2015 was not an easy year. Unlike previous years which presented only their fair share of challenges and difficulties but leaves the order of your life relatively unscathed, this one changed mine a lot. And while I do know that I do not have the monopoly of melancholy and grief, I would say that that the year brought changes unsurprisingly and early on.
Just a few days after I celebrated my 35th birthday in February, I lost my only sister to pneumonia before I was even able to see her for one last time in Davao City. A few months prior to her leaving, we had a long conversation on her having lymphoma and how she was able to look for solutions and was determined to see things through.
Had dinner and coffee last night with old law school buddies and friends. They were in town after a couple got sworn is as new lawyers last Wednesday. It was great to recall funny moments back then while at the mercy of terror professors.
Since it is the Holidays, not only families are gathered from where I am but also high school and college batches, as well as old organizations and the like. I actually have a several invites. One is from my old colleagues in the student movements in my college days; law school buddies; old co-workers in the local media; comrades in the old college political party; and then there are those from the elementary as well as the high school batches.
I actually have mixed emotions when it comes to attending non-family reunions. I guess it has grown out of my attitude of getting on with life after the fact. I mean don’t get me wrong but sometimes I prefer to just move on with my life after I have finished working with some guys over something. I do cherish my relationships with people and I recall them more often than not, with fondness. But I think I know when to say goodbye and go on with my own life.
I guess it is ironic for someone who loves history to not love reliving old memories with old friends and comrades. But that is who I am. I prefer to look back on things done and undone in my own time and not in the company of those who were with me during those times.
I do value family reunions, especially since I started working away from home and by myself. I started to develop an appreciation for family reunions when I was assigned to Cebu back in 2006. In my first few days on the island, it was a relief to be finally by myself, away from my family. But as the months passed, I suddenly felt like seeing them as much as I can, resulting to frequent trips to Mindanao.
But the longing for family while in Cebu was nowhere to the one felt when I started working in Quezon City. Being in a place where the people speak a different language than that you grew up to, having customs, attitudes, and perceptions different from yours aggravates the feeling of loneliness and distance from your family. You never feel so alone than being a stranger in a strange land.
It is that longing which develops through the whole length of the year which makes me appreciate the few days with my family at the end of the year, giving me a wanting to spend most if not all of my time during the Holidays with them. To quote the Golda Meir in the movie Munich: “Family matters.”
Still, considering that I am fast aging, maybe it’s not at all bad seeing old friends and colleagues. Hmmm…