Saturday, August 30, 2003

Honoring the Dead

They're burying my grand uncle as I write. His bones are joining those of an older maternal relative in the Catholic cemetery that also holds fast the ashes and remains of Granddad (Domingo Lira), Gramma (Jacinta), and Lola Mameng (Carmen Macaraig). I cannot join Pop and my brother in paying respects to the old farmer. Wherever he's going, I wish him comfort and peace.

Belaboring the Living

With the humungous medical and funeral bills out of the way, the new problems the Dumuclay (Batangas), Manila, Quezon City and Minnesota branches of Clan Lira will inevitably revolve around what to do with-- this is so painfully Monty Python-- "huge tracts of land."

The question of what to do with the land that the old farmer has been living on and more or less cultivating (but not developing) is bound to be the next major flashpoint in the soap opera that is relationships within my clan. All it would take to start the fire would be, to my mind, the convenient deaths of a few more key players.

Simply put, it's a Malthusian nightmare: If the land stays idle, it will neither support the growing number of occupants nor generate any revenue for the families who legally own it. Undoing this gordian knot will force all parties to reexamine the very philosophies that govern their lives.

How important is profit? What is dependency? Can any of us afford to cling to a lifestyle that is as old as the land itself? Just how important is education, population control? Can any of us afford to cling to pride? Can we truly afford to reduce the world into haves and have-nots, profit-mongers and bleeding hearts...? How many of us can eschew familial responsibilities?

I am glad that people still on the slow journey to physical death have begun to talk about it, before the land issue devolves into useless internecine bickering.

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