It was about 9 at night in Africa when my sister called to tell me the news. I accepted it quite matter-of-factly. It was a shock but I was calm about it. Perhaps my senses were all numbed by the shocking news that I appeared to be calm. There was not so much sadness at that moment. It was relief, that he finally came to the end of his road. That night I did not shed a tear.
My flight was scheduled 8.30 the next evening. I've been taking this route a few times before but this time seemed to be torturously long. I was not sure how the mood would be when I reach the funeral home. I thought I would cry seeing mom. I thought I would cry looking at dad laying still in the coffin. But I did not. I held them tears in, damming them tears up in my eyes.
On the morning of the funeral, we were briefed on the ceremony. When I saw the hammer on the table, to be used to pound in the nails sealing the cascade shut, I was stirred a little within. I thought I would cry hearing the sound of the hammering. It wasn't thundering loud amidst the chanting of prayers by the monk. But it was clearly audible, and shaking. I tried blocking it out, throwing my thoughts far away. I did not cry.
It has been more than 3 weeks.
I was on the flight returning to Africa for work. Another long haul. I was watching Larry Crowne, a new comedy flick starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. Hanks played a recently retrenched blue collar taking speech class in a community college taught by Roberts, who played the professor role. It was a scene of their final exam where students were to make a 2 minute speech in front of the class on a previously given random topic. Hanks was giving his speech on Geography Show, and he was relating his 20 years serving the navy, the places he had been to, the things he had seen and done. That moment, tears just welled up in my eyes. Full, and they streamed down ever so gently. There were funny bits in the movie then but sadness was hanging heavy around me. I thought of dad and his life. I wasn't sobbing uncontrollably but the tears just kept trickling down my cheeks, non-stop.