As some of you may know, my grandfather passed away recently, and I had to leave the sprawling metropolis of Manila to attend the funeral in Bicol.
Funerals being funerals, there in't really much to say - the women with their sobbing and weeping, and the men with their watery eyes and their silence. Listening to the final funeral service, walking behind the funeral car on the way to cemetery - these are normal fixtures of ceremony when somebody dies. Finality comes as the coffin is slowly lowered into the ground, and as the stone lid is placed on top of the rectangular hole and cemented shut, one finally comes to terms with the fact that the person whom you've known your whole life, that adorable and jolly old man who liked to shout "Tsya na!" and "Open, open!" has gone for good.
To quote Neil Gaiman from the Sandman Vol. 7 - Brief Lives: "You are mortal: it is the mortal way. You attend the funeral, you bid the dead farewell. You grieve. Then you continue with your life."
Speaking of continuing, coming back to Manila was not something I looked forward to. Stepping off the plane and watching cars streak past my window I realized how fast everything went in the city - time, love, life. I found it all profoundly sad. It's like before you know it, your life has gone by and all that's left are regrets and opportunitites lost, and memories of scraps and fragments of things that once were.
And so life continues on.