(Left - my brother-in-law, Right - my parents)
Among the many Filipino traditions, yesterday's Undas celebration is the one I missed most - the festive celebration of the living, the gatherings of family clans, a festive reunion of family relatives in the tomb of their departed relatives.
It was last 2007 when I observed the All Saints Day in the Philippines where I spend a day in my parents' tomb in Pasay City Public Cemetery. Last night, together with my wife, we offered prayers for the souls of my departed parents.
I felt sorry for my kids, they grew up without seeing their grandparents alive, and we are unable to keep a picture of a happy couple. But I tried to paint their images in the heart of my children how our parents has struggled to make a living, to send me and my sister to school and teaches us the basics of catechism.
A week before Undas, my daughter asked me, "Daddy, when did Lolo and Lola died?"
I was caught by surprised and unable to give her an instant reply, instead I told my daughter I was 10 years old when you Lolo died and I'm 18 or 19 year old when you mother passed away.
Did I made a grave sin? Did it really matter? My mind tried to rush back in time to remember the two dates engraved in my parent's tombstone where we and all the people that passed their tombs have read it.
And then I threw myself in complete surrender as I added "Di ko talaga matandaan anak".
In full submission, I told my daughter that I have really missed those important dates in her lolo and lolas tombstone.
But I told her that what matters most is the little dash between the dates in their tombstone - it the most pleasant and unforgettable memories of my parents that has been engraved in my heart.
Yesterday, my daughter and son pay their respect to their lolo and lola's grave - offered prayers, fresh flowers and lighted candles and stayed there for a couple of hours. And I received an SMS message from my daughter, as I was reading it I can't help but smile, it says:
Daddy, these are the dates in lolo and lolas tombstone:
May 8, 1908 - March 11, 1970
April 10, 1910 - May 18, 1980
At the end of the text message, I just shook my head as it reads:
"Daddy, what does S.LN. means?"
I whispered to myself "Sa Lugaw Namatay" (lol), I hope my parents will forgive me.
Sige nga, ikaw ano ba ang ibig sabihin ng S.L.N.?