Picking Up A Burden - #5

By Remedios Dorio



LORNA insisting to know about the accident that happened for more than thirty-five years ago already, made Luis and Antonia uneasy. The couple looked at each other.


“I could not sleep. I just kept thinking about it. Luis did not like the idea, me, asking about it but

for my peace of mind, please, Mama, Papa tells me the truth about what really happened, “Lorna was begging her parents.


“You knew already, it was an accident,” it was Antonia who answered Lorna.


“Yes, Mama it was an accident but what I wanted to know why and how did the accident happen?” Lorna said.


“I was in the balcony, the baby just kept crying. I was so concentrated in soothing her because I don’t know why she was crying. She was not sick; she had no fever. Then I heard your father calling my name, I forgot the time and I had not cooked a dinner so while carrying your baby in my one arm I reached for her bottle when she suddenly jerked out and for, I knew it, the poor baby was falling down,” Antonia told Lorna what happened then burst into tears. “I am sorry it happened, it’s my fault.”


“You heard your mother, now that you know it, are you satisfied?” Luis with a trembling voice askingly said to his daughter.


Lorna did not answer. She had tears in her eyes.


“I could not understand you. Are you having a flash back? My God, it was already thirty-five years ago,” suddenly Luis stopped talking, he saw Antonia holding her chest and liked in pain. Antonia was having a stroke or worst a heart attacked.


“Called the emergency number!” Luis was in panicked. He held Antonia so that she would not fall down.


Antonia was brought to the hospital. The doctors did their best to save Antonia’s life but nothing help, Antonia passed away.

The death of Antonia shocked the family.


Luis spoke no words before and even after Antonia’s burial. Lorna realized she had something to do with her mother’s untimely death and she blamed herself, also for the sorrow she had given to her father.


“Why keep blaming yourself?” Mario whom by himself knew, that Lorna indeed was to be blamed to what happened to Antonia, but he kept his thought to himself. Lorna was not a perfect person and Mario knew that his wife loved him and that he loved her too that much. He accepted all the imperfections of Lorna, he always tried to understand her although sometimes he also loses his temper.


“And why not? Mama died because of me! Now, Papa will not talk to me nor even look at me. Your right, why I did not let the past rest? Why I have to bring it up?” Lorna was sobbing as always.


“Come,” and Mario hugged Lorna. “Try to forget everything. Nothing will happen if you just keep blaming yourself. Your father will come to his senses.”


The hope that Mario tried to give to Lorna did not come. One day, Jerry, the cousin of Lorna who lived with Luis when Antonia passed away had a very disturbing call.


“What?” Lorna panicked.


“I wake-up this morning and I could not find Uncle Luis!” Jerry was very concerned as he talked at the other end of the line.


“What do you mean you cannot find him?”


“He’s gone and I don’t know where. I just called you now because I am looking for him everywhere but I really could not find him.” Jerry answered Lorna.


“How long he was gone?” Lorna asked.


“I really don’t know. As I said I wake-up this morning and I could not find him.”


“If you had not yet called the police, call now. Mario and I will come in there!”


IT was already dark. Lorna and Mario were worried about Luis and Lorna just keep crying blaming herself. They were both in the Police Station waiting for news about Luis. The barangay (village) officials searched Luis with some volunteers and they were afraid that something had happened to Luis because the place was a rural area with rivers, creeks, thick bushes and ravines.


The whole night Lorna and Mario stayed at the Barangay Post waiting for any news about Luis. That night it rains so heavy that there’s a fear something terrible happened to Luis and that there’s a possibility Luis would not survive the extreme weather.

But Luis did survive. Lorna and Mario wake-up from the slight commotion of the barangay officers and of some volunteers. Luis was found and in bad condition that he must be quickly brought to the hospital. The body of Luis just kept trembling and that he doesn’t talk.


IN the hospital, the doctor let no visitors for two days to give Luis the recovery he needed.


Lorna was at the bedside of her father when Luis opened his eyes. Luis seemed didn’t recognize his daughter.


“Where I am? Who are you?” Luis asked Lorna.


“Papa, I am Lorna, your daughter,” Lorna answered her father.


For a while, Luis penetratingly just looked at Lorna, then said, “You are not Lorna, you are not my daughter!”


“Papa!” Lorna was shocked.


“My daughter Lorna has an angelic face, but you? I am sorry, you are an impostor, you are not Lorna, there’s something in your face, like a demon is hiding behind it!”


A demon was hiding behind her face. The words of her father were like a dagger stabbed into her heart. Lorna felt guilty.


After that confrontation, Lorna could not come near to her father as Luis would drove her away. It hurts and Mario patiently comforted his wife the best he could.


“You must accept the truth. The doctor said, your father had Dementia, a mind sickness.”


“It’s my fault, the death of Mama and now, of what happened to Papa.” Lorna really did believe to herself what she said.


“Lorna, we are approaching the sunset of our lives. Why could you not just let bygones be bygones? Things happened for a reason. It is harsh for me to say this, but your father having the Dementia could be a blessing to both of you,” Mario said to his wife.


“A blessing? How could it be a blessing?” the tears roll-down on the cheek of Lorna.


“For him to not remember all the things that hurts him, and for you, you would not feel the hatred,” Mario answered Lorna.


“I will not feel the hatred? How could you say that? Because my father could not recognize me anymore as his daughter? Because my father could not or forgotten what his daughter did, that cause the death of his wife, my mother? Maybe the sickness could erase many things in his life but what about me? I don’t have the sickness my father had?”


“Lorna, what I am trying to say…” Mario did not finish what he’s going to say because Lorna firmly cut-in.


“I know, you’re just trying to sooth the pains and guilts I have, but I will tell you what I am thinking. My father is a living dead. I now know what kind of a person I am. I never forget things and never forgive. I am blaming my parents for many things, opposing our love, the death of our daughter. I kept it in myself but my father saw it. There’s a devil hiding behind my face.”


“Look at it on this way. You thought your parents did wrong things to you, but you also must consider their side, what they think when they did all such things? They did it because they loved you and were only concerned about your welfare. They loved you as their only daughter and they wanted nothing but only good life for you. About the death of your mother, she already had heart ailment, and the death of our daughter was purely an accident. You said your father is a living dead. You are still alive, make him live by taking care and loving him. We will do it together.”


Lorna hugged Mario, and she cried on his chest. She knew she was lucky to have Mario as her husband. She thought why did she’s blaming her parents? Her parents were opposed at first about her relationship with Mario but then she still ended married to him. Her daughter, her first born died but then in returned she had two sons that gloried her days when they were children even now that they were grown-up. Why did the doubts remain to give her again regrets and guilts? Too late to know, she’s picking-up a burden in life to carry on. *The End*

Remedios Dorio