Bilang paggunita sa Mother’s Day (second Sunday of May ang selebrasyon; May 11 ngayong 2008), gusto kong ilabas dito ang isang tulang sinulat ko tungkol sa aking ina, si Fe Flores Lacaba. Buhay pa siya nang sulatin ko ito
(Alay kay Fe Flores Lacaba, 1916-2006)
Ni Jose F. Lacaba
Nang mabalo, hindi na siya muling nag-asawa.
Hindi ko alam kung may lumigaw na ibang lalaki,
o kung inisip man lamang niya ang muling mag-asawa:
bata pa naman siya noon, kung tutuusin, at may bighani.
Pero anim ang kanyang anak: may anim siyang
bungangang pakakainin, katawang bibihisan; anim na utak
na may kanya-kanyang baltik at iba’t ibang antas
ng pang-unawa, pangangailangan at panibugho.
Wala siyang maibigay na anumang layaw o luho,
kaya walang siyang layaw o luhong ibinigay. Tiniyak
niya lamang na may bubong sila laban sa araw at ulan,
may kulambo laban sa lamok, may laman lagi ang tiyan.
At pinabayaan niyang magkapakpak at lumipad
ang anim na malayang utak. Bagamat siya’y guro,
hindi niya sinakal ng pangaral ang kanilang mga pangarap,
hindi niya inipit sa libro ang kanyang mga paruparo.
Alam kong luha ang ipinandilig niya sa kanyang hardin
at ang puso niya’y nagkasugat-sugat dahil matinik
ang mga bunga ng kanyang mapagpalayang paglingap.
Pero alam ko ring ipinagmamalaki niya ang halimuyak.
Ang tulang ito, walang borloloy at walang palabok,
ay para sa aking ina.
Sa pamamagitan man lamang ng tulang ito
ay gusto kong ipaabot ang aking pasasalamat.
(Mula sa EDAD MEDYA: Mga Tula sa Katanghaliang Gulang, Anvil Publishing, 2000)
FE FLORES LACABA, circa 1945
Kasama ang kabiyak na si Jose Monreal Lacaba Sr.,
tenyente ng USAFFE (United States Armed Forces in the Far East),
isang grupong gerilya noong Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig,
at kalong ang panganay nilang si Jose Flores Lacaba Jr.,
na ewan ko kung ano ang tinitingala sa kalangitan
Narito naman ang isang salin sa Ingles na ginawa ni Marne Kilates pagkaraang yumao ng aking ina noong Nobyembre 20, 2006.
By Jose F. Lacaba
Translated into English by Marne Kilates
Widowed, she never married.
I don’t know if any other man wooed her,
Or if she ever thought of marrying again;
She was young, and yes, good-looking.
But she had six children, six
Mouths to feed, six bodies to clothe, whose
Brains had each its own quirks and ways
Of looking at the world, its needs and jealousies.
Of luxury and comfort she had none to give.
But she made sure we had a roof over our heads
Against sun and rain; a net against mosquito
Over our beds; and that we didn’t go hungry.
And then she let our minds go free, grow
Wings and take flight. Though a teacher, she never
Bridled us with advice, or weighed down our dreams,
Or pressed them between book pages like butterflies.
I know that she watered her garden with tears
And her heart bruised, for thorny were the fruits
Of her liberating love. But she watched
Her garden thrive. She was proud.
This poem, without frill or ornament,
Is for my mother.
Only through this poem
Can I thank her.
FE FLORES LACABA, circa 1948
Kasama ang kabiyak na si Pepe (Jose Monreal Lacaba Sr.),
ang anak na panganay na si Pepito (Jose Ma. Flores Lacaba Jr.),
at ang pangalawang anak na si Gingging (Henrietta Anne Flores Lacaba)
Nang pumanaw ang aking ina ay naglabas kaming pamilya ng isang press release na obituary na inilathala naman nang buo ng ilang diyaryo. Narito ang obit:
Former schoolteacher Fe Flores Lacaba passed away at around 9 a.m. today, Nov. 20, at home in Pateros, Metro Manila, the town where she was born. She was 90.
She suffered a stroke on May 4 and had been bedridden since then, in the process developing bedsores, pneumonia, and diabetes.
She is survived by her children Jose, Henrietta Malillin, Erlinda Echanis, Antonio, and Virgilio. Her third child, Emmanuel, died in 1976, and her husband, World War II veteran Jose Monreal Lacaba Sr., left her widowed in 1958.
A graduate of Philippine Normal College, Mrs. Lacaba taught Pilipino and other subjects at all levels in various schools, including Ateneo de Cagayan (now Xavier University) and Lourdes College in Cagayan de Oro City, and Colegio del Buen Consejo and Pasig Catholic College in Pasig City.
She was a soft-spoken woman who nevertheless raised strong-willed children, four of whom--including award-winning writers Jose (Pete) and Emmanuel (Eman)--were prisoners of conscience during and immediately after martial law.
Eman, who joined the armed resistance during the martial-law dictatorship, was captured alive after an encounter in Davao but “salvaged” later in the day. It was Mrs. Lacaba who, with the help of the late poet Alfrredo Navarro Salanga, recovered Eman's body from a mass grave in Mindanao.
Three of Mrs. Lacaba's children-in-law were also political detainees, and a son-in-law was killed in the early years of martial law.
The wake is at the Garden of Memories memorial park on Kalsadang Bago, Pateros, Metro Manila, near the boundary of Taguig City. Interment will be announced later.