Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad’t worry that it’s not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song
(*) sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Two pretty kids (aged about 6, daughters of my officemates) were singing these lines, the song, popularized by Karen Carpenter. I was amused to hear them singing this particular song because simply put, it’s an old song, yet, they were both singing it beautifully. One of them was holding the paper containing the lyrics, while the other one was sitting opposite the other girl, happily and contentedly singing along. The little girl holding the paper with the lyrics asked me if I knew the song, and I said yes. After that, I found myself humming along while on my way back to my place.
I realized, it’s such a simple song with very simple lyrics, but when you think about it, its beauty lies in its simplicity. And with everything that’s happened recently, I started asking myself if indeed, I had reasons to sing, especially sing of good things, not bad…sing of happy, not sad…
You see, three weeks ago, my little boy, Jeremy, and my little girl, Cassie were both hospitalized and confined at Asian Hospital for pneumonia. They’d had fever a few days before that, and were both having severe asthma attacks. To make things worse, both didn’t have appetite for food and even water, and Cassie was having LBM. I was scared they would be dehydrated soon, that Bong and I decided to bring them to Asian Hospital. There, their x-rays confirmed that both had pneumonia, and had to be confined so meds could be administered intravenously.
I’d like to think I’m one tough cookie, but I easily crumble when it involves my loved ones, my kids, most especially. Bong and I watched helplessly as they were both inserted the needle. I could only cry silently and pray that things would be over soon. Suffice it to say that after 3 days for Jeremy and 4 days for Cassie, everything was back to normal. However, I couldn’t say the same thing for myself.
On Cassie’s last night at the hospital (Jeremy being discharged a day earlier,) I developed fever. The next day, as we were preparing ourselves to go home, I was having chills. Later that day, my fever shot up to 39.8. Fortunately, with my mom taking care of me, and Bong, taking over later, my fever went down to a manageable 38. This continued on ‘til the next day, so it was not until the day after that when I was able to go back to work.
When I got back to work after 6 days of absence, naturally, work had already piled up. But what made me sad was the fact that a dear friend and officemate had decided to leave the company for personal reasons. This friend was one of the few people who help me keep my sanity, but yeah, sometimes we just have to accept the fact that reality has a way of throwing things right smack at our faces.
That aside, I still had something to look forward to… the company-wide summer outing at San Juan Laiya, Batangas last Saturday, April 24. Bong, the three kids and the two yayas were, after all, going with me, so it would surely be fun. It turned out really well at first, with Jeremy and Cassie enjoying the waters, Kara getting her henna tattoo, Bong and I taking turns swimming with the kids, and the two yayas enjoying themselves. But towards the end of the afternoon, I was sent a text message by both my youngest sister and my mom that our Tito Nilo, husband of my Tita Oma (my mom’s sister), who was confined at a hospital in San Pablo, Laguna for complications related to his Parkinson’s disease, had already passed away. He might not exactly have been our blood relative, but our families are all pretty close. My mom has 9 siblings, all of them with families so you can just imagine what a happy, noisy clan we are especially during special occasions like Christmases, weddings, christenings, fiestas, etc.
I immediately wanted to rush to Calauan, Laguna, where they live, but we were too far. I just silently uttered a prayer of eternal repose for him and vowed that I would go to Calauan the first chance I get.
At 5pm, we all filed to our respective buses which would take us back to Manila (Alabang for us Alabang-based employees, and Makati for those who live in the north). However, just as we were about to board our bus, we were informed that the air-conditioning system bogged down, and that we either had to travel with the windows open, or be assigned to different buses. We opted for the latter, and as we were “squatters” in the other buses, we had to take the jump seats (those foldable seats in the middle of the aisle). With two kids who were fast asleep the minute we stepped on the bus, it was truly difficult.
But what could be worse than that, you ask? It was finding out in the middle of the trip that our bus driver had gotten lost. He missed the turn for the Star Tollways, making the usual 3-hour drive a 4 ½-hour drive instead. We reached Alabang dead tired, hungry and a bit grumpy at a little before 10pm.
We stopped over to grab something to eat at Shell SLEX, and then we proceeded home. At home, we found out that everybody, save for another Tita whose family lives nearby, had gone to Calauan. Kara and I decided to go to Calauan with our Tita’s family. I left Bong with the kids as they were too tired to travel with us.
At Calauan, it was very difficult to keep myself from crying because I saw how my Tita Oma was—sad, crying, disoriented. She told us later that she didn’t mind taking care of my Tito Nilo, herself already consumed by arthritis, if only he could be with her. It was painful to watch her and my cousins, but what could I possibly do, other than cry with them, and pray again and again for strength for their family.
Today, I went to work again with a heavy heart…but hearing these two kids singing a song so simple, yet made beautiful by their innocent voices, I am again given hope…that after all that had happened, I could still sing a song…and maybe, rejoice at the fact that my Tito Nilo no longer suffers…that the kids’ health has been restored, that we all went home safely despite the few setbacks…I must sing of good things not bad…sing of happy not sad. Indeed…and look forward to brighter things ahead…