This poem celebrates everything that is possible in life, as long as you stay alive. It is one of the poems I published in A Season of Poetry. The whole poetry collection, together with illustrations by Inez Wandita, is available at the shop.
Several times this year my worst fears came true. In May I had symptoms of a fever, which turned out to be dengue hemorrhagic fever, thanks to some mosquitos in the neighborhood. I was treated in a hospital which would not let me know whether it had Covid patients or not. This was during the early months of the pandemic.
A couple months after that, it was confirmed that a co-op which had 1/3 of my investments failed, and I lost about 8,000 USD. The economic crisis hit home, and hit hard.
Then, here we are in December 2020, and I received new that my father and 2 other members of my family tested positive for the Corona virus.
Honestly, what was my first reaction? Thank goodness my husband and I have been on a different island for the last couple of weeks. Second reaction? What a horrible person I am to be feeling this way. The guilt weighed heavily on me, until I realized that those emotions wouldn’t help anyone anyways.
So I picked up the phone and asked my mom how she was doing. She was understandably very distraught. Her emotions were swirling around, thinking about what if what if what if… she seemed to be handling the external situation fine, but crumbling internally under self judgment. I tried to give her nonjudgmental support and words of love.
Oh what a crazy ride this year has been. I don’t have any tips or suggestions for this post. Just an acknowledgment of my fears and the scariest moments of this year. I wonder what more will the future bring? Am I ready? And if not, what can I do to prepare myself?
I walked to greet some of the wedding guests, seated spread apart across the Heritage Kitchen and Gallery’s garden. It was a hot sunny day, not ideal for sensitive skin but much better than rain, at least for this occasion, on this location. My heels sunk into the soft earth, and I almost lost my balance.
Darn! I thought.
I am not a fan of heels, but today, my wedding day, I pulled out these 8 inch white T straps. They were a perfect match with the asymmetric layered Carla top and white palazzo pants. Pants! I loved wearing pants for my wedding. The loose fabric of the wide cut allowed me to sit, stand, or dance comfortably anywhere around the garden.
One of my favorite moments was during the ceremony when we had to put on the wedding rings. Except in Cung and my case, we both agreed no rings. We had bracelets instead. And I put them in a lovely pouch in the pockets of my palazzo pants. No standing uncomfortably still looking lovely while waiting for the groom.
Not this time.
This time I paid for most of the wedding necessities: food, venue, photographers, church certificates, you name it. Last time my father paid for most of it.
This time I had semi casual outfit, last time it was a princess gown dress by Harry Lam, a top designer.
This time I wore almost no make up, since most of my face was covered by the mask required for Covid Protocol. Last time I woke up at 3 AM and started the 2 hour make up process with the make up artist.
This time, I married Cung, a one eyed rebel architect-historian-curator. Three years ago, I married Oky, a gentle genius architect.
Oky, my first husband died two years after we got married. I became a widow.
So what am I now? A once widow? An ex widow? A wife? A second wife ?
I am all the above. Life, love, and death does not fit neat categories boxes, nor timelines. They defy our expectations, and we are left wondering: What Happened?
Rumi, a 13th century poet and scholar once said “sell your cleverness, and buy bewilderment.”
The white heels was the only article of clothing which I wore for both weddings. Custom made by the maker, it fit the contour of my feet perfectly. Amazingly, they stayed clean the whole afternoon, even after several more times sinking into the lawn. The heels endured.
With them, I walked towards the guests sitting at the far end of the lawn, one of whom was wearing an avocado around her neck. Avocado was the theme of my second wedding. Guests continued to ask : why avocado?