The Coffee Clutch

Back From the Dead or How St. Peter Sicked his Dog on Grandma


Is there such thing as the walking dead? Or should I say sleeping dead? While my friends and I sat around the coffee table the subject came up when Mary asked me if I’d ever heard of Namatay at Nabuhay Or, die and come alive?

“Sure” I said, “you mean zombies?”

“No!” Mary went on to explain about the phenomenon  in the Philippines.

Dianne jumped in and told the story about her grandmother. She said her uncle, who was at work at an electric company in Manila  when he heard over the loud-speaker “Paging engineer Madarang. You’re needed in the front. Your mother in law has passed away.

Dianne’s uncle rushed home and gathered his family together and made quick preparations for the 8 hour drive to the Province of Nueva Vizcaya.

Meanwhile, another relative in Manila who also received word about the grandmother went out into her garden of orchids and began cutting her most beautiful blooms to take back to the province for the funeral. After preparation, she began the eight-hour drive that very same day.

When everyone had arrived they prepared for the Wake that evening. The Wake is traditionally held in the home of the deceased. So from early morning when the grandmother was pronounced dead until late evening when all had arrived, she was still dead. But no embalming had taken place yet.

The grandmother was laid out in her bed while members of her family stayed in the room with her. Outside of the grandmother’s room an altar was set up where others gathered and began praying.

All of the sudden the grandmother opens her eyes and is panting heavy. Those in the room are startled and scared, there is much commotion in the house amongst everyone.

When all were composed and the family had settled down everyone started to  question the grandma. “What Happened to you?” they all wanted to know.

She began her story. She told them that she saw a golden gate. The gate began to open and inside the gate was a man whom she insisted upon, was, St. Peter. She said he was standing  there holding a cane and a large dog was by his side.

She explained how ST. Peter and the dog approached her and St. Peter told her she was not allowed to enter as it was not her time yet. But she insisted that she wanted to go inside. They argued back and forth when St. Peter emphatically told her “No! She could not come in!” He let loose the dog and it started chasing her. She started running,  panting heavily trying to get away from the dog. Suddenly, she woke up with heavy breathing and,  there she was back in her bed.

After awhile everyone calmed down and humor replaced the sadness. The cousin with the orchids began to kid. “The orchids won’t last too much longer. If she doesn’t die soon the flowers will be dead and I  won’t have anymore to bring her the next time.”

Everyone laughed. A sad situation now made happy by the return of the loved one. Eventually everyone returned home. All was well. Or was it?
A week later the uncle is back at his electric plant and over the loud-speaker comes another announcement “Engineer, Madarang, you are needed up front, your Mother in Law has passed away… AGAIN?

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