I don't like going to hospitals. I especially don't like going to Chinese General Hospital -- that's where I lost my mom in 92, and my uncle-father figure, Papa Edwin, in 97. I also have memories visiting my grandmother there in 2003-2004, although she died in another hospital.
My feelings, my cough and fever and the rainy weather nonetheless, I was back in Chinese yesterday morning, this time to visit my 53-year-old Uncle Edgar, another of mom's brothers. He had fallen into a coma one week ago.
I have only a few memories of Uncle Edgar. We were not really very close. When I was a kid, I would only just see him on All Saints' Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Those are the only three occasions where everybody gathered at Lola's home for some sort of family reunion.
He became more visible though, after 97 when Papa Edwin passed on. He popped in to see Lola every day. When Lola became more sickly in later years, he was the one who took over. He even moved Lola to an apartment near the factory he worked in, just so he could see her more often in a day.
Of my personal dealings with my uncle, I can only name two. First, when I was eight and was picked as a bit player in a Lito Lapid (now a senator of the republic!) action movie, it was Uncle Edgar who drove my car-ful of relatives to our location shoot in Porac, Pampanga. Family stories have it that they were nearly killed in an accident during that trip (I was in a separate van with Mom).
My second memory is Dec 16, 1998 -- or on the day I was supposed to bring home our first family car, a grayish brown Toyota Corolla XL, from the dealer. I was tasked by my then-husband to find a driver or anybody who knew how to drive, to the dealer and take the car home. It was his company Christmas party that day and he wanted to see the car on our garage when he arrived home. I know -- but I didn't hear anything unkind from my uncle.
It was he who stepped out of the factory and went with me to the dealer. Going there we met a downpour, and he ended up spending five hours away from work instead of the two he had told his men.
And yesterday Uncle Edgar was there, lying helpless. His wife, Auntie Susan, was clearly distraught as she told me about that fateful day he had his attack. He had been complaining of dizziness. She urged him to sip some soup by evening, and when he did, he vomited and had seizures. The doctor is not optimistic at all, but she and her children, now all adults with families of their own, continue to hang on and hope for a miracle. They can easily start over from scratch, they say, just as long as their Daddy is with them.
I am not particularly prayerful, at least consciously so, but I utter a plea, to God, to the Universe, to whatever Supreme Being that's supposed to be running the show, on my uncle's behalf. That he should wake up, and be with his family -- who love him dearly and fiercely -- again.