02A5D: Social Echoes

Artifacts of Loved Ones

 Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 591

After dinner, we attended the Zoom-based mass and novena for Rupert. I am not the most religious person by any means, but it felt important to try to participate somehow and find an outlet for our grief. At the end of the session though, they had asked some of Rupert's closest relatives, mainly his cousins and their families, to share eulogies about him. It was nice to hear stories of his unique way of caring for members of his family - the word mataray came up more than once, which reflects our first impressions of him at O Bar. But time and time again, the stories would go back to stress what a kind and shy person he actually was. And we also know this to be true - he was a very good man indeed.

Initially, we felt too shy to try to visit his wake in Cubao, but after tonight we're a lot more resolute about the need to go. Yes, whatever is there won't ever feel like Rupert, but that's not the point. It's about paying our respects and showing up because we know that he'll always be there for us in his own way. It'll be a little dangerous given the ongoing pandemic, but Rupert is worth the risk.

Today, the board games of our departed friend Karen arrived at the Sietch, which acted as another reminder of what we have lost this year. As she was a pillar of one of our most important gaming groups, part of her last requests included us figuring out how to share her collection with the rest of the group. This week seems to be all about death and reminders thereof for some reason. Such a heavy feeling.

Although we had tried to do this before, I ended up looking up Rupert's name online to see if we could possibly find videos of him dancing ballet. Such videos are definitely pre-internet material, but sometimes you get lucky when analog video gets archived digitally. We weren't so lucky in our search, but there were a number of articles and even book mentions that covered highlights of his career. And it was nice to read what other people had written about him and his years as a ballet dancer. 

I've also been going over a lot of old photos over the past few days, looking back at our times with friends like Karen, RD, and Rupert. It hurts to remember they're gone, but it helps to look back at happier memories together. And that's all part of the grieving process. Learning to live with both the good and the bad and define a path forward.