It’s rare that I pay attention to music being played over at a mall. Most of it are really pop songs on the radio which are loud. Many songs talking about sex and love as if they are one and the same thing; and a lot more that I can barely understand the lyrics from all the noise. For me, as a writer words are as important as the tunes that accompany it. They say that this is because of my age and I am only turning 33 next month! I tend to agree with it though — as this was the same argument that I shared with my parents when I was a teenager and even when I was back home in the province listening to music over semester breaks in full volume! So no, I hardly pay attention to what’s happening in the music scene. I still listen to the radio, but I do not bother to keep myself abreast of the latest musical trend. If there’s something that tickles my fancy, then I listen to it and do my best to get it into my mp3 collection which is relatively smaller than that of my close friends.
Yet for some reason, this song SOMEDAY stood out last week, last Thursday in fact, as I got one of the saddest text messages that I received. Another family friend has passed away. Sadder still that the cause of death was that our friend took her own life. Yes, you read it right. She committed suicide. So as I was walking slowly en route to the office heading towards the LRT, this song was being played at the opening of the mall that I passed through. I couldn’t help myself cry a little because I grew up seeing this person visiting the house, seeing her in church and I think it has been close to 20 plus years that I have seen her. I agree with her brother at the funeral when he described her as she makes sure that nobody is left out and she just exudes positive vibes and is the life of any party!
You can go
You can start all over again
You can try to find a way to make another day go by
You can hide
Hold all your feelings inside
You can try to carry on when all you want to do is cry
When I got to the office I was not able to really control myself for long and asked my colleague for a few minutes to hear me out. He knew that I was already hard pressed with deadlines at the office, and I told him that for that particular day — more than any day of that week — I just found it hardest to concentrate as I felt grief. In just a span of one decade, I witnessed burying a college classmate who died abroad to pursue greener pasture. A few years after that, a housemate of mine for close to four years passed away who was became a big brother and second father. Then a few weeks after that, my own father passed away. In the midst of that I was transitioning towards a new career in business continuity/risk management. And now this — another death and this time, it rocked me to the core much like it did the death of my father and close friend. It seems that grief is a national anthem in my life this ten years. People think that it is easy to move forward in life when one goes through grief. For me, it took me years to get over the loss of my own father alone. I guess some people just leave a bigger imprint in our souls more than others.
It’s one thing to read of popular people kill themselves out of overdose, out of a loss of their loved ones and even because of pressures at the office. But when it hits us home — like it did me as I knew the person, interacted with the person and I even remember that she drove us around town when we were teenagers. It changes things and makes one think and ask the hard questions again. Why did this thing happen? I heard that she reached out to her sister and family. And yet the family did not think that the situation was that bad, that the things that she was going through was too heavy for her to bear. It makes me wonder, I live alone. What happens when things get bad for me? Do I just wallow in my own pain and pity? Where do these thoughts of suicide come from? I guess what bothered me most was that this lady is also a strong advocate of Christianity and its faith. How do I reconcile this now when my faith begins to gather storm clouds around my soul? And so I cried at the office. I cried for a few minutes and I admit that I even cried when I got home and when I ran on the treadmill that night at the gym. I cannot contain the grief that I felt. To think that it was not just grief that I felt. I felt much anger at myself at work. I feel incompetent with the way things are turning out and I do not feel good about myself anymore. I am still trying to process my emotions because I do not wish to implode which I feel I already am doing feeling mildly depressed that things are just not going my way.
And maybe someday
We’ll figure all this out
Try to put an end to all our doubt
Try to find a way to make things better now and
Maybe someday we’ll live our lives out loud
We’ll be better off somehow
Yes, someday we will figure all this out. Just when I was making sense of all the doubts that I was experiencing, new doubts emerge out of this emotional upheaval. How does one make things better now? How does one learn to live out loud? What does living loud really mean? I’ve often heard that phrase in many movies, some songs mention it too — and yet I never really bothered thinking what it truly means until now. Perhaps the one thing that this recent death reminded me of is that God still has a purpose in my life. I am still alive. And whatever difficulties that I face at work and relating to people everywhere, I can make the most out of it. For me, living out loud means that I live a purposeful existence of which in spite of what happened to our friend, I still believe and anchor myself to my faith in God.
And try to find another mistake
If you throw it all away then maybe you can change your mind
You can run, oh
And when everything is over and done
You can shine a little light on everything around you
Man it’s good to be someone
I visited Rob Thomas’ website and this song SOMEDAY is about relationships and the dynamics of friendships. All relationships, not just the romantic ones undergo a period of testing, of challenges and even of difficulties. There are compromises in character differences that needs to be understood, that often do not show up during the first part of the relationship. What saddens me is that for most people that I see these days, many are not willing to go through the painful porcupine process of getting hurt in a relationship in order to get closer. For if there’s one thing I learned about relationships/friendships — it is the ones we love the most who often have the greatest power to make and break us in whatever way. And sometimes, the scars are so deep that it is often difficult not to be defined by hurtful words hurled. For sometimes, running away is the easiest way out of a difficult situation. But as my best friend said — it is much more difficult to stay and fight in tight corners.
Right now, in spite of everything that is happening – am I trying to run away from something? Am I trying to make myself feel nothing like a robot in order to just continue with my work at the office? Am I trying to just move on with my life realizing that many of my friends are already married and that they are too focused with raising their own families? Is it time for me to raise my own? This has been one of my mother’s desire and earnest prayer. Alas, I do not see myself getting married just yet. Perhaps it is because I know that I am not ready. Or rather, I long for someone to accept me for who I am and not for who I am not. And it seems that the only thing that is ready to challenge me any day of the week and embrace me for who I am is the dirt roads made of concrete, mud, rock, sand and asphalt.
And I don’t want to wait
I just want to know
I just want to hear you tell me so
Give it to me straight
Tell it to me slow
Cause maybe someday
We’ll figure all this out
We’ll put an end to all our doubt
Try to find a way to just feel better now and
Maybe someday we’ll live our lives out loud
We’ll be better off somehow
It must be very tough losing a loved one through suicide. But life will move on. Life goes on. And while I am still around, I will make the most out of it. I guess that’s the one thing that death reminds people of. It reminds people of the frailty of human existence and the limited time that is given. This coming weekend, I will be running in Cagayan de Oro to Bukidnon. It’s an uphill running experience, 55 kilometers all in all. This weekend, I will be running in memory of this lovely lady that passed away. Please do not pass judgment on her for taking her own life. I may not understand her reasons for doing so, all I know is that she left her entire family in pain. For let the running uphill remind me that life’s precious moments consists of the painful journey through uphills slopes much like the pains of childbirth. For when a child is born, there’s a moment of joy that cannot be explained.
Cause sometimes we don’t really notice
Just how good it can get
So maybe we should start all over
Start all over again
It’s time to count one’s blessings again. Such as being able to run even with titanium implants. To remind myself that not everyone is blessed with being offered to represent a popular sports apparel. To be thankful that God has given me an ability to express myself in writing and to pour out my emotions. And also to remind myself that I should not quit so easily on myself, on my job and also on the precious few friendships that I have that seems to be going uphill and downhill at the same time. Yes, I am hurting too. I feel bad about recent events like the one I just shared and the things that make life challenging for me at the office. And yet, I cannot deny that there is goodness that happens too such as being able to run and join races on weekends. For me, starting all over again is that moment when I just finish a race on a weekend, and I literally take that journey back to Manila and head towards the office and sit on my cubicle to start working again. Indeed, “sometimes we don’t really notice just how good it can get….” Until then, I will wait on the Lord. Yes, that is my battle cry and prayer. And I will make each step on this road of life count towards eternity.