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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Daughter of The Mistress...

"Are you the daughter of the mistress???", this is the English translation of a 6-year-old boy's interrogation at me on my dad's wake one night. I was in a corner of the memorial chapel playing my guitar when all of a sudden I heard his voice asking that question with such sarcasm. He took me by surprise and I really didn't know how to address his query. Good thing, my half brother was behind him at that time and he asked the boy to go with him somewhere. Maybe he had a word with that boy but I really didn't care.

Who wouldn't talk about the mistress and her children on that wake, anyway? We actually don't know most of those people who came since they did not come to sympathize with our grief. Of course they only cared about the first family's feelings. Our presence there only made the situation awkward.

My father had a heart attack here in Manila. That was 8 years ago and I was 17 years old. We were in Mindanao when my Dad's colleague called my mom and informed her about my Dad's comatose condition in Makati Medical Center. After 3 days, we left for Manila by plane and immediately went straight to the hospital.

My 3 half brothers greeted us in the hospital lobby. It was our first time to meet 2 of my half brothers, Pula and Relly. Charlie does frequent visits in our house when our Dad was still alive. All three of them glared at me and then Charlie elbowed Pula and Relly and said, "I told you, Katrina and Ally definitely look alike!" He was referring to their youngest sister. She wasn't around when we arrived. They said she has to run some errands and also have to attend to her baby.

I was overwhelmed with grief when I saw Tatay in the ICU. He was lying there, so still but breathing with the help of the tracheal intubation. Remembering that moment, I still couldn't believe that it was really happening. We were crying in the ICU and talked to Tatay. We were told that he could still hear us so I asked forgiveness to him and held his hand.

Tatay died around 12 midnight that same day after the Extubation (removal of the tube) was performed by the doctors. Both families agreed to have the life support removed since, as advised by the doctors as well, Tatay wouldn't survive anyway. Aside from that, we can't afford to pay the increasing hospital bill.

That night, I met my half sister Katrina. She was hysterical that night in the hospital. Everyone in her family were really concerned about her. I never had the chance to talk to her that night. She wasn't allowed in the morgue because she looked like she will breakdown eventually. She looked so frail so one of my half brothers decided to take her home. I thought to myself, she and Tatay might have had a strong father-and-daughter bond. I envy her for that.

The next day, both families talked about the hospital bill. My father lived his life as a labor union consultant and never saved money when he was alive. We also discovered that he never even enrolled himself for an insurance. Maybe nobody told him about what is term life insurance or he just didn't bother getting himself one when he was alive.

My mom didn't have enough money and really couldn't think clear as to how we could contribute from the hospital expenses to the burial. The only thing that we could think of was to have my college plan encashed so that we could give our share. I wasn't worried about my college tuition that time since I was studying at Mindanao State University where College Educational Plans are worthless because we get to pay cheap tuition. Both parties agreed to that and I signed the papers in the hospital since our contribution will cover most of the hospital bill.

My father's funeral service was of course done here in Manila and most of the people who came were the 1st family's relatives and friends. We only knew my father's colleagues and they were the ones who helped us during our stay here in Manila.

I can't help but notice the glares of those who didn't like our presence. Although the first family treated us well, there's still that underlying gap between both families and I just can't ignore that. I was actually counting the days for the burial so that we can go home after that and be back with our normal lives. We were never comfortable during the wake.

My mom was so depressed that time. She seldom eat and most of the time slept in a bench at the corner of the memorial chapel. She will just give us money so that me and my brothers could eat somewhere. You just can't imagine the agony we felt during this time of our lives.

At the day of the burial, me and my Mom went back to my father's colleague's house to get some of our things. It was a 4-hour ride from Caloocan where the funeral service was set. I didn't know that my mom didn't plan to go back for the burial so I went with her. When we got there, my mom just cried her heart out and there was nothing I can do but wait until she decides to go back. We went back but that was after the burial. I actually understood why my mom did that although she never told me the reasons. The situation could have been awkward if she was also there at the burial.

A day after my father was buried, my mom has somehow come to her senses. She thought about the educational plan that we were about to get encashed and decided against it. She thought I might still need it in the future. She said that she will just think of another way to contribute which she did but wasn't enough to compensate how much the educational plan should have covered.

That's when me and my half siblings grew farther apart. Maybe they thought that my Mom and I couldn't keep our words. We promised to give something and in the end just take it all back.

I never saw anyone of them for years now. I send text messages sometimes to our eldest brother Relly just to ask how they were doing. There were actually times that I tried to reach out to them but they always have excuses not to see me. Well, at least I tried.

Sometime this year, I once texted Relly and learned from him that Katrina is also working as a call center agent and that her company is just beside where I am working. I asked for her number but Relly didn't give it to me. Maybe she didn't want to hear from me and didn't want to see me at all. I felt bad about it but there's nothing I can do. It would have been fun if I get to spend sometime with her and get to know her.

I'm the daughter of the Mistress and I don't have a problem with that. I just hope that my half siblings would accept that fact and give us a chance to talk to them one day. I still hope to see them. I always want to get close to them and get to know them even more.

12 comments:

zorlone said...

This is an inspiring story! Both families must have had a hard time coping with each other during the tragic times.

I have seen a similar case when I was still a resident in training. There was this man who was chronically bedridden and both of the families (the first and second) were there. But, there was some hostility towards the second family. I don't know whether the first family truly hates the second family (the mistress) or they were just coaxed into doing so.

I think during the last few days the patient was alive, the second family was forbidden to see him. At least you were with your dad during his last few days and also during the wake and funeral service.

Your half brothers and sisters might be a bit confused how to treat you, specially in our setting. There are a lot of "parties" within the family. You can't please everyone, but I am hoping to hear of a better news from you.

There might still be a reconciliation, that's why I said the story is inspirational rather something else.

Have a good day at work!

Z

anne said...

Ok lang yan girl God saw all the things youve done just to be close to them, wag na lang nating pansinin muna in time magkakaayos din kau

feron said...

Hope is always a given thing, the right time will come, but don't lose it, take care, God knows what's in your heart...

Scotty's Princess said...

This is heart-rending! I understand what u must have to go through and the rest of the family. I hope In God's time, they will come to realize that the same blood is running through your veins and eventually would let you IN and your brothers as well in their hearts...

ally said...

zorlone,

Thank you! hahaha! I was in the mood of telling sad story yesterday doc!

Have a great day!


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Anne,

You're right Anne! I'll keep on hoping for that. Take care!

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Feron,

Thanks a lot Feron! U take care also!

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Scotty's Princess,

Tama ka jan te! By the time they realize it, I'd still be here to open up my heart to them! Ingat te!!!

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Bill said...

I know the pains of having somebody die and not know where the money comes from to take care of last right. My mother died about two years ago and she had no money also. Have a great one Ally.

zorlone said...

In the mood to tell a sad story? uh-oh! too much telenobela for you young girl! LOL

ally said...

Bill,

Really? I'm sorry bout ur loss too! U take care Bill!

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zorlone,

hahaha! Telenobela, indeed! My life is full of that crap, Z! Drama! Drama! I've learned a lot from them, though!

Windmill said...

Hi Ally,

Allow me to write an eulogy for your Dad.

Your Dad was a great man.

He spread his love to others while others feel that it is right to love ONLY one person for the rest of their lives.

Your Dad knew and lived the first Commandment of God, "Increase and Multiply".

May God Rest his soul!

I guess, this makes the Muslim men the personification of Love - they are allowed to have four wives (officially by their Faith) and perhaps a few more thrown in for good measure.

ally said...

Windmill,

hahaha!!! I don't think people in the funeral will accept that eulogy Windy!!!

Nedekcir said...

Curiosity bring questions in my part...lol. I have to ask, "How do you feel with this kind of relationships?", living arrangements? I'm curious like I said.

all said...

living arrangements when I was young? well, me and my siblings were single-handedly raised by my mom. My dad wasn't around most of my life. He just got back to us when he got sick and I was in high school back then...