The War Veteran
My Grandfather’s uncle. He fought with the guerillas during Second World War.
That much I was able to personally gather. Rarely do we visit him and even then he already had problems with hearing. But he could still recognize us back then, at least when this photo was taken which was around a year ago. We would eat tinolang manok in their little kubo and talk under the thick cover of mango trees. We would ride carabaos there and in fact the last time we did they took us around the town.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to ask too much about his life whenever we went there. I thought that he would remain as strong as he was. So I always thought that I can always talk to him the next time we come. It was something I’ve always looked forward to since he was the only relative I know who fought in the war.
When we last visited him, It was as if someone had taken the life out of him. He was just lying there, eyes almost closed, trying to make out who we were. To talk to him, one would have to shout close to his ear. He wasn’t starting conversations like he used to. He could no longer recognize us. He was changed.
I felt really sad right then and there. Not because I could no longer hear from him directly all the interesting stories I’ve been wanting to know. It’s just that it’s hard to see someone you know who is lively and strong suddenly change into someone I could no longer interact with. More so the fact that he has already forgotten us despite the many memorable moments we shared with him. It feels disappointing to know that life could end like this. Life will introduce you to people who you will love but life will take them eventually as if they never existed.
But even then I would like to believe that what really is important here are the moments that were shared. That even if I forget everyone I used to know, when I see them and stare at them for a brief moment I will feel a familiar warmth in my heart. It doesn’t matter with whom or when it happened as long as there is that feeling that somewhere some time I was really happy because I had someone to share it with.
And this is the thought that enters my head whenever our eyes would meet and he would just look at me for a long time…