Sunday, May 01, 2005

missing home...

We grew so accustomed to our lives among the ifugao that we sometimes forgot that for all our longing to be one of them, we remained outsiders.

Perhaps, my mother felt this stronger than anyone else. She had grown up as the daughter of a wealthy family and was used to a myriad of helpers, and the endless stream of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

We could not know the intensity of her longing or the greatness of her hunger for the sight of the sea, for the embrace of her mother, for the warm fellowship of brothers and sisters. Wrapped up in our childish world, insulated from the cold of the world, we could not begin to understand the ache that ate away at her heart each time she looked up at the mountains, every time she looked at us.

It is only now when I am separated from my family that I begin to understand that longing that eats away at your bones, the ache that the days cannot diminish, the hunger that knows no satiation. It is only now that I begin to comprehend the punishment that distance inflicts upon the spirit.

Was it these that brought about those aches and pains that she still feels in the marrow of her bones? Perhaps, it is our way of dealing with longing. Perhaps we hide our ache, our pain, our tears behind chronic ailments, nagging headaches, twinges in our hands, a weakness in the stomach, anything to mask the reality of the sorrow that is our constant companion because no matter whom we are with, no matter how many friends we may make, how many ties we may forge, there is still nothing that can compare to the bonds that tie us to our mothers, to our fathers, to the family of the heart and to the land of our birth.

In the stories that I write, I try to imagine my mother’s longing for home, with my words I paint a reflection of my own longing, of the unending desire to return and to find everything unchanged. Of course, these are things that cannot be and it is only in the mind that the world remains as it was. It is only my spirit that can remember as I pick up the flotsam and jetsam of my splintered memory.


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