BrainTeaser | Sherma E Benosa

Life is a puzzle; we are the clues, and God is the answer.

Amang and Inang: Their Journey to Home

I have always been aware of Death. I have never doubted that he’s real and that he’s such a powerful being, no one can escape his might. I’ve always been aware of the indescribable pain and stark sense of loss that are his marks; and of the bottomless void and utter emptiness that he always carries with him wherever he goes.



But for a long time, Death was just a mythical presence in my mind, like Santa Claus who goes around giving gifts to every child on Christmas, but somehow manages to always overlook our house. I had always concluded that our house was so remote Santa Claus could not possibly find us, which was just fine by me because I was never concerned about receiving gifts from him. I had, in fact, been thankful that our house seemed to have been left out in the maps of the deities, especially whenever I would think about Death. Every time I let my mind wonder about Death, I always envisioned him having a hard time finding our house and that of our extended family. I would then smile to myself, thinking that somehow we had been tricking Death for sometime without him knowing it.



But not for long. Death eventually located where Inang (grandmother) and Amang (grandfather) lived. One night in December 2005, without warning, he forced entry into Amang and Inang’s door, and took my lovely Inang with him.



It was my first time to see Death up close. He was a gory sight, a horrible presence that sucked up happy emotions and thoughts, replacing them with despair and gloom. I felt awful being that close to him. Still, I tried to stand between him and my Inang and defiantly challenged him not to prey on the weak. But Death knows no dignity. He simply looked down on me, telling me there would be a time he’d deal with me, but not just yet. I smelled his putrid breath as he spoke; it was all I could do not to puke. I stared at him hard, and a chill ran through me. I noticed there was no heart inside his ribcage. He must have lost it some time ago; or maybe it was never there.



I watched as Death walked out of the house, carrying my Inang who was blissfully lost in her dreamless sleep. We knew we were defeated; there was nothing we could do. Our only consolation was that Inang didn’t seem to know what had happened; she looked at peace in her sleep.



The moment Death and Inang left, darkness enveloped the house, but this, we did not readily notice. We didn’t have the strength to go and switch on the lights; we were all consumed in our loss as we struggled to console Amang, who was so calm, having already surrendered everything to the God we prayed to every night. That night, though, life refused to flicker in Amang’s eyes.



My great loss threw me into a bottomless pit I never knew existed. I felt I had drowned or suffocated. My pain and loss gnawed at my very soul and ate a big piece of my being. Every time I felt the need to unleash my pain, I would let out all the water in the overflowing dam of my aching heart.



Then a new kind of fear enveloped me, realizing that Death was not yet done with us. He would be back, and in my heart I knew who he would take with him first. Since Inang’s departure, a kind of panic always enveloped me every time I looked at or thought of Amang. So I tried to be home more often and spend as much time with him as possible.



Death did come back, much sooner than I had thought. In May 2007, just over a year after he took Inang away from us, Death showed up at Amang’s door. He neither knocked on the door nor acknowledged us. He just went straight to Amang’s bed and gathered him into his cold, unfeeling embrace. How we shouted at Death to let go of Amang, how we tried to pull Amang free of the unwanted visitor’s powerful grip. But slowly, gradually, we lost. Death had Amang lying limp in his arms, and though they lingered a while longer, they too eventually left; leaving us to mend the shreds of our shattered hearts.



Life went on. We managed to accept our great losses. But life was never the same again for us who have been left behind. Where before I could simply go home and share a laugh with Inang and Amang, all I have left of them now is a memory — so alive Amang and Inang seem, so tangible are their images I swear I can feel them in my arms and hear their sweet laughter. But still, deep within me I know they are just shadows trying to ease my pain.



I will forever be thankful for the good memories that I have of Amang and Inang, but my heart sometimes can’t help but wish for more. The only thing that gives me strength when I think of them is the thought that they are together now, never to be separated from each other again. Death, after all, is the beginning of a life that never ends — a life that has no place for Death and his utter nothingness.



//Sherma E. Benosa

31 October 2007; 8:35pm


2 comments on “Amang and Inang: Their Journey to Home

  1. Michelle
    May 26, 2008

    Good morning, Sherma, well, evening for you! 😉

    Are you and Love in the same time zone?

    This story moved me. I lost my grandmother last year and my grandpa three years before. They were amazing people who invested much into my life and especially my faith.

    I am so thankful to know they are together again – they loved one another so much.

    Have you ever watched the movie, “Meet Joe Black”? It’s one of my favorites. It’s based on the play, “Death Takes a Holiday.” To put “death” in the body of Brad Pitt makes it appear unrealistically seductive.

    My grandparents went peacefully with hymns and prayers being shared and excited to see their Lord. I hope I go with as much grace…

    Thanks for sharing this, Sherma. You certainly have a gift of writing. I would be honored for you to add me to your blogroll and I will reciprocate.

    God bless you. 😀

  2. brainteaser
    May 27, 2008

    Hello Michelle. Philippines is just two hours behind Australia. 🙂

    I am glad to hear you’ve had good memories of your grandparents. Like you, memories are all I have left of them now, but then maybe not. They still live within me, I’m sure, because what I am now is mainly because of them. 🙂

    No, I haven’t watched that movie but it sounds like fun. I’d like to look for it when I go to the mall probably this weekend. Many of my favorites had been other people’s first.

    Thank you, Michelle. I’ll be coming back to your blog more often. It’s a mine of uplifting thoughts, if you ask me. 🙂

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