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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

When A 'Loved One Passes Away: A Personal Perspective or Reflection

Aha, August is here! And before we know it, we'll be ushering in and welcoming the "-ber" months, starting next month, September. So what would this mean, you ask? Well, for all we know, my friends, summer 2012 will be over. And that means, too, that the regular school activities, academically and athletically, will start again for our dear students and dedicated, indefatigable teachers-educators. But, for now, let us all enjoy, while we can, our summer vacation. Shall we, folks? Good. Thanks to God, we're doing good.

I don't know why I have this topic to talk about. But please allow me to explain. Thank you, dear friends and readers of my blog post.

This morning, while I was sharing to my Facebook friends a blog post entitled Two Poems I've just written (maybe an hour or two ago) this Wednesday morning, I was saddened to learn about the unexpected passing of the Dads of two of my FB friends, 'pare Romy from Washington State and Michelle from Canada. As soon I read their announcement/s and/or message/s on FB, I immediately sent them each our terse message or prayers of condolence or sympathy..."With the passing of your 'loved Dad, may you and your family find courage, comfort, and strength...May he rest in peace. Amen."

You know, friends, each time I hear about sudden, unexpected departure of a loved one, I can't help but "feel" and understand what these friends of mine must be feeling for the loss of their fathers. Call it sympathy or empathy, I understand what they have been going through. You know why? I don't have parents anymore. They're gone. But they remain alive in my memory. Forever, for as long as I'm alive, sane and still sensible.

Nostalgia-wise, my beloved Mom Rosalia passed away unexpectedly, in another city, miles and miles away from my hometown. My Dad, Martin David, was with him supposedly to extend help and assistance to my pregnant older sister who was close to her delivery time. The year was 1977; that's also the year I graduated from college and my first time to teach professionally in a Catholic high school, away from home. (I  rented one of the rooms of the Salgado's house near the school. I just went home on weekends and would be back to my boarding house Sunday afternoon.) It was July, and we're busy with school. (School in the Philippines starts June and ends March or first week of April, each year. ) Unexpectedly, my brother-in-law showed up in my classroom and told me the news. I only knew at that time that my Mom was in the hospital fighting for her life. (I don't know if my brother-in-law was telling me the truth or he didn't want me to know that my Mom was already dead cold, helpless and hapless.) I was devastated. I left my students to our kind and understanding Sister principal who granted me emergency leave. Arriving at the city hospital with my brother-in-law, after two or three hours on the road by a passenger bus, I knew then that my Mom didn't make it. I still vividly remember, it was raining cats and dogs on the long road or highway, when we brought home Mom's. Same year when my eldest sister passed away earlier, in January. It was the same year 1977 when my Dad's oldest brother, Uncle Simpi, died in December.

Imagine, you know, three members of my family were gone on the same year! How unlucky/unfortunate we were? That year, those incidents made me realize that wherever and whoever you are, when the time comes for you to expire, that's it. That made me understand our frailties and vulnerabilities, our short, fleeting corporeal life we have here on earth. That for as long as we're alive, our mortality is inevitable when it's time to go. One thing also that reaffirms or strengthens my view about life-death is that notion that I learned from/with the Focolare Movement, especially when I went to Rome, Italy, in 1980. This view or dogma or belief in the Now or living the present moment well (with all that you can), without reservation is something that I have been trying to practice or to live with and won't forget. Now, the present moment, is the one thing that matters, the most important thing that counts in my life. Yes, the present moment of my existence. That's what matters to me. We all know that the past is past. It's gone and we can't undo what happened in the past. As they say, yesterday is gone. We can't recreate what happened in its originality. We can't copy or duplicate the past. We can only learn and remember from it, I believe. That's the reality. That's one of the truths, for me. Yes, we have one life to live. So we have to live it now, the present moment.

Now, as I recall, after staying/living with us, here in the States for less than a decade, our Dad left us after having decided to go back home to the Philippines to enjoy the remaining of his life and eventually or ultimately die. (Already in the Service that time, I was the one who accompanied him in going home when he was still kinda well, but not as healthy as before when he was in the States for the first time in 1977.) He was, at that time, under the care and responsibility of my older sisters, whom we entrusted the responsibility. That is, after a couple of years when he left the States for home, to be with my Mom together forever in another life-world. Representing my siblings from here in the States, my youngest brother and I buried our loving Dad "David" with a couple of my older sisters left behind with their respective families, other relatives and friends, in the Philippines.

You see, friends, how difficult it is or not that easy for me to deal with losses, especially when we're talking or dealing with immediate next of kin or members of the family. Emotionally, it's hard, but as I go on living I learn or have learned to come to grips with my life and mortality. That I leave it to our Almighty God my life now and beyond. After all, whether we like it or not, we'll one day fade away from the maddening crowd, that's the world, and face our ultimate destiny/eternity---to hopefully be reunited with our beloved dead loved ones, with our Almighty Lord, forever. That's what I think and believe now.

When a 'loved one passed away, we react to it or take it differently. How do we manage it is a matter of personal preference and belief. (I know, we have all sorts of thoughts and views. One example, probably, would be this: Too bad/sad, I wasn't able to say "Thank you," "how much I care about you," "how much I love you." Or, we ponder: "I should have given her/him a call, or written/sent her/him a letter or a simple note or a message of thanks and hope." Another one, like this: "how I wished I could have visited her/him;" "why did I not have hugged/kissed her/him, "I didn't have the time to call her/him and tell her/him." I know, didn't we have regrets for not doing something for our 'loved one before s/he's gone in our sight? Yes, we have regrets and last minute thoughts as to why we didn't let her/him know s/he matters in our life.)  But, overall, our humanity reigns supreme because we're all part of the one human family. My view is that we experience the same feeling and disposition when a 'loved one dies. To me, the only difference lies in the depth and intensity of your relationship to our beloved dead when s/he was still alive. What we can do is offer a short, simple prayer "May the soul of the departed rest in peace." Amen.

Well, folks, I don't intend to change your views for you have your own. As they say, we can agree to disagree. I hope i made sense here with my post. If not, in your standards, I remain respectful of you and your views. As I've been doing, I just wanted to share with you my piece of mind, now and not later. Until next time around. Take care and Have a nice day, everyone!-chris a. quilpa, 01 August 2012

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