02A5E: Grieving Together

At Rupert's Wake

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 592

Today we made time to visit Rupert's wake over in QC. We couldn't quite take the entire day off from work to do so, but at least we didn't end up arriving a lot later than we did. It has been a while since we've been as far north as Cubao, so it was a bit of an interesting drive including our first route using the new Kalayaan bridge that links Makati to Mandaluyong on the Taguig side of the fence. 

I didn't quite know what to expect from the wake, but I certainly wasn't expecting that we'd arrive around the same time that many of the performers from O Bar were also paying their respects. We had to pace things in terms of how many people were inside versus outside in order to best accommodate the limits of simultaneous visitors, but we somehow made it work. And I won't lie - it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces again, even if we had to remain socially distant. 

The wake felt rather perfect given the generous flower arrangements, the photos from different points of Rupert's life, the highly appropriate playlist of his favorite songs, and even the obligatory bottle of tequila. I'm sure he would have generally approved of how things had prepared, but knowing him he'd still fuss over getting all the flowers exactly right because he was that kind of a perfectionist artist. 

The need for social distancing somewhat curtailed our ability to interact with everyone but we kind of ended up at the perfect place to sit as we had the ledge dancers on our left and the O Divas on our right, and Tobie and I were just happy to listen to their respective conversations. Of course, everyone familiar would greet us as they arrived (although it was hard to immediately figure out who was who given the face masks) but for the most part, it was somehow comforting to sit in relative silence. The familiarity of the voices, the cadence of conversation, and even the usual jokes being thrown back and forth - all of this felt like O Bar, which means it felt like home. 

It was definitely one of the happier wakes I've ever attended and in many ways, it was a reunion for our O Bar family. Sure, a sad event had brought us together, but we didn't allow the gathering to feel sad. And I'd like to think that's how Rupert would have wanted things since he was never one for drama. As intimidating as he could be, he was ultimately a deeply kind and caring person and he has always invested a lot of love and care into those he valued.