Que sera, sera

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. - The Philippine Star
Que sera, sera


Nanay saw you early morning in her ICU room on the third day (May 9) she was confined in the hospital. As I write you this, she’s been hospitalized for 10 days now.

You were with her aunt, Inang Teta, when you visited her in the hospital. Inang Teta, she said, was wearing a floral duster and a katsa bandana around her head. You were in a green fatigue attire, your uniform when you were a barangay tanod in Gulod. It was a little after 7 a.m. when you both appeared to her. She knew the time because her bed was right across a wall clock.

Earlier, she had a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Right after, she saw you. In a glimpse. In a jiffy. She even heard you say: “Halika na ho (Let’s go), Inang Teta.” And just like that, you left. But you stayed in her mind’s eye, in her heart. (She has had three more attacks after that.)

It was in your leaving that she regained her vital signs, which earlier declined. We were so afraid when we got a call from the ICU nurse after she had an attack. We rushed to the hospital. She almost got intubated because her oxygen level dropped.

In the ICU, all your five sons, the solid Tenorio brothers, comforted her. The first thing she told us: “Dinalaw ako ng Tatay n’yo. (Your father visited me.)”

There was a faint smile on her face. Her voice was almost inaudible yet her tone was hopeful. She told it with verve and vitality — or was it just in my imagination?

Your love keeps her strong. What’s with love? Twelve years after your passing and your wife is still so much in love with you. She thought of you before she was rushed to the hospital. She said her sons, her apos, and the thought of you were enough to sustain her.

True to your beloved Candida’s character, she was still feisty, opinionated, and political even if she almost lost her life earlier that day. It was May 9, the day of elections. Pang, she was funny, too, because she asked us to rush home after 15 minutes of being by her side.

“Umuwi na kayong lahat at bumoto. Iboto n’yo na lamang ako kina Leni at Kiko. Sorry kanyo sa kanila at di ko mabibilugan ang mga pangalan nila (Go home all of you and vote. Vote for me for Leni and Kiko. I’m sorry that I cannot vote for them),” she said slowly, gently, gingerly.

We all laughed. It was a sign that she was getting better. But anything that concerns the country is no laughing matter. One by one, we heeded our mother’s advice. I was the last to leave her side. By 7 p.m., I had already exercised my civil right in my precinct.

Shortly after I voted, Pang, the candidates we voted for in the national and local elections were lagging behind in the counting. We lost.

Because she has a heart condition, it took us two days to tell her the results of the elections. The nurses at the ICU had a gag order. But Nanay always had a way of finding out the truth — her weakening condition notwithstanding. (When she’s passionate about something, she will always find a way. And if she can’t find a way, she will trust her gut feel.)

She knew our silence about the results of the elections was a deviant reaction. So when I finally told her about it, she already knew and had somehow already processed her reaction.

She threw a blank stare after hearing the news from me — her president, vice president, mayor and favorite lady councilor all lost. After a few moments, she asked to be served her nilaga soup.

Anong magagawa natin? Wala tayong control sa isipan ng iba. Ang mahalaga ay lumaban. Matalo man, lumaban (What can we do? We don’t have control over other people’s minds. What is important is we fought. We lost, but we fought),” she said softly.

Pang, your wife, who had invested much emotion in the recent elections, moved on just as quick. She needs to attend first to her safety and welfare. (She’s transferred from St. James Hospital in Santa Rosa City to Perpetual Help Medical Center in Biñan, where she is due to have a procedure. The doctors explained after her angiogram that there are nine blockages in her heart’s arteries; nine stents if an angioplasty will be done. But bypass is also an option. She’s already 77. Please protect her.)

At the moment, she’s in a private room with Paula, your apo. She told me last night she misses the “noise” in the ICU room where she was privy, by simply listening, to the medical concerns of other patients. She would regale us with stories about other patients. She had a detailed accounting of their concerns; anybody would think she was a social worker disguising as a patient in the intensive care unit. She never lost her touch in engaging storytelling.

But still, she has a heart condition to attend to, a concern not only to her but also to us. She’s our life. When you left in 2010, she inherited your light. You were the sun. She is the moon. Her children remain to be her treasured stars.

“Gusto ko pang humaba ang buhay ko dahil gusto ko pang pagsilbihan ang mga anak at apo ko (I still want to live longer because I want to be of service still to my children and grandchildren),” she said.

Last night, she told me you embraced her in her sleep the other night, the second time she felt you. She also knew that you are also rallying for her; that you, even if you are in another realm, are still fighting for her life. Your love keeps her alive.

“Que sera, sera,” she hummed with the music in her room. He lips parted to a beautiful smile as she sang. “Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que sera, sera.”

Then she said good night. End of video call.

It is in moments like this that I pray to your soul most fervently. Please protect your wife, the way you protected her when you were still with us. Please pray for her, too, Pang.

Thank you. I miss you the most in this time. I love you, Pang. *


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