I wanted to start my day thinking of happy thoughts so I thought about you. I miss you, son. It’s been a week since we were last together under one roof. When Alphonse was in the hospital, I hardly saw you as you were in school the whole day. Your short visits at night, just before going home, meant a lot to me, to us. Your daily visit was the one “normal” event of our days, where you would tell us about school, your teachers, and all your friends. In those short hours, we could all pretend we were at home and we were the family we always were- loud, quirky, yes, a little weird- and together.
I’m sorry I sent you away to live with your grandmother for a while. I know you didn’t want to go when I first told you. You said you had just been home with us and you had to leave again. I hope you understand that I didn’t want you to have to come home to all the chaos and despair of our days. Alphonse is still far from being well and I hated for you to see him like this. And with final exams this week, I didn’t want you to have to dwell on any other thing except that which is most important. Just think about school for now, okay?
It could not have been easy for you, having to grapple and restrain your brother when he goes amuck. You know what? It’s not easy for me either and I’m an old hand at this already. I know you could not study at home because he would rummage through your school bag and destroy your bag, books and notebooks. Even our family dinners have disappeared in this siege. We could only eat when he was asleep late in the night. There were many times you had to endure eating separately, alone, in some dim corner of the house he would least likely visit, because if he saw you eating, he’d throw all your food on the floor. I’m really sorry, Alex.
Remember the night two weeks ago when he grabbed me by my hair several times and attempted to bite my head? You had to pull him by his hair because that was the only way to get him away from me; his hands were already held back by your dad and the nannies and he was still so strong he could come at me over and over again. Oh, how miserable you looked afterwards. You kept apologizing to me and to Alphonse long after the day had passed. It’s okay, son. It really is. I know you didn’t mean to hurt him and I’m sure he knows it too. We love you very, very much.
I know you’re doing well at Mommy Lola’s. Aside from your daily phone call and your text messages, I call and talk to Mommy to ask about you whenever I can get away from Alphonse. They all love you there, I’m sure of it. I bet you’re even getting a wee bit spoiled there. (Don’t enjoy the pampering too much!) They say your little cousin Sese idolizes you. I heard he makes your tummy his bouncy mattress as well, that little squirt. Be patient with him, ha? Continue to be loving to your grandparents, aunts and uncles. I want you to remember that their love must always be reciprocated with obedience and respect. And, oh, don’t forget to say thank you always to Kuya Teteng, the driver who brings you to and from school.
I hope we can all be together soon, Alex. Pray for all of us here at home, Alphonse, most of all. I think he misses you because he sleeps in your bed while you are gone. When exams are over, you can try to come home for a short while and see if Alphonse will respond to you the way he used to. You can even sit in his classes and help out his new teachers. We have more men coming in the house all day to help so you won’t find it too hard alone here.
Stay safe, my love.