poetry & tsismis: emily's blog

June 20, 2010

Babang Luksa II – Memories of Auntie Pacing

Filed under: Memorials,Pamilya,Seattle,Tributes — EL @ 3:38 pm
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© by Emily Porcincula Lawsin

Today, June 20, 2010, is Father’s Day in America. It is an especially poignant day for my family and me, since not only is it our first Father’s Day without my Papa, but it is also my mother’s 2nd year death anniversary. In an ironic twist of fate, today, my cousins are also commemorating the “Babang Luksa” death anniversary of their mother, my beloved Auntie Pacing Porcincula.

Last year, I wrote here on this blog about returning to Seattle for my mom’s “Babang Luksa” and our large Family Reunion. What I didn’t mention was that on June 20, 2009, in the early morning hours, as my brother and I were getting ready to leave the house for our mother’s one-year memorial, the phone rang.  I knew it had to be bad news. Auntie Pacing had just passed away, only one week after she had returned to the Philippines with her eldest children. That day, we dedicated the rosary to our mother and her sister-in-law, my Auntie Pacing.

Only two weeks prior to that, Auntie Pacing had just discovered that she had Stage 4 cancer. Our entire family was shocked and devastated. She then decided that she wanted to leave Seattle and return to her native Philippines to live the last days of her life. Although it was sad news, I was proud of her children who had the courage and dignity to support her last wishes.  A couple of days before she left, my cousins held an impromptu “despidida” farewell for her to celebrate her life with her while she was still living. I wished I could have been there. Instead, I offered these fond memories and humble words as my delayed and long-distance tribute. The following are edited excerpts of what I wrote for Auntie, her children, and grandchildren, while I was in New York City:

I have so many fond memories of growing up in Seattle’s Rainier Valley because of Auntie Pacing, who was married to my mother’s youngest brother. My siblings and I are the closest in age to their children: Teresita, Alan, Arnel, and Rene. Our childhood homes were exactly one mile apart, so we would walk to and from each other’s houses for family parties, and, as Arnel reminded us last year, to do chores like mowing the lawn to earn money for candy.  They lived across the street from Brighton Elementary School, so we would always go there with their neighbor, Harry, and play on the jungle gym, despite the hard concrete. Then we would go buy Slurpees down at the old 7-11 on Rainier.

I loved going to Auntie Pacing’s because there was always lots of food and music, luau barbecues in the back yard, and late-night parties in their basement bar. In our younger years, our Lola and Lolo (grandparents) went between living with us and them, so that made their house even extra special. We would all roll lumpias with Auntie Pacing on the vinyl tablecloth in her kitchen, listening to the elders laugh and tsismis late into the night. One Christmas, the entire clan all piled into Auntie Pacing and Uncle Junior’s house. Lolo was passing out silver dollars in the sunken back room, the one that had a few steps going down into it, and we all raced back there, tripping over those steps. Auntie Pacing simultaneously yelled and laughed at us, telling us to slow down, while we all cracked up.

When I was in elementary school, my parents never let me spend the night at my classmates’ houses, unless they were Filipino. The only place I could stay was at my cousins’. She probably doesn’t even know this, but one of the earliest sleepovers I remember was at Auntie Pacing’s. I think she, Lola, and Tessie were baby-sitting me one night. I remember Auntie gave me a bath and then set my hair in rollers because I wanted to look like her. She told me that old Filipino superstition in her Kampampangan accent, “Hoy, you’re not supposed to go to sleep with your hair wet because you will go crazy or get sick.” This was before blow-dryers, so I was scared to go to sleep. She tucked me in, rubbed my back, and told me it was going to be ok. The next morning, I woke up and she made us champorrado, chocolate rice, to eat for breakfast: yum. I can’t remember if I did get sick, but I will always remember how much fun that was.

One summer, years later, when I was in college, I worked as a temporary office worker, and was placed in various offices around Seattle, sometimes for one day, other times for a few weeks, depending on the need. One of my longest and most favorite assignments was as a medical transcriber at Harborview’s Medical Building. I will never forget how on the first day at work, my boss was showing me around the premises, and she took me across the street to the cafeteria for lunch. She said to the cashier, “Hi Pat.”  I turned around and lo and behold, it was my Auntie Pacing! Everyone knew her on a first-name basis (granted, it was the Americanized nick-name version of her Pacita).

“What are you doing here?” Auntie said to me.

My boss said, “Oh, you two know each other?”

Auntie and I both said at the same time, “She is my niece!” “She is my aunt!”  I smiled from ear-to-ear. When my boss walked away, Auntie winked and whispered to me in Taglish, “You come here on your breaks and lunch and I will take care of you.”  And took care of me, she did!  I ate well during that month there, with Auntie sneaking me apples and pastries. I looked forward to my breaks so I could go see her across the street. After that first day, I told my mom about seeing Auntie Pacing, and she said, “Oh, you are so lucky,” in that tone like she already knew. The coconut tsismis wire had probably already told her before I even got home.

I didn’t even realize that Auntie Pacing had worked there, because when you’re a child, you just love your aunties in the context that you see them: their homes or yours. Now I wonder if my own daughter knows where her favorite aunties work.

Last year, as we gathered for my mother’s Babang Luksa and our Family Reunion, everyone said, “Isn’t it ironic that Auntie Pacing died on the same date as Auntie Emma?”

My eldest cousin said, “They were like sisters, the oldest of friends.” Indeed, these are the moments that bond the several generations of our family together.

Maraming salamat po, Auntie Pacing, for always taking such good care of me and all of our extended family. We love you and miss you very much.

June 20, 2010

Detroit

www.emilylawsin.com

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1 Comment »

  1. […] I wrote in my previous post, this is a particularly poignant Father’s Day for my family and me, since it is not only the […]

    Pingback by POEM for Papa « poetry & tsismis: emily's blog — June 20, 2010 @ 4:48 pm | Reply


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