By Jocelyn Lansangan
As the somber music begins to play, the world seems to transcend into something else. I am holding my mother’s hand, but it feels like I am also holding onto the hands of the other hundreds of people here. Because it doesn’t matter if we have never met each other before. It doesn’t matter how different we are, because we are all here for the same reason: to remember those we have lost.
This is my fourth time to the annual Lantern Floating ceremony at Ala Moana Beach, but what I feel in this moment, I have never felt before. It is because I have never felt this type of loss. The loss of the man who inspired my love for The Beatles. The man who would laugh at my pranks and jokes, no matter how many times he has heard them before. The man I would keep up late at night with my incessant talking when I couldn’t sleep. The man I am so proud to have called my Dad.
It is also because, unlike the previous times I have been to the ceremony, it is the first time I am here with my mom. She had never been to the ceremony before, and I can see in her eyes as she goes to another world. The one where she is still with her love, embracing one another as they share a dance to a song only they can hear.
It is time to send our lantern into the sea, and it breaks my heart to see her cry as she calls out her final goodbye. We stay in the water until we can no longer see our lantern. I can only hope that this message — that all our messages — reach our loved ones. In my heart, I know it already has.
Dearest Love Soliven Reyes Lansangan,
You will always be my first love, my true love, my forever love and my love Angel. The remaining days of my life are for the Lord, for you, our children, our future grandchildren, our parents, brothers and sisters. I will love you forever. Walang Iwanan. I am your wife forever, and you are my husband forever.
Darling Ester Paras Lansangan
There are so many things I wish I told you before you left us. I think I said the most important thing to you, though, and that is that we promise to always take care of Mommy. I miss you every day and wish you were still here. I wish that you could walk me down the aisle and share the father-daughter dance with me. I know you’re here now, though, always on our minds and forever in our hearts. And you will be there with us on my wedding day holding my hand, just like you did on my first day of kindergarten. Your little girl is getting married, Dad! And, of course, I’ll have Yesterday playing. I love and miss you forever. Still holding onto yesterday…
Jocelyn Lansangan is an avid reader and aspiring writer who lives off of coffee and mac n’ cheese. She dedicates this story to her beautiful and strong Mom who she loves to the moon and back.
“A SHARED SPACE” is an ongoing reader-submitted column. To share your story, email email@example.com