20 February 2012

Eulogy given by AMV

Necrological Services for LMV

Arlington Memorial Chapels

Ang gabing ito ay gabi ng pag-alala at pagpapasalamat.

Sa mga nakalipas na araw, sa loob at labas ng silid na ito, maraming kwento ang naibahagi tungkol sa aking ina. Marami akong kwentong narinig ng magagandang karanasan kasama ng aming Mama na bagamat ay nakakataba ng puso ay nagdudulot rin ng hindi makayanang hapdi at sakit.

My Mama was a Math teacher, but not just any teacher, she was a great Math teacher as evidenced in her contribution to the academe and by the high regard she gets from her colleagues and students.

When I was studying, I was getting good grades in Math during grade school and was even competing for quiz bees but when Algebra, Integral Calculus and Numerical Analysis came into place, when the once seemingly easy subjects became complicated and difficult, I started to fail my Math subjects.  Never did I hear Mama say she was disappointed with me. Never did I hear her say I should be like her nor pressured me to perform better.  How respectful, how allowing, how loving.  That’s Mama Ko.

While her students were taught of triangles and the relationships between its sides and the angles between these sides, with Trigonometry as her area of specialization, she taught me the most difficult technique/lesson in Math and in life. Nang dumating ang pagkakataon na kailangan na namin pag-usapan ang kalubhaan ng kanyang karamdaman, isa lamang ang kanyang paulit-ulit na sinasabi sa akin, ‘we take one day at a time’. Isang araw sa bawat pagkakataon.  Na sa paggising sa bawat araw, magpasalamat at intindihin lamang kung ano ang nariyan sa araw na iyon. One day at a time. Sounds very basic as 1 plus 1. Last January, while I was crying, kneeling in front of her, embracing her legs, with my head lying on her tummy, she was stroking my hair, saying ‘Be Strong, I am ready, let us accept the will of God’ and then she sang ‘One Day at a time’. She did not stop stroking my hair until I stopped crying. Such strength, such courage, such faith. That’s Mama Ko.

Naibahagi ko sa marami sa inyo na ako ay paulit-ulit nagtatanong sa aking mga kapatid at sa mga taong nakausap, nagbantay at madalas na kasama ni Mama kung meron bang mga bilin. Did Mama leave specific requests or instructions or expressed any wishes? All of them said. ‘No, nothing, there was none.’ I stood in front of Mama’s casket and I told her, ‘Mama, how trusting you are. How detached you are of this world.’  Wala kang bilin na dapat ganito, sana ganon. Mama, kaninang alas-3 ng madaling araw, pinagmamasdan ko ang iyong larawan at saka ko napagtanto kung ano ang iyong bilin, and while also reflecting on the homily of Fr Jess last night… ‘that just like Jesus, your death will bring us life…’ Yun marahil ang bilin mo – na sa iyong kamatayan ay mabigyan namin ng mas malalim na kahulugan ang aming mga buhay. That many of us continue the works and services you have started… that we be generous just like you are, that we be trusting and that we be detached from this world.  Such simplicity of spirit and heart. That’s Mama Ko.

Mama’s regarded as a faithful person. Many, if not all of us will agree that she submitted to the will of God. But Mama went beyond that. She did not only submit but she participated painfully and graciously to the will of God. Kung may customer service hotline sa langit, marahil ay masaya sila kasi hindi sila nakatanggap ng tawag o reklamo or letter of complaint mula kay Mama. She participated in God’s plan for her. She participated with full submission, with love and with gratitude to God.  That’s Mama Ko.

Meron pa akong kwento. Naalala ko minsan isa sa aming mga biyahe, nakaranas kami ng napakalakas na paggalaw ng eroplano. I am used to traveling but it was a very bad turbulence that I started sweating in fear and I was holding Mama’s hand very tight. I looked at her, wondering if she’s also scared. Her eyes were closed and she looked very calm. I asked her, ‘Mama, di ka natatakot?’ She ignored me. I asked again, ‘Mama, di ka natatakot?’ Still with her eyes closed, she just said, ‘Nagdadasal ako.’ I stopped making kulit and I also started to pray. Last January, we were in a resort in Batangas, I found her silently seated on a chair, gazing at the sea. I asked what she was thinking, she ignored me. I asked her again and she said, ‘Nagdadasal ako.’ That time, we were experiencing the greatest turbulence in our lives. My soul was sweating in fear of losing the most important person in my life. My heart was holding my Mama tight, very tight., not wanting to let her go. These two incidents of turbulence, Mama just did one simple thing, Pray. The calmness of her spirit, of her mind and of her heart ay hindi matatawaran. I could never be more proud of having a mother like her. That’s Mama Ko.

I know we were all wondering why this happened when we thought she’s ready to go home and in fact, was very eager and excited to go home. I received a call from her on the 14th of February. She said, ‘Nene ko, lalabas na ako bukas. May discharge notice na ako from the doctors.’ She was very happy. I told her, Mama Ko, valentine’s day today, Happy Valentines Day, I love you. She responded, ‘Happy Valentines, I love you, too.’ Then she gave the phone to my aunt as it was a bit difficult for her to talk and hold the cellphone long. She was excited to go home, only this time, not to Pleasant. She was referring to the real home.  Sino nga ba sa atin ang makakapagsabi kung ano ang kanilang naging pag-uusap ng Diyos? Sino nga ba sa atin ang makapagsasabi kung kailan at paano magtatapos ang buhay dito sa lupa? I find comfort knowing that the days when it was most uncomfortable, most painful for her, were the days when Mama was being purified  – her earthly sufferings will give her the eternal reward.

Mula ng dumating ako ng Huwebes ng gabi, hindi ko alam kung paano bilangin ang araw hanggang sa sandaling kailangan ng tuluyang magpaalam, but I will try – for Mama. I will try to live each moment one day at a time, begging God to give me the strength I needed for each moment.  If I cry, it is not because I am not trying to be strong as Mama wants me to but because there is a deep emptiness inside me, may napakalalim at napakalawak na puwang sa puso ko na hindi ko alam paano pupunuan.  But I will pray to fill the emptiness and to find calmness of spirit.

Last Friday night, a priest from Mexico who’s based in Rome celebrated mass for Mama. He said that Linda means ‘beautiful’. If some of you don’t know, my name was taken from Mama’s name. Linda spelled backwards is Adnil. My parents altered it a bit so that it’ll sound better, perhaps. That’s how creative my parents were. But let me just say that Mama lived her life true to the meaning of her name. She is indeed beautiful. She lived a beautiful life and that’s what we are remembering and celebrating tonight and the days to come. My friend who designed and arranged these two towers of flowers beside Mama’s casket said it rightfully – he got his inspiration for these flowers from Mama’s life. It’s a tree, with nests of flowers. Mama bloomed from where she was planted. She is a towering tree for most of us – from which many of us found shelter and comfort, from which many other lives bloom because of Mama, from which our faith is nourished and strengthened. From the nests of flowers she left us, will come forth many other goodness. The best way to pay tribute to Mama and to say thank you is to pay the kindness forward.

I was told that Mama asked Noel to list down everyone who sent her text messages and visited her while she was sick as she wanted to thank them. I am sure you will receive not a text message from her as a sign of gratitude – you will all receive special graces in a special way for she will be sending it from heaven. But tonight, on her behalf, allow me to say thank you.  Marami pong salamat – for making this moment bearable.

The last time I saw my Papa conscious was April 23, 2004. He was lying in bed, I kissed him and said bye as I went to work that day. He said, Thank you, Nene. That was the last time I heard his voice. The last time I saw Mama alive was January 16, 2012. She was lying in bed, a deja vu of my last encounter with Papa 8 years ago. She said, take care I love you. And on February 14, a day before she passed away, the last time I heard her voice, she said I love you.

To my parents, Mama and Papa. I now say the same things to you. Thank you and I love you. Thank you very much. I love you very much.

I thank and praise you God for our parents. Receive my Mama in heaven with choirs of angels and saints. Papa, please play your harmonica for Mama. Until I see you both again.

Eternal rest grant unto Linda and Antonio, oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.