Homecoming – the perfect word for that day. I was quite thankful to the priest who used that word when he held a mass that day for someone close to a lot of people’s hearts, most especially to me and my family’s.
It was the second Saturday of February and we were in the province for my grandfather. My mom’s father, we call him Daddy Love, a nickname dubbed by my mom and a name that stuck to him ever since. We were there to be with him to see him off as his time on earth has already come to pass.
The day before was the first time both my brother and I saw him again. My grandmother, mom, and aunt were already there days earlier, in the home of my grandmother’s parents. They welcomed us and told us to check on Daddy Love. He was wearing his blue uniform with a smile in his face, as if he was just asleep. I always thought that uniform was the nicest one he had and wearing it that day seemed right. There was a Philippine flag laid on top of his casket, together with his hat and some white flowers. He was actually surrounded by these white flowers with splashes of green and it looked beautiful. Serene.
That evening, a band was invited to sing as both my mom and aunt thought that having one would be relaxing for everyone as it was something light and easy. Something they knew Daddy Love would like as well. I barely slept that night, choosing instead to talk to my cousins on different things, laughing, and reminiscing on memories past. Deep inside, I was sad. My brother grieved too. And I knew that if this is how we felt, my mom, my aunt, and Mommy Love, my grandma, were feeling the same things only this time, magnified by ten or one hundred times greater.
Hours later, Saturday came and it was time.
I could not believe the pleasant surprise that greeted me when I went outside the gate. There was a carriage adorned in silver and gold and filled with white flowers, pulled by a white horse. The entire family was dressed in white as well. In spite of our grief, we were quite thankful to see that at least our Daddy Love’s last moments were beautiful and peaceful.
Following the carriage, we walked all the way to the church where the priest said those soothing words that reminded all of us that though it may be sad for all those that Daddy Love left behind, it is also a good day for him as he has already returned to his true home, which is with our God. Those simple words brought me comfort as I believe it also did to the rest of its hearers. It was my aunt who gave a speech afterward, preferring to keep it brief but sincere by expressing her gratitude to everyone who has helped us through that time and sharing how Daddy Love has remained to be a shining star for all those whom he has met and loved.
We then proceeded walking all the way to the Daddy Love’s final resting place. After the 21 gun salute and the folding of the Philippine flag, his casket was closed and it was over. White balloons were sent flying into the sky and I was not sad then and there. I was simply quiet as my mind kept saying we love you, Daddy Love, we love you, Daddy Love, we love you, Daddy Love. I let the tranquil moments of the walk back to the main road continue to keep me silent yet reflective.
We love you, Daddy Love. Thank you. And as my aunt said, see you later.