|We All Shed
||[Aug. 4th, 2014|05:39 pm]
As posted on Facebook:
In the Philippines there is a cultural tradition of forty days of mourning after a death. There is usually a black rectangular pin worn on the lapel or collar for the duration.
I didn't have one, but I did have a black mourning cross an aunt made for the family when my maternal grandfather died. It's hard to keep wearing it though-- for one thing, it's rather flimsy, being a couple years old and not meant for long use. For another, the plant I work in disallows any personal jewelry, including wedding rings.
Still I wanted to mark his passing somehow, and I decided to abstain from cutting my hair and shaving for forty days to honor him. Convenience aside, it's a practice that has a pretty rich and ancient lineage spanning several disparate societies. Maybe I'll actually read about it someday.
On Saturday my wife cut my hair, and I took off the 'stache. It corporealized a feeling I've had in the past few weeks: that of an age or an era passing, and a chapter in a book closed.
With my father at rest, I no longer have any compelling interests in the Philippines. That sounds colder than it actually is; of course, I'll have plenty of reasons to want to go back someday, such as the desire to have my wife see my hometown, or to let my son and daughter learn more about their own ethnic heritage. My best friend and his family still lives there, and I have no shortage of family, friends and acquaintances to visit in every main island.
But those would be visits of desire. Nothing ties me there anymore. All of my blood family is here now. I have lived here for ten years, seven of them as a citizen of this nation, but always with that cloud over my head, that I would have to return to the Philippines from time to time for something or another. Have to. I have to no longer.
Now it feels like I can finally take root.