Grief has its stages. I just never knew that being empty could be one of the stages. The last time I saw you and posed for such stupid pictures, I didn’t know it was the last time I would be seeing you, followed only by the cold dead face of a corpse, whose eyes still resembled yours.
But it is not you anymore is it? The brain, the consciousness, the smile, the energy, it’s all gone isn’t it, brother?
I see our sister trying to hold herself together for your parent’s sake. I see her crying thinking about all the times she saved you when you exposed her mistakes, crying about the fights over the bigger room, crying over your parents and how they don’t have anything to do in their life anymore.
I saw the pictures, yours and mine. You said you were getting better and I believed you. I saw the video of you dancing, shot just a few days ago and you looked better, or in fact, you looked like you. The person I knew before he got into the mess.
Your mom’s face looked like that of a dead china doll. She hardly spoke a word until she saw your friends. How dare she believe that you would listen to them and not her?
Doesn’t she know? You had a thousand friends in thousand different places but only one mother to go back to. I heard a small sentence get uttered from her lips, “It’s unbearable” and trust me brother, it is more unbearable than anyone can imagine.
She saw you leave in front of her eyes and tried to stop you. There’s anger in her that she couldn’t do it. Your father was coming in the middle of the night to take you back. There’s guilt in them both that she didn’t let him. She feels like she couldn’t be a good mother, because her heart didn’t burst out the second you died. She couldn’t have known. She didn’t know. Not even hours after you were dead and gone.
No one knows what truly happened. They can only speculate. But I think I have a pretty good guess. There’s so much I can tell you. About how we all feel betrayed. One word and you could have been saved, perhaps. One different choice and your parents wouldn’t be broken today. One sane decision and your sister wouldn’t be burdened with sticking a broken family back together again.
You were always the notorious one, yet the kind one. Everyone kept warning you: don’t drive fast, don’t get into bad stuff, eat more, take care of your health. Everyone knew this day would come sooner or later. But we all expected it to be much later. Much much later.
You died in the house you were born in, with your parents sleeping in the house they built just for you. A closet full of clothes and jackets, an almirah full of blankets and quilts and you died half-naked with wet clothes shivering all night.
Do you call it destiny? That your lifeline was short? Did no one tell you that life is quite fragile? You have to be careful with it, hold it tightly and nicely in both your hands because once it leaves you, it doesn’t just take your soul along, but also that of all those you knew.
If I believed in afterlife, God, resurrection, or perhaps even heaven, I would delude myself into a bit of peace. But I can’t. I can’t adhere to what everyone has been telling your mother.
I can’t believe your father’s fake reassurance to his daughter that everything would be alright.
Everything hasn’t been alright for you for a long time now but no one minded because you were still here and smiling.
And now you’re not.
Rest in Peace, brother. I loved you and I love you like we shared the same blood.