It was a long drive south towards the coast. So close to the coast I could feel the cool air but not close enough to smell the ocean.
Tonight’s wake was quiet, sad like other wakes. My aunt’s husband passed away years ago but I thought I saw him in his oldest son as he exited their house earlier. My aunt was kind and a caregiver all of her life. I am unclear if her four sons were born here in the United States but that didn’t matter. She and her husband raised their sons in the forties and fifties at a time when, unlike today, they were the only Filipinos for miles around. The youngest was born with cerebral palsy and I still remember meeting him for the first time. No one made a big deal that he was disabled. He just was. And while I could not communicate with him, I did feel how much he was loved by everyone around him.
Later my aunt took care of my uncle when he fell ill. In their speeches, her sons remembered she never complained, never criticized. I looked at the framed photos of her and her young family, of her and my uncle later in life. I remembered exactly what her sons recalled. Always kind. Never complained. Never criticized. Always asked questions about you and how you were doing.
It was then I began to feel overwhelmed. I had not been to a funeral since my own father passed away six years ago. I felt so many things at once. Not just of my father. Not just of my aunt.
I felt a sense of loss for those who have passed on. I felt such sadness for the elderly in general, for my grandmother on the other side of the world who passed away three days before A was born. I even allowed myself to feel anger that her pastor was trying to recruit new members during his sermon. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. I let the anger rise and fall and I let it go.
Then someone caught my eye. My cousin’s grandson was bouncing happily in her lap. At eight months old, he is quite a charmer. One look from him was everything. Love. Love lost. New love. New life. Love never ends. Love will never lose value, never run out.
Our time on Earth is finite. Our love is not.