One of my best friends lost her mother yesterday. Everyone of us in the group ushered into our thirties yet it still feels surreal when we have to go through things like this. Indeed, we’re growing old and, most importantly, growing up together.
Tita B’s death leaves a scarring effect to most of us not only because of her age. She was a main extension of someone whom we deeply love since we barely fit in our starter bras; a news like that is a different league of its own. This comes more painfully to those who never left town; who were neighbors, who were there when they had to pick up and bring home M from coffee dates and barkada dinners and other shenanigans.
When M saw us earlier and she broke down, N and I both didn’t know what to do nor say. I guess the hug said enough. I don’t know what to say in times like that and maybe, it is best not to say anything. I just wanted my friend to mourn and cry whenever and wherever she wants to.
I guess this is it. Except for one vehicular accident when we were in college — and that time we’re still tender creatures who rely on our parents, so what does it matter — everything else we had to go through together seemed nothing a serious talk, a long trip, nor a simple get-together can’t fix: philandering (ex)boyfriends, pesky co-worker, secret crushes, career path confusion. Nothing like this big.
At any rate, I am continuously inspired by my friend even during moments when she didn’t know what to do. She has had cryptic messages on Facebook yet she never once sought help apart from prayers. M and I share many things in common, most of which are coincidental [born at the same hospital (which we discovered 14 years later), same parental setup, a bachelor uncle living with us, etc.] but the main difference is this: she’s always been stronger than me. She took risks, miscalculated a few steps, rose up, did it all over again. She’s guts personified. So when you see someone like that break down, you will really question the stuff you’re made of.
At this point, we can only promise to always be there for her. The year of the “firsts” will always be the hardest. The pain will never go away, but through time, she will learn to manage it. This is, after all, part and parcel of growing old and growing up together.