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Undas

Undas or All Saints Day in the Philippines means that families are supposed to visit their loved ones who passed on, offer flowers, candles and prayers. This is also an opportuned time for relatives to get together and catch up.

I remember one time a few weeks after my father died back in 2005, and a few days before Undas, I took an afternoon nap while I was alone in our old home in Malolos City. I remember it was a very hot afternoon and I quickly drifted to sleep. I don’t usually fall asleep quickly as I take minutes, usually an hour lying down before my mind surrenders to sleep. But probably because of the warm weather, despite all the windows open which offers no help in humidity, I succumbed to a slumber. 

Then I dreamt of my father. Of course I can’t recall the dream but I remember dreaming of him, a few details but not entirely. He was wearing white, and he was standing just a foot away from my bed. I can see him in my dream from my point of view while I was actually lying down. He was standing in front of our cream painted wooden cabinets and he was staring at me. I also remember he said one word.

“Sorry.”

I don’t know why he said that, probably because he left us a little too early? I was 20 years old and a few months away from my college graduation when he died of heart failure. It was a tough time for all of us.

I remember waking up with fresh tears in my cheeks. Which I didn’t know possible as I have only seen that in movies when people wake up crying, for me I thought that was just drama because how can you cry if your asleep di ba? Then I actually cried after realizing the dream. I was not scared of the dream of seeing my dead father standing by my bed but I was sad. Sad because I had an image of my Papa in my dream saying he was sorry, and it felt absolutely real. He was just there beside me in my dream and after I’ve woken up, he’s gone. Again.

After that, I can’t remember any clearer dreams of him anymore. I’m afraid to forget this particular memory so I’m writing it down and sharing it. Sometimes I wish to dream of him again, because the longer he’s gone the more vague some memories become. I guess that’s why we hold a special day for the dead, to help us remember when they were with us.

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