My father—like his father—is a lawyer, and one of his techniques is to make your head spin before you finally understand him. Like my father, I have a tendency to ramble. One of my friends described me as someone who tends to say 10,000 things at a time. But unlike me, my father always managed to pick up the loose ends and tie the whole thing into one lucid argument. Isn’t that what lawyers do? The night we got the news from Prague, he was rambling about EU Standards, first world medical care, and Czech socialism. “Who would have thought…who would have thought—who would have thought?” And what were the odds? At that point, it was useless to question the odds or go back to the plan. What’s a plan in the face of a grand gesture when grand gestures are beyond all logic. Grand gestures run on faith. Try finding reason in that.
I cannot fathom how lonely and frustrating it must be to die in a strange land, but the love that went into the plane ticket and the trip across the globe just to make sure my Tita Myeny would not have to fly home alone are beyond what I can imagine as well. When we think of travel, we think of romance and exotic destinations, not of bloating, waiting lounges, and being frisked at every gate. Isn’t it really just about finding someone or something that’s worth the trip?
For someone who almost never goes to church, I’ve learned a great deal about faith from the things my fathers told me. Without faith, what’s the point in even making a decision, let alone acting upon it? Everything we do is such a shot in the dark, who knows where tomorrow will take us. The most we can do is just believe that things are going to work out for us. I mean, look at where it got my grandfather? And I’m not talking about recent events, I’m talking about a life so full of possibilities and opportunities that he just took the reins on. It’s so hard to find something beautiful in this world, something that fits you and works out, that if you find something—take that and don’t let it go.
My grandfather was supposed to turn 89. An hour after he passed away, my sister, my father, and I sat in a large room that was all marble, antique vases, chandeliers, and opulence; all of which testified to privilege. We were a fairly privileged lot, and it’s useless to deny that. When I was little, my mom had the mind to keep us at arm’s length from it—from all that worldy and frivolous clutter. Whether it was the right or wrong is irrelevant now. Who’s to judge? I quietly resigned myself to this new chapter that would take up the majority of the narrative that made up my small life. The argument I was presented with was that “Children need a mother,” I guess I took it for granted that I needed a father as well.