As I sat inside the van together with my co-teachers going back to Antipolo, I felt my neck and my lower back hurt like crazy while my eyes irritate due to lack of sleep. It was a long tedious route back home. I could still hear the obscure chattering inside my head, but my body was so weak that all I wanted was to hit the bed. I closed my eyes and tried not to think and feel anything. I failed. I tried to wrestle with the stuck thoughts inside my mind. And I failed again. The harder I try to get rid of them, the more the visions of you become powerful.
I saw your face. I saw you smiling at me. I saw you making jokes with everyone of us. I remember you, still with us, doing things that we regularly do- the student forms we gamely prepare each week so we would know who made it as most punctual, the programs at school that we participate in as the fierce BigaTEN advisers as we sat together in one line. I could still hear you laugh at the corridors while you speak with random people outside like as if we’re not having classes. Sssshhh….. it’s the only forewarning we could do then you just shrug it off like nothing happened and everything is back to normal. How would I not remember the events like Teachers’ Day, Christmas Parties, Faculty Outings, and other activities that you brightened with your spectacular presence? How could I not forget you? You’re our star in our grade level. Your memories are everywhere. In my mind, I know you are still there.
But when I opened my blurring eyes, as much as I tried to deny what fate had brought us, I felt the longing and the sadness that consumed me. I felt the pain of losing someone whom all of us have grown to love over the years. It is hard to let go of someone who has become a part of our everyday. We will all sorely miss you. But I know, it is also time to move on with life. This may be one of saddest days ever. The skies also wept with us. I saw familiar faces… your family, some co-teachers, friends, and students. I also witnessed how people from your place paid their last respect. Even when you’re not around anymore, their love for you is unparalleled.
Finally, when I reached home, I sat in one corner and thank the Lord for a safe trip back home. Realizing that no matter what life brings every one of us is bound for home, I thought of you joining our Creator in heaven. It’s the sweetest thought seeing you in my mind journeying back to the loving arms of our Lord in His sheltered haven. Then I remembered the last time I gazed upon you as you peacefully rest inside your casket, you were in fact smiling. And it suddenly appeased my aching heart.
I will forever remember your smile.