Today I finally ordered the brass letterings of my husband's niche after putting off the task for too long. The typewriting paper with his laser-printed name, birthday and date of death that was hurriedly taped to the marble six weeks ago was already wrinkled and starting to turn yellow. Amongst the other well-tended niches, it looked pathetically neglected. This wasnt right, or appropriate for him. Shame on me.
I went to the parish office to set things right and fill out a small form with his information. The lady in charge started to count how many letters and number I indicated on the form, and I actually found myself considering whether or not to spell out the whole word "february", or shorten it to "feb" and save myself 210 pesos (it's 42 pesos per letter, in case you're too lazy to do the math). Is this how weird it gets? And why did I feel guilty for thinking this? Hey, Fe Panlilio is in the niche above him and her months were stylishly shortened to look austere and simple, so shortening doesn't mean I'm cheap. Or does it??
Later, I walked around to look at other niches and noted the graves that practically sparkled with all the brass lettering. I wondered if their families ordered their letterings without thought of the cost, or precisely with the thought and therefore the excess. Were there other widows like me who first thought of cost, then winced from the guilt?
So this week, I will not have a massage and in two to three weeks, my husband's niche should be appropriately marked with fully spelled words in shiny brass, and I will feel so much better about myself.