How ironic it is that one clings on to life when it's slipping away. It is perhaps because of the denial that everything is temporary that we throw life away carelessly. As the thought of fading sinks in, one realizes that life will not go on forever and time will waste away extinguishing the hope of reconnecting with loved ones.
With the imminence of death comes a dying wish to see a brother's face. A wish that called out to family far and wide. A wish that led to an unexpected reunion for a family set apart by the vastness of ego and brought together by the inevitability of impermanence.
A happy get together featuring half of the gang who took time to join the gathering with the beautiful Camiguin as backdrop. They made sure I captured the shadow of Camiguin. 😅
A family that laughs together, stays together.
At St. Padre Pio Apostolic Farm - Balingoan, Misamis Oriental
My grandfather being the eldest of his siblings wanted to be there for his younger brother who is now bedridden and have lost the will to fight. His brother has persistently asked to see him before it was too late. So he and the whole family with the exception of few flew from Cebu to Misamis Oriental to fulfill his brother's wish to see him. It wasn't a planned vacation and we encountered a lot of issues just to make the trip. My grandfather's health was fragile thus careful planning had to be done. Everybody was anxiously waiting for his doctor's permission to make the trip. As soon as we got the go signal, a collective breath of relief was released and was immediately replaced by a sense of urgency. I immediately booked their tickets although separately and on different days. I booked them one group at a time because schedules and responsibilities had to be settled first for each one of them. It didn't run smoothly. In addition to the complexities of their schedules, we experienced technical issues during booking so I had to find other ways to book the rest of my family. Surprisingly, all nine of them ended up on the same plane. 😌
My sister, her kids and I went ahead to Cagayan de Oro days before their flight for a different gathering. We met up with my grandfather's entourage at Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in time for the reunion. They opted to hold the reunion in my late great grandparents' ancestral home in Kinoguitan, Misamis Oriental to go back to the family's roots.
It was a gathering filled with yells of excitement, tears of mixed emotions, never-ending gratitude, and old people dancing cha-cha to the beat of laughter. It was heartwarming to look at them cry and laugh, and trying so hard to push themselves to dance. Some couldn't even walk properly without support. It was a scene to remember!
Thank yous flew like confetti along with tears and hugs. Stories were exchanged retracing the family's rich history and everyone was eagerly scheming for an even bigger gathering in the near future. The very first formal and organized reunion of this family's clan. We all have learned the value of time, life and connections through the eyes of old age.
Along with the passing of time and the rising of age, a reunion of siblings by blood and by law have become a deepening prayer that no one imagined would come true. Tears fell as the prayer was answered; tears of regret for the wasted time and tears of happiness for the miraculous chance to make up for it.
My grandfather and her sister at the boulevard of Kinoguitan. Only the two of them has the energy to travel the roads of their home to be reunited with their other siblings.
It really is ironic that it is in the call of death that we answer life's invitation to live it as much as we can with the people that matters.
Although not anymore complete, the siblings felt whole. They have brought back life to a fading existence and have turned a wish for death into a wish of serenity. Serenity for the remaining time left to enjoy this fleeting life. Love does move in mysterious and miraculous ways. It turned a dying wish to into an answered prayer.