>I’m back in my own reality—or at least physically I am. My heart, my mind and my soul are still lost somewhere in Marbel, with my family. I wanted to stay longer and be with them for at least two more weeks. But for some reason I can’t. So here I am trying to get back with my old routine and trying to recuperate from a week long sleepless nights.

My Aunt, Nanay Tess died of Leukemia. She expired a week after hospitalization because it was already on the end stage when the doctors diagnosed her. She kept her illness for a long time, keeping the signs and symptoms hidden from her siblings and children. In fact, it will never be revealed if not for a broken toilet facility. She couldn’t flush out her urine that was full of blood (hematuria) and my Aunt saw it. Her first oncologist failed to see abnormal white blood cells from her peripheral smear and ruled out leukemia making Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura as the final diagnosis. She was given hydrocortisone (steroids) for that. But her prognoses worsen-her lungs were filled with water as she developed Pneumonia. She was transferred to another hospital and there her peripheral blood smear showed abnormal white blood cells and was given a text book diagnosis- Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia.

My dad took the news really hard. He refused to speak to anyone and vent out his frustrations by calling his siblings and ranting about everything and anything. It was his way of coping with stress- I guess you call that displacement. Of course no one can blame him, in fact my uncles tried hard to set up an online streaming for my dad’s viewing. When it was finally up, he viewed for less than 3 minutes and cut it.

Ever since I can remember, my family refuses to wallow over a death of a loved one. We always end up laughing about bloopers and never cease to make one. Here are a few shots from Mamang’s wake (my Grandmother). Taken December 25, 2005:

The color PINK was assigned to our side of the family. The other clans wore different colors. We celebrated Christamas the usual way even if my Grandmother’s wake was a few feet away from the Azotea where we had games and the program.