What is Death?

I never thought death was a thing until my grandmother died.

When I was little, I lived with my mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and two younger sisters. Before bed, grandpa always recounts the same old bedtime stories every single night. And we loved it. Grandma on his left side of the bed. Mom and Dad stay in a different room with my youngest sister. My second sister and I sleep in a single bunk bed near our grandparents.

My world revolved around them. I wouldn’t have imagined something like dying will take one of them away from me so early.

It was a February in 2009 when everything changed and it is still fresh on my mind. My grandma lost her life at dawn.

But the night before was my biggest regret.

The new house was just finished. We transferred house before it is completed. The room on the first floor was already livable. There was a room next to the bathroom. That was my grandparent’s. Our bed was just outside that room within hearing reach.

“Apok, umay ka man ditoy. Maynak kadwaen,” she said to me in Ilocano (Filipino dialect). But I was texting and I didn’t want to be disturbed. I didn’t go. I pretended to not hear anything. Not a word.

(in English: “Grandchild, come here. Accompany me.”)

She was crying.
Her voice was calm.
She tried to talk.
I was a fool.

Morning came and I have well slept. Grandpa was yelling.

“Wake up! Wake up! Please, Wake up!”

I heard faint agony on his delicate voice. I stood and walked to the bedroom door. My grandma was lying on the bed with her eyes closed and her body still. Grandpa was performing a CPR and all she ever did was nothing.

It hit me hard. I let an important matter pass. What happened last night was an unfulfilled goodbye. She tried to talk to me and I neglected a wish.

It still bothers me up to this day. What would have been her last words? Did she know it was her time? If I talked to her that night, would she still be alive?

I wouldn’t know…



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