Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goodbye Tatay Bering

I am having too many pains lately.

Two days after my daughter checked out from the hospital, my beloved grandfather passed away. After I got the message from my sister Ivy, I felt like my heart and mind went numb. Everything seemed stopped. After a moment, I managed to scream and sob to release the pain I was feeling.

He was 96 and he was pretty tough. I couldn’t forget his birthday because it is very easy to remember, April 13, 1913. He was my mom’s father. I just talked to him last April during my short trip back home. He was in good shape. I know for sure that he’s not going to live for 10 more years but I felt like he’s gone too soon for me. I have had many plans for him. I wanted to provide him a comfortable room but the repair is still incomplete. I wanted to give him good life but I was not able to make it because I am just starting my life here in the US and I have two college students at the same time.

I spent half of my childhood days with my grandparents. Tatay Bering was such a wonderful grandpa. When I was still young, my cousins and I gathered outside with moonlight listening to his stories. Some are interesting, funny and enchanting. I didn’t really realized how interesting his stories were until I became an adult. The interesting part was his personal experience during World War II. He was one of the loyal Filipinos who fought against the Japanese but sad to say he was not recognized by the US government unlike his other peers. I only remember one funny story he shared to us and it makes me smile every time it comes to my mind and I am sure my cousins didn’t forget it too. My favorite stories are those enchanting ones. I listened to him closely because I didn’t want to miss a single word. Those were the days when we believed about dwarfs, giants, fairies or “not like ours” so to speak.

One thing I couldn’t forget about him was when the Super Typhoon Nitang hit Surigao City and its neighboring provinces. That was the most destructive typhoon I ever experienced. There were so many animals floating in the river. Plants and trees were damaged by floodwater. Everything was damaged. My grandpa’s one and only treasure, his carabao, was nowhere to find. He presumed that the carabao was still alive because he didn’t see its body floating in the river and aside from that, he left the carabao in the farm and it was away from the river. He was checking the neighboring barangays hoping and praying to find it. And the sad part was that he just walked to and fro, with his barefoot. He was searching for it for a long time until he gave up. I could imagine how sad he was that time. The carabao was his work buddy. Now, while I am penning this post, I feel like my heart is squeezed hard. I could hardly imagine how he worked hard after the carabao was gone.

Tatay Bering loved to watch movies. I bet his favorite actor was Jackie Chan or maybe Bruce Lee. I have this guess because I knew that the neighboring “Betamax house” where he went to liked to play “Karate movies”, in fact their favorite was the “The Drunken Master”. He also loved to listen to news and drama over the radio. He was also a strong man, I remember when he was in his 60’s and he had an arm fight with one of my uncles, he won fight. No one ever messes with him because he’s got a “garote” with him all the time to defend himself.

I remember we had peanut plants in the farm. And during harvest time, Tatay gathered all his grandchildren including me, and we have this particular portion to harvest the peanuts, afterwards he is going to pay us with peanuts and many times we also sell our share to him because we wanted money.

I had fond memories of him and I will be missing him forever.

Goodbye Tatay Bering. May you rest in peace ‘tay.

We all love you.

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