I had often said that reunions should occur on happy moments, not on times when there is a loss. However, it is not often the case. My trip to Dumagete was just that. Though I was excited to visit my relatives and see the place, I wish that I had better reasons to be there.
I barely remember my great aunt, Lola Auring. I think I met her only once, when she was in Candelaria for my Lola Lilay’s funeral. I remember her children more, my aunt Marilyn and my uncle Melvin (who had also passed away not long after Lola Lilay) and I haven’t met any of my cousins from that side of the family.
So I was both excited and apprehensive.
The first cousins I met were my aunt Marilyn’s sons, Jun Jun and Biboy. When Tita texted me about who will pick us up from the airport, I was worried because I don’t know them from Adam. When we went out of the arrival area, Lolo immediately walked towards two young men I didn’t know, whereas I was trying to hold him back. Thank God he knew them.
At the funeral parlor, I greeted my aunts and another great aunt, Lolo’s youngest sister Juliet. I talked a bit with my aunts and uncles, who introduced me to more cousins.
What hit me the most was that these cousins of mine had strong similarities to my brothers. That’s when it dawned on to me that my lifelong belief that we got our looks either from the Banares side or the De La Llana side was shattered. A good chunk of it came from the Sales side, and it was rather amusing to note.
I must have stared at them for a long time. Jude looked uncannily like Dion, while several aunts said Carl and I share similarities around the eyes and cheekbones (though I think he looks like Nunik). Finally, I know where my cousin Jordan got his most distinct feature, because my cousin Neil has it too.
Amidst the sadness of the loss, I made discoveries. Perhaps this is the silver lining in the cloud.