Two and a half years ago, my Tita Cris texted me, asking about laptops and where to get them cheap. I asked why he needed a laptop, and he said he was going to teach catechism to kids. He asked if there was a payment scheme of a little cash out, then monthly payments. As I am naive to these kinds of conversations, I said there’s a promo with this credit card company. I didn’t figure he was asking to use my card. He’s cool. He never ran out of any financial responsibility. But that time, I just resigned so I wasn’t able to help him out.
Fast forward to a month later, my folks were in Europe, and Tita Cris had several trips to the doctor due to stomach ache. I was seated in CPK with my siblings, husband and niece when I casually asked how she was since they lived nearer. My niece then blurted out that it was cancer. We were silent and teary eyed for quite a while.
Yesterday morning I visited him. He wasn’t conscious and seemed to be in a coma. I apologized for my short comings (the playing with make up and perfume story, sorry I didn’t get him the laptop, etc) and thanked him for always taking care of all of us. I laid down beside him and told him how I will always remember him when I hear Bohemian Rhapsody, how I admired his cooking skills (he had a pancitan before and can cook so well with his eyes closed), and how he drove me to the interview of my 1st real job. I held his hand most of the time. Asked him several times if he wants to eat because we have liempo (he was craving liempo the other day).
I left our ancestral home at 3pm. I arrived home past 4. After dinner, at around 830pm I got a call from my Mom, telling me she was heading back to the old house, because Tita Cris finished his battle. She asked me to call my Dad and tell him. I said I don’t want to do it over the phone, so I called Mike and told him to break the news to Dad gently and don’t leave him alone, no matter what happens.
Half way through Tita Cris’ battle, he always said he was tired and just wanted to rest. Most of us said no. And I think I was hardest on him when I said no, you have to fight. Not everyone has the chance to fight. Fight to live. I know it was very selfish of me, but deep inside me I knew he had to fight because he deserved every minute more of his God-given life.
But I often asked God and Jesus to not make him feel pain anymore. And one time, I know I asked why do we get sick? I instantly got my answer. The priest in St. Pio suddenly said “In sickness and pain, we are one with Jesus’ suffering.” That made me move on from questioning God of my condition. I told Tita Cris that, I’m not sure how he took it.
We have all prepared for his passing, but I don’t think no one really can. Especially when I sit beside my Dad and hold his hand. His whole body shakes when he tells me how much pain he has in his heart. Having lost his parents, Ninong Mac and now Tita Cris. He says the pain is different. Very very different. And remember, just a few days back, my Uber driver told me that relationships with siblings last longer than parents and children, so it might be better to have many kids so they’ll live happier and longer together.
Dear Lord, I pray for my Dad and his siblings, that they may whole heartedly accept your will; that you need your noble servant Cris with you now. I pray that Tita Cris now serve you in the best way he can beside you. Please tell him we’ll miss him, and that we won’t be as nurtured and loved as we are without him.
Rest in Peace Tita Cris. Thank you for fighting.