Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Goodbye is the hardest word to say

Feb. 23, 2010

It's 11:35 PM. I just woke up. Woke up from a dream. I dreamt of receiving a call, telling me of Daddy Cap, my grandfather's death. I wanted it to be just a dream. But it is real.

I recalled being in a state of euphoria earlier the day. It was a morning of victory for the approval of Organic Agriculture Ordinance we lobbied in the City Council. After, it was another day of office work- finishing the research draft while listening to music on earphones. My phone rang but I didn't hear it. Then, I received a text. “Kek patay na si Papadar.” I blinked. I wished those words were not true.

Death. It's the suddenness. The gripping truth of goodbye. Of life's definitiveness.

Then tears keep falling.

Daddy Cap, the patriarch of Capili clan. THE source of our “matanglawin” genes. The eyes with smaller than the average person's pupil (In my case, smaller pupil and cornea)

I remembered Nana Cion (Daddy Cap's elder sister) telling me how he got that distinct 'characteristic'. When their mother was heavy with him, their mother saw a black crow one afternoon and stared at it intently. Just stared at that crow for so long. And lo and behold, five to six generations later, Capili family will have that 'cross-eyed' gene. Our ophthalmologist, amazed by this genetic disorder, told us that it is stronger particularly in male members of the clan. Who needs the expensive DNA test to prove you're a part of the family; that you're the missing son or daughter, if you possess this number one Capili indicator?

Despite Daddy's poor eyesight, he reads the Daily Bread. He keeps his cellphone very close to his eyes while texting. Most of the time, he texts without punctuations. He reads The Philippine Star daily; reads the headlines, the opinion section and analyzes the cartoon editorial for the last two digit clue. I asked him how he would determine the 'clues'. He would just shrug. He is a number games analyst. I call him the last-two magnate. He always win. The last time he won, he bought his winnings for lechon and ube and durian ice cream for the family gathering.

He has a good memory.He doesn't need that Prime Memory drink. When I lost my ATM card, I forgot my account number. But he didn't. He is our mini telephone directory. What's Uncle Bong's landline number? Just ask him.

He likes watching sports on TV. We used to watch boxing, billiards and basketball. We made our bets. We are both Purefoods fan. But if it's Alaska vs. San Miguel, I would bet on Alaska. He would bet on San Miguel. If he wins, I have to scratch his back and massage his feet. When Pacquiao defeated Erik Morales on the third round of their third showdown, he said it was a sold-out fight. He argues about the "politics behind the boxing arena."

He's a good sales man. Started at the beverage company, then went to educational and pension plans until he retires. He sells what he strongly believes in. I know he was devastated when CAP Plans and the rest of educational and pension plans industry collapsed. After all, some of their clients bought the plans because of him. Because his clients trust him. He lose some friends after that. Some even blamed him. But you don't have a hold of what's coming. The bubble market that suddenly bursts. He was the best source for my crisis communication case study on educational plans. He taught me about stocks exposure and the importance of trust and credibility in selling.

The salesman in him remained. He continues to sell Fern C.He even uses his salesmanship on me. He recruited me to join Fern C network. He tells me to take my Vitamin C daily. “Mabuti yang may Fern C, hindi ka madaling tablan ng sakit. Di ka madaling ubuhin. Kung bumabyahe, uminom ka para masarap ang tulog mo.” Still a salesman even on his remaining days. His reminder of my daily dose of Vit. C is his way of telling me, to always keep safe. To take care of my body.

He is the one who told me why priests always eat papaya (insert a naughty grin here from him). He loves to have his midnight snack- fox candy, watermelon, pomelo, and peanuts. He wants soup. Anything that is masabaw. To which Mommy Au would remark, “ Ang hilig mong magsabaw. Para kang nagpapasusong nanay!” He loves lechon's crispy skin. He likes sinampalukang kambing. He loves to eat whatever Mommy Au prepares.

He is a funny man. His favorite prank? It's the loudest release of gas. While walking at the terrace, he would stop. Sandali. Then Pbbrffft! The louder, the better. Then he would burst into laughter.

After high school graduation he gave me Francisco Colayco's book on financial management. He said, “Always save 10% of your money. Save up. Invest wisely.Be your own bookkeeper.” “Always think positive, Think wealthy. You beget what you think, what you say. Be careful on what you think about and what the words you utter.”

He wanted to know who would be the (un)lucky guy who would snatch our (my sister and I) hearts. He jokes about my lovelife. He keeps on reminding me to find a man who is responsible, knows how to cook (so that I would not be deprived nutritionally. Cooks are good lovers, he said) and importantly, who loves me more than I do. He said, “Dapat makilala ko sino man yang maging boypren mo ha? Dapat makilatis.Hindi playboy.” Of course. It takes one to know one.

Last December reunion, after the picture taking, he was grinning ear to ear. I know he is happy seeing the family; his other apos from London and Manila. I was taking pictures with my cousins and younger brother from my camera phone when he nudged, “Oh bat tayo wala pang piktyur?” I teased him for becoming a camwhore. “Ganyan talaga.Dapat may remembrance ang kakisigan.”

There are so much about him I want to say. He is not only my grandfather. He stood as my father too. Trying to compensate, taking the role his junior failed to do. It's the course of second generation of family history. Mistakes repeated. Blaming will not get us anywhere. It's a part of living, of learning, receiving and giving love.

I heard so much about him. His lapses and his goodness. But who am I to judge him on his lapses? He might not be the perfect father but he is the best grandfather a granddaughter like me could ever have. I am lucky to be old enough to remember these memories of him; grateful for the time spent with him.

To borrow from Andrew Rivera, “Existence is a story. We spend so much time sifting through our memories; it serves only to show how much life has already dribbled through our fingers, how many stories have gone untold.”

So I am sharing this story. The snippets of life with a man who is my grandfather.

To Daddy CIRILO CAPILI,SR. Thank you. I love you.

Ikaw ang pinakakisig na congressman for me.
This is his Chavit Singson stance. :)


Anonymous said...

grabe!ONE of the best I've read....


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