I GOT RIPPED-OFF at church. More accurately, in front of the church, by the All Souls' Day street peddlers out front where flowers, candles and all sorts of edibles can be bought at whatever price seemed sufficient to charge a particular customer. In my youth I'd have never put up with it. But well, you get older and let more things go, hoping that your tolerance would be of some good to someone in some way.
The church was busy. Noisy. I coursed through the multitude of folks camping out at the ossuary grounds with their plastic-bag and styrofoam-packed munchies to get them through the day spent visiting loved ones who had passed on. I went to find where my grandmother's ashes lay, hung up the flowers and figured: there was not going to be a moment here. Not with all the kids running around as their elders ate and chatted the blazing afternoon away.
But there was a moment. Behind me. It was heartbreaking, that frail old woman dabbing a hanky over her tears while caressing a box with an old man's photograph taped to the front of it. The date said 1995, but you could still feel the sorrow. Even amidst the mayhem.
And then more than ever did it resolve in my mind, how privacy is the ultimate luxury in this life. To have room, space and time for contemplating, commemorating that which is significant to us. To enjoy an undisturbed moment, to heave a sigh, to shed a tear with nobody looking.
So I went home and did.
In my youth, I'd never had such moments to myself. But well, you get older and life evolves without you realizing. And while the tear I shed was partly due to missing and nostalgia, the other part was simply out of sorrow, knowing that my luxuries today, I will never share with my grandmother, except maybe in my dreams.
I said I got ripped-off. Am I ever really?
Candles at Santa Clara de Montefalco Church, Pasig. Photos by Lady San Pedro.