2010: The Year that (Almost) Was [Part I] • 12.21.10
It’s that time of the year again when I look back at the past 12 months to take stock of my life. To thank God for the blessings, remember the losses and cherish the gains, and hopefully, to learn from the lessons the last 12 months wish for me to learn. And also, for me to say goodbye to 2010 properly, and to welcome 2011 and face whatever the new year has in store for me.
Instead of doing what I usually do, which is to write the highlights of the year in one long essay, let me instead do it bits by bits, using old drafts in my computer. I find I have lots of them — unfinished reflections and discarded essays and attempts at poetry. I think they capture the significant moments of the past 12 months more as they were written while I was experiencing those moments, than what I could write now based on what I remember of those moments. Who knows, perhaps in trying to make sense of the discarded materials, I will also have a greater appreciation of the things life handed me this year — both the happy and the sad.
So have your cups of coffee, dear friends, and do honor me with your presence, as I reminisce the year that is about to end.
Let us begin with February.
I am often told 2010 is my year. Indeed, it seems it is in view of my little triumphs literary-wise. But behind the jubilations of this year were also tears and pains. In fact, the year began with a great loss. Let me share the moment with you through these pieces I wrote while undergoing it.
These essay and verse were written on February 8 and 9, 2010. They were originally untitled.
Of Sunrises and Sunsets, and Helloes and Goodbyes
When I woke up this morning to find my bus (I was traveling from Ilocos Norte where I attended a GF meeting) was already easing into the Metro Manila early-morning traffic, I looked up to appreciate the sunrise, as I always do whenever I am out at sunrise/sunset. I noticed this morning’s sunrise had faint shades of yellow and green. I thought it was beautiful. It was the first time I noticed those colors in a sunrise.
As I allowed myself to be awed at the scene before me, I told myself it was so great to witness Metro Manila as it is about to wake up. I allowed myself to be enveloped by the peace and quiet that descended upon me. I knew that soon, people will be everywhere, carelessly rushing to the daily grind.
I didn’t know then that perhaps at that precise moment I looked up at the sky, the world was rocking someone into deep slumber — never to wake up again. Or so she’ll never ever wake up so that though she will never see how beautiful the sunrise and the sunset are, nor smell the flowers, she will also be spared of the world’s troubles and pains.
A little over an hour after that spectacular sunrise, I received a call from my brother. My niece — soon to be eight months old in her mother’s tummy — didn’t have a pulse. The doctors are now preparing to induce birth, he said.
Tonight, I find myself sleeping on a bus — the third night in a row — this time, bound for home. To say hello and goodbye to my niece whose giggles and laughter we will never hear.
//Sherma E. Benosa; February 8, 11:54pm
Your welcome party’s still in March.
Your mother’s birth month.
Your Tita Sherma’s.
And your great granddad’s.
We were excited for you
More than you can imagine:
The first girl grandchild!
Perhaps, you were as excited as we were.
So excited, it seems, that you
Decided to come early.
Way too early
And without warning.
Silently, you came
Without the protestation of a cry —
You were asleep.
You didn’t even stir
When your parents carried you in their arms.
What a sweet, well-mannered child!
You didn’t like to bother your mother
With cries for milk and nappy change.
Thank you darling
But you forgot one thing:
You forgot to flash us your sweet smile.
Those little lips: so soft, so pink.
So very still.
For Saniata Angela Fernandez Benosa
Born and Died: February 8, 2010
//Sherma E. Benosa; February 9, 2010