It’s painful for her to swallow because of a cyst in her throat, but she refuses a biopsy. She wants to go home to Marikina because she already has no more money to pay for her hospital bills.

I listened closely to my mom, checking to hear in her voice and in between her words what is perhaps an unspoken request: “Can you help, anak?” But she talked about calling their eldest, my uncle who’s a retired priest in the U.S. She also has another brother working in Saudi Arabia, and another brother who has two children earning dollars in the U.S. I breathed a sigh of relief. As much as I want to, and will, help her financially, I’m also glad that she has many siblings she can count on.

But it also gave me pause. Years from now I may be in my aunt’s shoes. Even now I need to make arrangements to ensure that I am able to take care of myself if, knock on wood, in case something happens.

Thank god I have many siblings I can turn to.


Demonyitong Promdi said...

sad news..whenever it happens to a family member or friend it helps us open our eyes to the ugliness of the truth to come..


gibbs cadiz said...

buti ka pa you have many siblings to turn to. i have only 2. but nandyan naman fabcasters. nuninuninu... :)

Desperate Houseboy said...

Will pray for her.