Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beijing and Goodbye

Up to this very moment, I still do not know how to put my Beijing experience into words. My heart would pound every time I try to recall what happened on that one fateful day.

It was on October 19, 2013 when I left for Beijing with my friend Richard and cousin Jocelyn. That was the birthday of my Inang Yaya. Before leaving, we celebrated her 62nd birthday over lunch with some of her friends whom I invited to come over. Inang Yaya was surprised upon seeing her former kachikahan. On a wheelchair, she had a small chat with them talking about goings-on of everyone. Then, everybody sang her the birthday song with a candle on a cake followed by a simple lunch altogether. 

She was happy. I know she was. On the hindsight, I was thanking God that she was able to celebrate her birthday alive. 

Back Story

To at least have Inang Yaya live up to her 62nd birthday was what I asked from God and it was answered. She was diagnosed of liver cirrhosis on April 2013 along with complications in kidney brought by her multiple stroke. The medical doctor then told me that her mortality is about to end in 6 months. I was whistling Dixie. I believed that she could live longer than that. Coupled with researches about her situation, I looked for organic solutions to her illnesses. Like an obedient child, she would take whatever it was that she had to take no matter how bad it tasted just to improve her condition. 

We religiously brought her to specialists to monitor her organs and medication updates. However, her weight loss was unstopping. It was on September 2013 when she was referred to a hematologist and diagnosed that she has chronic myelogenous leukemia. An uncommon type of blood cancer. Right then on, my dire belief that she would recover lessened as another opponent joined the battle.

Last Goodbye

40 minutes past 2PM it was time to leave for a 7PM-flight to Beijing. I settled Inang Yaya first to her bed after changing her nappy. My exact words before I left were "Pagaling ka". She just nodded and did not say a thing. I knew she was excited for my trip as she always was every time I travel.

Days prior to this day I was thinking of cancelling my trip as Inang Yaya was confined in the hospital. Yes, she was confined in the hospital 6 days before her 62nd natal day. What made me decide to push this trip was when she was released by her doctor from the hospital. I knew that the ultimatum could happen anytime soon but not sooner than I expected. I was positive that she could live longer than what her doctor was expecting.

Beijing Sojourn

We arrived Beijing on a cold midnight of October 19. We were then transferred to hotel and rested for the next day's tour.

Beijing, for me, is a laid back kind of place. To my surprise, this city does not belong to the cities of lights. Barely you can see billboards on the expressways and even on the avenues. And I can not recall that I noticed any international brand campaign streamer elsewhere. Maybe that is part of communism. Anyway, if you want to see both touches of modernity and the past then Beijing is perfect for you.

The first 2 days of our stay was devoted to attractions visit - Summer Palace, Ming's Tomb, The Water Cube, Bird's Nest, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and The Great Wall of China. Of all I enjoyed my experience in Tiananmen Square. Never mind its bloody history but there's something in there that made me feel that I was really in another world. Of course, the great wall experience was surreal.

But the best part of our stay in Beijing was the location of our hotel. It is located near a hutong. It is a small alleyway or lane. It is typical of the old part of Beijing and is formed by lines of siheyuan (a compound made up of rooms around a courtyard ) in which most Beijing residents used to live. This place offers many cheap buys from souvenir items to different kinds of food to posh and simple diners to club to bookstores to everything!

Our Last Day, Her Last Day

Strangely, I woke up at 4AM of October 22 in the middle of my sleep. I saw Inang Yaya's face on my friend's face. Thinking that it was just an imagination, I went back to my sleep.

It was 7AM when I received an SMS from my sister telling me that Inang Yaya already passed away. I immediately Vibered her and asked for details. A lot of details. She was found lifeless already with a peaceful face and open hands. As if she willingly surrendered herself to death.

I broke down. That was the most painful news I ever heard. I felt guilty for not being on her side during her last hour. I thought she would wait for me but she cheated me. She knew that I would not let her go if I was there. It would be harder for her to leave. Hence, she made me believe that her passing was not happening anytime soon.

My friend and my cousin comforted me the best way possible. We spent the remaining hours elsewhere in Beijing before we flew back to Manila and went straight to her funeral. When I saw her face I felt relieved. The sight of peace was glaring on her aura. She peacefully died.

To Inang Yaya, I know you're in a happier place now. Smiling as always. No more pain. No more weird juices to take.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for spending 29 years of your life with me. You know how much I love you. If you would only know how much I'm longing for you.

Happy trip! See you soon.