Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Another Farewell

JP or Joanne, a dear and long-time friend, lost her mother to cancer a couple of weeks ago. It was a long battle with the first signs when we were still in university together. Her mama joins their father in the Elysian Fields and suffers no more.

To those who knew JP, she flew to Manila to lay her mother to her final resting place. She and her two other sisters, Christine Abinales and Vivien Parenas will be joined by many relatives and friends who loved both their parents and knew them well.

JP said that her mom's cancer had spread first from the breasts which had already been taken off to her stomach and her bones. Finally it had invaded her lungs and a major operation, with unsure results, would have to had scheduled but her mom decided to return to their home in Marbel, South Cotabato and be comformtable in their home. She passed away peacefully and was spared of further pains. A small comfort to the three sisters left behind.

When our friends parents die, especially friends who are close to us, we feel that we too, lost someone dear to us. It tugs painful strings in our hearts and brings us to tears. I realise that one does not need to be related by blood to miss someone and to feel grave sadness when they're gone. I already miss JP's mom. Her beautiful mestiza features with always a smile on her face. Her distinct Visayan "lambing" when she calls her daughters 'ga' - short for 'palangga' (beloved).

Wherever you may be, I know you are finally cancer free. Don't worry, I'll look in on my friend, you daughter, every now and then.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Bye Tatay...

Jess C. Betia was a man who loved life and enjoyed every moment. I called him Papa Jess or Tatay as his own children would address him. He was a loving father and a devoted husband.

Just as 2005 is getting started, we said our final goodbye to Papa Jess. He is survived by his wife, Estella Nessia, and four children: Ma. Lynn, Jesus, John-John and Pearly May.

I have snippets of moments with him and his family forever etched in my memory. Who would forget the "Battle of the Bulge" mahjong sessions with my parents or the countless mahjong games our families have played together.

I will always remember the fun times we shared during gartherings and parties commemorating milestones in life: my parents' wedding where Papa Jess and Mama Stella were sponsors, kids' and grandkids' birthdays, weddings, christenings, confirmations, Christmases, All Souls Days at South Cemetery, or even just the ordinary weekend or night sleep-in when you have nothing else to do.

It is always sad to hear of someone passing away. Even sadder when that someone had been a close friend or family member. Papa Jess is definitely family. And so the pain is deeper and would take longer to heal.

He was my dad's best friend. They worked in Ramcar in the early 70's. Shared so many memories together as their families increased and as the years progressed.

He was a patient father and a sweet husband. I remember one night, Ate Lynn, his eldest daughter, had migraine and he was there by her side, embracing her and soothing her to help the pain go away. If there were family differences (and even in the best of families, there would be) he was the mediator, the peace maker. He loved his children in the good times and loved them more in the bad times. He was always sweet and loving to his wife - telling us kids how he courted and wooed her.

So with much sadness I bid Papa Jess, goodbye. I know that you are in a better place. The years have brought us farther apart and I didn't have that chance to kiss you goodbye. May these silent prayers and thoughts of you be like kisses that reach you in heaven.