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Disappearing Act

BORED AGAIN - BORED AGAIN By Maddle Llacer () - November 5, 2006 - 12:00am
Little River, California - As I watched the sunset from the balcony of my room here at Little River Inn, I am grateful for the challenges I've encountered since the day I arrived here in California. Call it Halloween jinx or something just to keep me from being bored again.

The delay in retrieving my luggage from the airport carousel was the reason I missed my bus to Fort Bragg by five minutes and had to spend a night in Sonoma. Luckily, a Filipina was the manager on duty at a local inn. Upon learning that I came from the Philippines, she happily gave me a discounted rate for my overnight stay.

I cracked my molar while tasting a cracker with a very dried tomato in it. My worst nightmare is to look for a dentist while traveling. I take it as a sign to slow down and pay attention to what I'm putting in my mouth.

The ultimate coup de grace came this morning as I woke up and found out that my camera is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I was looking forward to my trip to Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and golf here at Little River when my camera decided to take a break.

The thought of experiencing something new and beautiful sans the camera to capture those moments made me cry. Yes, this is one dramatic scene where I parked by the coast of Northern California, sat inside the car and started crying as the huge waves crashed by the bluffs. Should I ruin my weekend over a broken camera? I just decided to get over it and headed towards the greens.

Just when I was parked in the 8th hole, I received a call from my funeral director informing me that my casket is long overdue for pick up. I just have to schedule for delivery if I couldn't find time to be there. How convenient!

When my dad passed away, he left a fully loaded, shiny white casket. I can assure you that this is one thing family members do not fight over. My dad is a builder of temples, a cowboy and a magician. He's just a funny guy despite his seriousness.

He suffered this lung disease called emphysema to a point where he uses oxygen tanks to breathe. The night before, I messaged him not to be afraid because when the time comes for him to leave; I will be there with him in spirit. He left his body in the hospital's ICU at dawn while we were all asleep at home.

I wasn't really that close with my dad. We didn't get along most of the time. He was the perfectionist and overcritical figure that built strong layers of defense around him. Despite our indifferences, I was there to take care of his remains when everyone went home to bed. I had the presence of mind and trusted my intuition to decide how my dad's movie would end as the credits roll up the screen. He was to be cremated and his remains placed in a Buddhist temple.

The night before the funeral, I went through a pile of Mass cards when one caught my attention. It was Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. I took out the shiny, silver medal attached to it and read the instruction booklet on how to activate its powers. I fell asleep on the couch, clutching the medal on to my heart.

I had a surreal dream about me and my dad. We didn't say anything but I understood a lot of things about his life especially those times when I thought he was the villain when all he tried to do was cover up for my mom. The moment I hugged him and asked forgiveness, I woke up sobbing for about half an hour until the pain in my heart healed. I took the medal and laid it on top of his body as I close the casket in time for the cremation.

My dad's funeral was multi-denominational. It is amusing how different religious sects clamor to save a departed soul. I had to organize a schedule of services from the Buddhists, Taoists, Catholics, Protestants and his fraternity. As the last rites were performed by the Buddhist monks, I closed my eyes in a sea of chanting voices around me.

I had this vision of being in a boat with my dad sailing across the stormy, dark sea. It was pitch black dark and only then did I realize how important prayers are for the departed souls because prayers serve as guiding light to help uplift souls who are still freshly yanked out of their heavy bodies. I called for assistance from the blessed mother to shine her beacon on our path as my light wasn't enough on this journey to a place where souls wait to be escorted to their final destination. I helped my dad out of the boat as we went inside a little inn with a single candlelight. I told my dad to rest for a moment as I bid him farewell because I cannot stay that long. I asked the angels to guide him in case he needs assistance.

The cremation was solemn and beautiful. I watched my dad's body go in an oven. A couple of hours later, the doors slid up and he was gone. It was magical. Do it again, dad!

Yes, those moments were captured in my camera. But on the day I was about to back up my photos in a CD, I couldn't retrieve them anymore. I was in a state of shock, not from my dad's demise but from my forever gone photos. Maybe my dad wanted me to remember him as if he's on vacation. People still ask me how my dad is, not knowing he passed away. I tell them that he just went away and he'll be back soon.

Forgiveness and life's funny moments. These disappearing acts come from the heart and are stored there forever. No back up needed.

AS I DAD FILIPINA FORT BRAGG LITTLE RIVER LITTLE RIVER INN MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA OUR LADY OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL SHOULD I SONOMA
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