By Lissa Romero de Guia
AUGUST 26, 2022
It is about ten in the morning. The children and I are at a resort in Asin, to attend a birthday pool party and enjoy the first sunny day in the week. What a pleasure it is to feel the sun warm our bones, after days of fog and rain and cold. While the rest of the country complains of the heat, we highlanders embrace it.
In a couple of weeks, we mark the sixth month since you have left us behind on this earthly plane. Well, that’s not entirely true. You are still around, though your body has been reduced to ashes and sits in an urn on top of our fireplace, our family altar. The children and I feel you wrap your arms around us when we do family group hugs. I sometimes imagine that you are listening to our conversations as we sit around the dinner table or an evening bonfire. I speak with you every day, sometimes with my face streaked with tears. Yes, though I hear your voice as clear as day, I still miss you terribly.
It’s hard not to miss you, for your presence was like the sun: constant, bright, unconditional in the warmth you gave everyone, may they be a fresh acquaintance or a family member or an old friend. You were a singular human being in that you were unflappably upbeat, naturally optimistic, ready to help or serve in any way.
You often told me, when we spoke about dreams or goals or life purpose, that your highest joy was to make others happy. My mind that was programmed to measure self-worth according to achievements sometimes could not comprehend that answer. I would say, “Well, yes. And? Isn’t there anything you’d personally like to achieve for yourself?” And of course, you would mention a few, such as make your own film, run the cinematheque, travel, etc. But you would always end this by saying that, in spite of all of those things, making others happy was your highest joy. And I believed you, for that was how you lived.
You were the son who took every call, who came to your parents’ aid whether it was for tech support or how to troubleshoot any of the family businesses. You were the kuya who would come to his brothers’ aid or simply be available for a quick game of pusoy dos. You were the friend who was willing to lend a sympathetic ear or give “guidance counseling sessions” over coffee or a beer.
In our little family unit, you were the funny one, the one who made our kids laugh during their bedtime stories. You were Mary to my Martha. I was all too serious about life while you always reminded me to trust in the goodness of the Divine. You were – still are – my friend that I could talk Universe with. In the ups and downs we experienced in our relationship, I knew I could rely on the constancy of your love. And now, as Spirit, you are showing me its depth and unconditional power.
In the first couple of months after you left us, Kalinaw would often say that the house now felt too big for us, for that was how much space your presence occupied. Slowly, we are filling those spaces: Kalinaw has moved into your editing room, while the playroom is now Mimi’s. It’s still going to take a while before we reach some kind of order. We used to joke that it has taken us nearly 11 years to grow into this home of ours. Now, we three continue to grow into this home, to find new shapes and forms that reflect us. Yet we continue to carry you with us. You still complete us as a family.
Now that you are physically gone, I feel even more loved and supported by you. We seem to float on a river of grace, showered with love by family and community, the recipients of countless blessings and opportunities. I suspect that you are working with the Divine in continuing to support and protect us, your little family. I am truly grateful for your love. Your name is Kidlat, but you are our sun. We still feel your warmth and see your light. You lived as Love does, and we will continue to strive to be the vibration of love we know ourselves to be.
This is not goodbye. We have shared lifetimes with you and know we will continue to travel as a soul family.
You are everywhere now. I sense you in the cool evening breeze, in the morning’s tender light. I feel your smile in the sky’s blueness, see your soul in butterfly wings. When we laugh, we hear you laugh along with us. We smile at each other with kindness, with open, fragile hearts, hoping that we can embody the example of love you left us, for it is in loving one another better that we can truly keep you alive.
You used to look at me with the most tender of expressions, telling me that you loved me more than I will ever know. Now I have the rest of my life to explore just how deeply our love goes, though I suspect that I do love you more than I will ever know.
I love you, Kidlat. Though you are with me still, I will miss you forever.