And in other news,
So my family. Families. They're sprawling. The one is like a Faulkner-meets-Proust-meets-Allende novel, the other is Marquez-meets-Steinbeck-meets-Dickens. Kind of. Mom's side (Faulkner, Proust, Allende) is in ruins, haunted by lost dreams, burnt-out properties and disastrous strokes, heart attacks, car accidents. (I'm generalizing quite.) Dad's side (Marquez, Steinbeck, Dickens), is teeming with babies and promising prospects, but we just lost Grandpa to cancer (who is--ach, was--a patriarch of biblical and falstaffian proportions...), and I was there taking care of him (as the EMT in the family), and I closed his eyes as his pulse slipped away under my fingers.
Obviously, there is a great deal of backstory that the patient Polyform Reader will no doubt learn all in good time.
But suffice to say that this evening, here in Canada, Something Important is Happening. Major shifts are taking place, and the Jimenez sisters (my Aunts and my Mom) are setting out to finalize arrangements about the abandoned properties back in the Phillipines. But it's going to cost a lot of money, and my Mom has expressed her strong opposition, due in no small part to her significant emotional and medical limitations (Mom--I LOVE MY MOM, but Lord it's been hard...), and no one really knows how to do these things right, because the Phillipines is way the hell over there and everyone is back out on this side of the Pacific and there's no one left to take care of things and deal with corrupt officials and predatory squatters, not to mention the debts owed to family and friends who were left behind when all the aunts and uncles just started dying, one by one and then all at once... I look at photos and now there are all these ghosts wearing linen suits and floral dresses, mahogany tones, sweltering heat...
Meanwhile, in my other family, my widowed Grandma is fixing to make her Farewell Tour '05, and I have the honor of escorting her home in this coming February/March for three weeks.
It took some time for me to realize this, but it is the perfect opportunity to help sort out the Jimenez lands, while proudly and honorably serving as my father's son and my father's father's son--as a Susi.
So now this evening, after much heartache and storming and laughter and heavy Filipino food, it now appears that I will be going to the Phillipines as both my father's son and my mother's son, that I will be serving both sets of grandparents at the same time. Understand that this is an extraordinary development; like other children of sundered houses, it has always been something of a shell game, it has always been a matter of which identity I'm wearing, and never a matter of somehow artfully and dynamically and effectively and honorably being BOTH at once. I'm excited, I'm scared, I'm ready. Let's get it on.
From the looks of things, 2005 is going to be a very interesting year.