Ate Thess or nanay, that’s what we call you. There are times we introduce you as aunt to other people, because you’re too young to be called as Lola Tess and you’re almost the same age as my mom’s. You spent almost all your life with us, took care of me, my siblings and cousins, and for that we are grateful.
You’re the youngest sibling of nine and I can see that your brothers and sisters loved you so much. Because you are selfless and kind. I know it, I have seen you care about the others more than you care about yourself.
When I saw your picture outside that house, while I park the car , I couldn’t hold back the tears. I never imagined that the portrait I took will be used for your wake. I’m glad that I took it. I still remember that day that I said something nice to make you laugh and see that genuine smile. I know I did a good job because you were beautiful. And I regret not having more photos or selfies when we went out for lunch or merienda.
I refuse to believe you’re gone now. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I see you lying there as I write this. I won’t miss you like that. I won’t miss seeing you like this. When everything is over, when we have to move on with our lives without you, we will miss you and the mundane things that you do. We will no longer see you wake up so early because you never miss simbang gabi. We will never hear you shout and say “kain na!” over and over again when everyone in the house is so focused on their computers and phones. We will never do Hip Hop Abs or work out ever again. We will never see you play your favorite games like Bomberman and Temple Run. We will never have pasalubongs from Pampanga like leche flan and local mochi. We will never make ice candies and mais con yelo every summer. We will never hear you ask if you could exchange your old paper bills with new ones so that you have something to give to your godsons and goddaugthers and other kids every Christmas. We will never see you fall asleep in the first 15 minutes of every movie that we watch in the living room. We will never hear you sing along to the corniest songs that you hear on the radio while you do house chores. We will never see you spend all the money that you have for your nieces and nephews, whether its for their new clothes or school supplies. We will never have someone call us out because Manong Taho is coming. We will never see you get scared of crossing the street via over pass. We will never see you walk on the way to the store to buy pandesal or eggs every morning. We will never see you have a hard time looking at a menu in a restaurant, so we always end up ordering for you. We will never hear you say “ay di masarap” because you’re a picky eater. We will never make silly or serious conversations after I come home from work. We will never see you cook our favorite food. We will never see you eat Hany or fish crackers while watching TV. We will never see you pretend-not-to-cry while watching MMK. We will never have someone who knows Baclaran inside and out because you have a mental map. We will never have someone who knows each and every name of the entire family tree, from great grandchildren, to grandchildren, uncles and aunts, grandparents etc. We will never hear you talk as if you’re mad but actually aren’t. There are a lot of things we will miss terribly, mostly, we will never see you welcome us when we visit your favorite vacation place.
When Toppet told me that he dreamt of you last Wednesday morning. My heart skipped a beat. He said it was so vivid that he remembers the exact thing that you said. “Oh alagaan mo si Danzel a. Ikaw na bahala. Wag mo pabayaan.” Thank you for showing me that you care, even after you’re gone.
We will miss you everyday. I never ever want to forget the memories I have of you. No words can even come close. We love you.