Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Sorry Sight

I was sitting on a hard concrete bench, inside the mausoleum of my uncle. Beside me were my nieces, who also had just arrived from Tacloban. It was All Souls Day, and the scorching heat did little to deter the hundreds who came to visit the graves of their loved ones here in my father’s hometown. It was one of those Pinoy traditions, having a largely Catholic population, to observe religious holidays with a gathering of family and distant relatives. One would have thought it was a fiesta, if not for the freshly painted graves that lined the path.

A few feet away, just outside the gate, something caught my eye. An old woman was eating by herself, sitting on top of a grave. She was dressed in black, her clothes fitting poorly, and a broken rosary hung on her neck. She ate with her fingers from a plastic container; and all she was having for lunch was rice.

It was a pitiful sight, this old woman. We decided to give her some of our food, and my cousin and nephew put some on a paper plate, approached her and handed the food. She smiled in a gesture of thanks. Her eyes were almost blind from the cataracts and she had to grope for her bottle of water near her feet.

I was guessing she was one of those old ladies who would say the rosary (parapamatbat in waray) for the departed, and in exchange they would be given a small fee. We were already done praying earlier, with another old lady who led the rosary.

I continued to watch her as she finished her meal. I wondered how she was like when she was young. Was she able to go to school? Did she have children? Did she still have a family?

After her meal, she places her plastic container inside a tattered bag. I notice a tarnished ring on her finger- a remainder of a marriage probably long lost. She stoops as she walks; a sign of the advanced stages of Osteoporosis. She walks slowly with a cane, her bag and umbrella on her other hand.

I say a silent prayer for the old woman. And another of thanks, this time for my grandmother who was fortunate enough to have a family that cares for her a great deal. How hard it must be, to be old and have no one to care for you.


in-Betweener said...

gud day. i've read some of your posts and i can see that you're a very good blogger. you could put the things in your mind into words with ease.
i'm a new struggling blogger myself. i hope you could give me pointers on how to improve my writings. and i also if you could include me in your blog list. thanks man.

Phoenix said...

@ in-betweener: First of all, I'd like to welcome you to the blogging world! = )

Pointers? Hehe I'm not so sure if I should be giving them because I myself am still learning, nevertheless I do know a few things. This is too long a topic here, so I'll leave a comment on your blog.

I've added you to my links.



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