There I was, for the second night, visiting you.
It’s that time of the year again
where graves don’t seem so lonely,
all lit up
with flames, flowers and faces
I find it so beautiful, Undas...
We all might be contained
within our own circles,
but thoughts and feelings are somehow linked—
similar in remembrance
of what was lost, of what is loved.
This time always reminds me of regret.
Oh yes, my sighs are so pregnant with them,
giving birth to a nursery full of wailing cry babies.
Of someone, of something. Of anything.
How final it seems.
So much lost, so much taken.
Then the operative word, “seems”, jumps out at me.
I am reminded of grass razed by fire,
Brown, dried, burnt.
Some might leave it be and move on with their lives.
might dig beneath the dirt, dust it off,
then they might find hope.
The roots are still there, alive.
A second chance to make things right.
To nurture it better this time around.
Maybe, this is why I cling so hard to the thought
of an afterlife.
Why so many people do.
I don’t want to think of death as The End.
You’ve graced my life, our lives with so much
and I still catch myself seeing you in other people.
In this manner, you are still very much alive.
This is also why I kiss the day that you were born.
You were given to us, albeit for a short while
but you are still here in some other ways,
and I am thankful for that.
I light one of your candles, whisper my prayers,
and something touches past my right hand.
(Ah, I’ve always felt that certain emptiness with that hand.)
I see what it is, and it embraces my heart.
It is small yet so profound for me.
A white butterfly.
Choosing that moment
to flutter past me, touching me in that darkness.
It lands on one of the leaves of your floral arrangement
and stays there with me.
** For my brother, & to all my loved ones who have gone on. I also want to dedicate this to all who have lost their loved ones, either recently or long ago—the void will always be there, but the memories & love that they have given us will never be forgotten in our hearts.
Undas is a yearly tradition here, where most Filipinos flock to the cemeteries to visit their dead. Ok, I will not rule out that some go there not exactly to visit the dead but to join in the hmm, festivities (if walking through cemeteries is your thing), being with friends, eating, since of course there are lots of food stalls present during this time.